She has become immortal in her lifetime
Lataji has often sung for me. And very beautiful numbers too. I do sing myself, and a number of friends used to ask me why I didn't sing for my films. And I used to answer, 'why should I? When I have Lataji to sing for me?'
Though we didn't visit each other too often, there is a bond between us. When she sang for me, she changed her voice. She knew my pitch and song accordingly.
My best songs are with her. There are songs I like very much -- one is from Blackmail. The scene shows me dressing up for my husband -- it goes, Aayenge woh aayenge -- it's so beautiful the way she has rendered this.
Another song that's very popular is Megha chhaye aadhi raat from Sharmilee. And of course, the songs from Kabhi Kabhi.
There are so many songs of hers which I remember by heart. In my early days, my friend-cum-hairdresser Khatija and I used to form a team and play antakshari against others. We always came up with so many numbers of Lataji's numbers which were rare. Our opponents used to ask us, 'from where did you dig out these numbers?'
I have this great collection of old songs in which Lataji's songs have a pride of place. I love the songs from Madhumati and from the Raj Kapoor films.
I must add she's not singing much today because the kind of songs that are being done are not for her.
I don't think any artiste anywhere in the world has attained the heights she has reached. She has become immortal in her lifetime.
I read somewhere that she is going to remix her songs. I hope it's not true -- I'll be really disappointed. It might please the younger generation, but not a fan like me.
When I hear her songs, it clears my brain. I have attended Lataji's recordings and even Kishore Kumar's -- they were two vastly different phenomena. When Lataji sang, she had absolutely no facial expression -- she didn't move her body or her hands or change her expression. She was absolutely immobile and yet, how expressive was her voice!
It was intriguing to watch her.
As told to Lata Khubchandani
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