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“What it means to be Lata Mangeshkar”



Lataji Mangeshkar

Lalit Pandit, one-half the  popular  Jatin-Lalit duo, tells Subhash K Jha what it means  to be Lata Mangeshkar and to have worked with her.

“There never  was  a Lata  Mangeshkar.  There never will be  another  like  her. It is something impossible to  recreate…ho jaati hai toh ha jaati hai….ho  gayi. The creation  named Lata  Mangeshkar is  a  mixture of many factors  and  qualities. Numerous attributes have gone to making Lata Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar.We all know she is  a Bharat Ratna, that she  has sung  innumerable incomparably  beautiful songs,  that she has done this  done that…that she  has contributed to  civilization in a way no artiste has done…We all know  this . But you know what? Lata  Mangeshkar is  beyond all  of this. She was, she is,  an amalgamation of all  the  experiences that she has gone through, all the  talented composers  she met and worked with…they all  contributed something vital to her  personality.They all contributed to making her  an extraordinary  human being.”

“Just think about how gifted those  composers  that Lataji worked  with were, each one an individual each  a genius with  his own style  of  composition. Lataji followed their instruction to the  minutest detail. She learnt  something vital from each composer, absorbed their talent  and  incorporated   it into her singing. Her  discipline her  riyaz and  control over her  pitch would remain an example for  generations  to come  for  all times. The  process that  made her  cannot be  replicated. Those  artistes who created  the    masterpieces  for her to sing  are no more…Lata Mangeshkar happened just as the creation of this earth happened. There are  many explanations for how the  earth  was created. But the truth is, it  is what  it is…There  is  no explanation for the phenomenon  called Lata Mangeshkar.  Why did  people  reflexively  rise to their feet when she entered a room?What   was  it in  her personality that commanded  such unprecedented reverence? Everyone  wanted to know  her. Very few actually did. She had  this  astonishing  sense  of humour, her witty  remarks  during her  conversations  with those  who knew her kept them  laughing and smiling. As a commercial  artiste she  is  a complete bestseller. If she  sings  for a composer he is  sure to get at least  one million followers. We , my brother Jatin and  I, got that chance when we  did Dilwale  Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. And we  worked really hard to justify the windfall in  our career.I feel if Lataji had not sung for us, our songs  wouldn’t have been half as successful. I would like   to remember how nervous and excited my brother and I were: how would she  treat us, what would she  think of our songs.Let me tell  you  , for a  new composer  to have  Lataji sing for  him  is  an unbelievable happening. Every composer wished that  Lataji would at  least  sing one song for him. To have her actually sing for any composer  of   my  generation was  a dream-come-true .”

“Lataji’s family and mine were  both  classically inclined. Lataji  ko classical singing se bahot lagao ttha. She wanted  to be  a classical singer. All the Mangeshkar sisters were into classical   singing, and of course  their only brother Hridaynath. My father was a classical singer. He  would often  go to  Lataji’s  home  and we kids  would tag along. Lataji had once  mentioned it to me, ‘Aapke Pitaji  ghar aate tthe  aur aap bachche log bhi unke  saatth aate the , chote chote bachche. Aur  tum  sabse  chote .Main tumhe table pe khada  kar deti tthi  bachchon ke  saath  mike tak pahunchne keliye.’ That Lataji remembered this meant  a lot to me.She knew how much my family  had struggled.She  was  so happy to see  me and my brother  break out.”

“I remember  Lataji had  said in an interview with her  brother  Hridaynath  that  she  liked Jatin-Lalit’s music . She  didn’t say  this  about anyone  else, only us.To hear her  give us her  certificate  of approval, what  bigger achievement can we  hope for? Lataji  ka hona   ek adbhut  ittefaq  hai. Bass  ho gaya. Saraswati Mata Saraswati Mata ke paas  chalin gayeen.”

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