There's nothing greater than her
My love for film music arises because of Lataji's songs. Not just her voice, she is the ideal exponent of everything to do with music. For me, there cannot be anything greater than her... I'm not talking about the pure classical format, but the light music format with words in it.
No one is greater than her as far as emotion, perception of words and the spiritual quality is concerned -- you feel it's not music for the sake of entertainment but music for the sake of reaching god -- which actually is the real purpose of music.
I remember the first time I met her. I was recording for Hemant Kumar -- I had to sing just two lines. And Hemantda told me that Lataji was coming. I was instantly nervous. This was in early '71, I was singing for a Bengali film in which she was singing.
When she came in, I was so tongue-tied that I forgot my two lines because I just kept staring at her. And she smiled at me very quietly. It was a great experience.
In fact on the way back home she stopped her car and asked if she could drop me somewhere. I was walking out with my mother and I said 'no, no we're going in the opposite direction.' I was so nervous that I started walking back towards the studio instead of away from it. Till my mother said, 'hey we're walking away from our road.' I was so overtaken with emotion -- I was overawed, I've always been overawed by her personality.
I think she's a wonderful gift to our country.
As a person too, she's great company. If you catch her in the right mood, she's extremely funny. She's a great mimic too and she can say the funniest things with a straight face. She can be so mischievous and can keep you in splits.
When I received my first Filmfare award for 1942 A Love Story, she too was being felicitated. She said so graciously, 'I'm very happy that Kavita has got the award, she deserved it.' And I felt -- as did so many others -- that acknowledgement was a greater gift than the award I was holding in my hand.
I think she epitomises all that is great in music and she has set very great standards for all the singers in this country.
As told to Lata Khubchandani
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