I was nervous to sing with her
She has had a glorious innings. She's been the darling of the nation. Her voice has regaled lovers of music all over the globe. She has devoted admirers in many countries other than India that bespeaks of the universal appeal and popularity of her gold voice.
And thanks to modern technology, her voice is now cherished and all her songs preserved in sound recording systems of much greater refinement. I send her my fond love and a prayer for her lasting good health.
I always had a love for music and had cherished a crazy dream to sing with her. I'd often tell this to friends -- that is music directors.
My great friend Salil (Choudhury) provided me with an opportunity to sing that song with her. The song was for Musafir which was Hrishikesh Mukherjee's first film and a kind of experiment.
This song -- Lagi naahi chhote Rama -- was sung and recorded with great abandon one evening or perhaps, one night. For me, at that time, it was quite an achievement. The words of that song are so nice, it's an old number and a very attractive one.
I've been asked if Lata was nervous singing that song but actually, it was I who was nervous. Because I had problems with the heat. Had I not had that problem I'd have taken the music and worked at it. And I was told by several knowledgeable people that I could do better.
But at that point I didn't have the time because there was so much work to be done on the sets to be worried about. I used to sit with the director, mulling over the scene, exploring the depths in them. I used to worry about these things a lot.
In music, the beat worries me -- if there are no beats, then I sing quite well; but if there is a beat, then I have to practice, do riyaz.
And that takes time -- nothing comes easy. I knew it. I've been very fond of music, particularly classical music and the light classical music that's sung in the Indian film industry. Most of the singers have been my friends -- even instrumentalists like Vilayat Khan.
Music has been a love for me. And Lata has been an exponent of music -- a very polished one.
As told to Lata Khubchandani
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