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Asha on Lata: 'Didi always got her way'

April 25, 2022 14:23 IST
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'Whatever we are today, if playback singers are here even today, and that includes me, it is because of Didi.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi receives the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award from singers Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Khadikar, and musician Adinath Mangeshkar in Mumbai on Sunday, April 24, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

At the 80th annual Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Awards held on April 24, Asha Bhosle proved Shakespeare wrong.

There is plenty in a name, especially if the name is Mangeshkar.

Remembering her older sister with fondness, Ashaji spoke of how much pride Lataji had in being a Mangeshkar: 'When she said her name Lata Mangeshkar, her voice brimmed with ownership... LATA MANGESHKAR.'

Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi received the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award for his selfless service to the nation and society.

'When the award is in the name of an elder sister like Latadidi, it is a symbol of her oneness and love for me. So it's not possible for me not to accept. I dedicate this award to all the countrymen,' Modi said at the event.


IMAGE: Prime Minister Modi flanked by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Kohyari to his right and Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar to his left at the Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion, north central Mumbai. On the right of the photograph is former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Photograph: PTI Photo

Ashaji sang two lines from her sister's iconic number Aayega Aanewala from 1949's Mahal.

This song was, in fact, Lataji's first chartbuster, and the Nightingale had insisted on getting her name credited on the record.

"Didi always got her way," laughed Ashaji and went on to remind the audience that Lataji fought for royalty for playback singers in the 1960s and when initially, she was turned down, she decided to stop singing until her demand was met.

'Tu mere saath hai?, Asha?' Lataji had asked her sister who readily decided to go wherever her Didi went.

According to Ashaji, Lataji had told the producers, 'Now you can get Naushadsaab to sing Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal (for Madhubala in Mughal-e-Azam).'


On Sunday evening, in her speech for her late sister, Ashaji made an important point on Lata Mangeshkar's importance in film music: "Whatever we are today, if playback singers are here even today, and that includes me, it is because of Didi.'

Once Ashaji in an unguarded moment had told me, It is not the comparisons that bother me. I know she is far ahead of me in everything. It is the constant efforts to nullify everything that I've done that irks me."

"Otherwise, Didi and I are like any other sibling. We fight. When we were children, she would win all the fights. There was only one way to stop her: I'd pull her long hair. That always worked."

On Sunday, Ashaji broke down when she said, "Every year on April 24, our family would gather together for our father's death anniversary. I never imagined a day would come when I would be standing here talking about Didi leaving us."


Scenes from the Awards Ceremony:

IMAGE: Modi accepts a bouquet from Asha Bhosle before the award presentation. Photographs: PTI Photo, ANI Photo


IMAGE: Adinath Mangeshkar, composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar's son, directs the proceedings.


IMAGE: Modi pays homage to Lata Mangeshkar. The prime minister had rushed to Mumbai on February 6, 2022 to pay homage to the Legend after she passed away.


IMAGE: Asha Bhosle has a wonderful sense of humour and something she says has both Modi and Meera Khadikar grinning.


IMAGE: Lata Mangeshkar took on the responsibility of bringing up her sisters Meera, Usha and Asha and brother Hridaynath after their father Deenanath Mangeshkar passed away young.


IMAGE: Modi has a word with Asha Parekh, the legendary movie star of the 1960s and early 1970s.


IMAGE: Members of the audience capture Modi on their cell phones.


IMAGE: Among all the Mangeshkars, Ashaji is perhaps the most vibrant public speaker. Lataji was reticent and shy when speaking in public. Photograph: PTI Photo


Photographs: PTI, ANI

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