'I did sing well,' Lata Mangeshkar reflects at 82
Film industry doyenne Lata Mangeshkar turns 82 today. The singing legend reflects on her career and all the accolades she's recieved over the years in a chat with Subhash K Jha.
You are being felicitated with an award named after your brother Hridaynath on your birthday by Amitabh Bachchan?
Yes, I am extremely fond of Bachchanji, though we don't meet that often. The award has been instituted this year by a friend of my brother. On my birthday Hridaynath expressed a desire that the award named after him should be given to me. That makes me feel very happy and proud.
At 82, you are the one and only Lata Mangeshkar!
It's the blessings I've received from my parents and God.
That doesn't explain why you're so special.
Even I don't know if I'm special or not. But yes, I put in some hard work and went through some hardships to get where I am today. I believe some people are born with a special purpose. I'm one of them. I have to confess I've always thought less about myself and more about my family all my life though.
You are known to be extremely quick on the uptake when recording songs.
Ah, that's a gift I have received from God. Naushad Saab used to say, 'Okay you've picked up the tune. But I still want you to come back tomorrow to rehearse.'
You mean just for the heck of it?
Jee han. I could feel the song in five minutes. But he still wanted a rehearsal.
Image: Lata Mangeshkar
'I did sing well,' Lata Mangeshkar reflects at 83
What other dreams do you nurture?
What I've received is much more than I deserve. Aisa kisiko milta nahin (Doesn't happen with everybody). I look at artistes better than me and wonder why they didn't get the fame they deserve.
(Taken aback) What do you mean? (laughs). There are so many artistes better than me. There is a world outside cinema where talent languishes. Look at classical singers. They die in penury.
But the biggest classical singers have acknowledged your greatness?
That's their greatness. I am blessed. Main kuch bhi nahin hoon phir bhi bahut kuch hoon.
Do you think all the composers you've worked with gave their best to your voice?
I suppose I did sing well. Or else why would they want me to sing? Why would composers wait for me when I was not available? Composers waited for months. Doesn't that prove their trust in me? Music in those days used to be very important. The composers were kings. Music was the life of films. That isn't true any more.
Who are the people from the entertainment industry you are particularly fond of?
Yash Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kohli (composer Madan Mohan's son) and Dilip Kumar Saab.
Image: Lata Mangeshkar