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'I want to sing for the rest of my life'

Last updated on: September 29, 2009 

'I want to sing for the rest of my life'

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Lata Mangeshkar may have turned 80 but the iconic singer still sings sweeter than a nightingale.

A day after her birthday, Lataji chats with India Blooms correspondent Sreya Basu and goes back in time.

How does it feel turning 80?

Anybody will feel good but I feel great. It's always a charm to age gracefully. 

How did you celebrate your birthday?

I don't celebrate my birthdays. I don't like cutting cakes. During my childhood, my mother use to prepare sweets at home and apply tilak. I still love this simple way of celebration.


Image: Lata Mangeshkar

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'Yash Chopra and I share an integral brother-sister relationship'

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To celebrate your 80th birthday, Saregama has compiled an album to bring together best of your melodies together. On what basis have you selected the songs?

We selected those songs, which always topped the list of Ameen Sayani's famous radio programme Geetmala ki chhaon mein.

This album also consists of a few words of praise and regards from veteran Yash Chopra.

We share an integral brother-sister relationship. I have worked with him several times and he has been one of my favourite directors. Coincidently, his birthday is on September 27 and mine is on 28.


Image: Lata Mangeshkar

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'I do have a thin voice'

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Is there any milestone left to be achieved? Do you have any regrets?

Whatever I have achieved is by God's grace. I'm completely satisfied and content with my life and career. I want to continue singing for the rest of my life. 

When you started your singing career, people use to say that you have very sleek and thin voice...

Yes, I do have a thin voice. But my first song was for an actress whose voice was very upright and strong. 

Noor Jahan had a lot of influence on your singing style in your starting days.

Yes. I used to love and admire her immensely. I used to try and sing a few words like she did. But later I discovered my own style of singing and the credit goes to music composers of that time.


Image: Lata Mangeshkar

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'I don't like to be in front of the camera and do make-up'

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You've become very selective about the type of songs you choose in the industry now.

I'm open to all kinds of songs but the only thing I look for is the lyrics. They have to be meaningful. I would like producers and directors to approach music with soulful and meaningful tracks.

There has been only one Lata for so many decades. Do you think reality shows can discover another singing talent like you?

Reality shows these days are all about singing, dancing, performing and latest fashion. New singing stars have potential but they concentrate more on overall performance rather than singing itself, which is a total contradiction. Singing is a divine form of art and blending it with other art forms takes away the very soul of music. So it's better if reality shows concentrate on the talent of singing and music. 

You have acted too.

Yes. But trust me, I don't like to be in front of the camera and do make-up. 


Image: Lata Mangeshkar

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'I'm famous for singing haunted songs'

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You had a stint in Rajya Sabha. How was the experience juggling politics and music?

You are aware about my experience in Rajya Sabha (smiles). But I feel that anyone can get into politics whether he is an artist or an ordinary man. He should have the feeling of patriotism and devotion to work for the common man. 

Finally, tell us what kind of songs do you like to sing and listen to?

Well, whenever a film used to come up with haunted, spooky songs, the composer always approached me. It seems I'm famous for singing haunted songs. But I like soft romantic songs. 

You prefer A R Rahman among today's music directors.

He is a very talented music composer. He always gives opportunities to young talents to excel, which is very appreciable. Even I have worked with him and he is indeed one of the god-gifted talent.  


Image: Lata Mangeshkar

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