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As she turns 75, Lata Mangeshkar shares some memories from a magnificent career, with

Back in the 1940s, Ghulam Haider had heard of a new singer called Lata Mangeshkar. He was about to migrate to Pakistan. He had given me the first prize at a music competition, as a child, and I respected him a lot. He called me, recorded a song, and played it for [producer] S Mukherjee, who found my voice too thin.

To this, Masterji supposedly said, 'Reject her today. But one day, you will chase her to sing for you.' He took me under his wings.

The first song I sang for him was Angrezi mera chora. Then, [composers] Anil Biswas and Khemchand Prakash asked me to sing for them. Their Aayega aanewala (Mahal) and Anilda's Woh din kahan gaye bataa in Tarana are unforgettable.

In 1947, many of my successful songs were released. At the risk of sounding immodest, I'd like to say that these

composers felt I could sing at any range they composed. But I did not treat those tough songs as a challenge. I loved to sing. What's more, I could understand and memorise the tunes without delay.

Many in the industry nicknamed me 'Tape recorder'. Before I arrived, there were great playback singers like Zohrabai, Shamshadbai, Amirbai Karnataki, and Geeta Dutt. After I came, I even started providing playback for actresses who sang for themselves. I think singers like Mukesh bhaiyya, Mohammed Rafi saab, Asha [Bhosle] and I changed the style of playback singing.

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Interview: Subhash K Jha
Design: Uday Kuckian

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