Mumbai, Oct 22 (Calcutta Tube) She has stopped her riyaz and spends time catching up on her favourite TV programmes, including Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati‘ and popular crime series ‘CID‘. Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, 81, is enjoying her well-deserved leisure time after more than 60 years of singing.
The Nightingale also prefers to be extremely choosy about film songs she wants to sing.
‘Everyone says that I should sing more often because people want to hear my voice. But the fact is that even I should like the songs to be able to sing them,’ Lata, the winner of Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, told IANS in an interview.
Lata has recorded songs for over 1,000 Bollywood movies and sung in more than 36 regional Indian languages. She is the second vocalist ever to have received the Bharat Ratna.
She has just launched a five-CD album of her old songs.
The album called ‘Aapki Seva Mein…Main Aur Mere Saathi’, has evergreen melodies sung by artists like S.D. Burman, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan among others, and was launched under the banner of Saregama India Limited.
Lata says she now sings very rarely. The last she was heard this year was in ‘Dunno Y…Na Jaane Kyun’.
Lata, who is fond of Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal among the current lot of singers, likes to watch TV in her free time, especially thriller fictional show ‘CID’.
‘Now I don’t do riyaas (practice). So in my free time I sometimes like to read. But usually I am fond of watching TV especially ‘CID’. Nowadays, I also watch ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ because I like Amit ji and he is the host so I like watching that,’ said Lata.
Asked about the reason behind her distancing herself from film songs, the legendry singer told IANS: ‘Everything has changed today. Like films have changed today. There are different types of acting, dance, action, similarly music has also changed to suit that,’ she added.
So is she of the view that music was better in the olden times?
‘It’s better for me not to comment on that. Audiences are the best judge and they know,’ she answered.
Among the existing filmmakers she admires Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
‘He (Sanjay) is very nice. I have heard some songs of his films and with that I understood that he knows what is good music and his choice of music is very good,’ Lata said.
‘Also, the music directors and the kind of music he likes is amazing. He likes the works of greats like Jaidev,’ she added.
Bhansali has always been vocal about his respect for Lata and is even working on an album dedicated to her. This time even the singer went all out to praise the filmmaker.
Even though Lata has drastically cut down on her film projects, she is keeping herself busy with other ventures.
Speaking about her CD, she says: ‘It took us one year to compile this album. All the songs are old and the ones that I have heard since childhood, songs that have had a very deep impact on me. I have chosen such songs in this album. And then the rest are songs which are all duets with me and some legendary artists.’
So why the name, ‘Aapki Seva Mein…’?
‘We chose this name because the first Hindi playback that I did was a song from the film ‘Aapki Seva Mein’. It was a thumri and it was recorded in 1946. We thought of using that song in this album but we could not because of certain reasons. So we thought to atleast name the album on that song,’ explained the legend.
Starting her career in 1942 with songs in Marathi, Lata’s first Hindi song was ‘Paa lagoon kar jori’ for Vasant Joglekar’s movie ‘Aap Ki Seva Mein’ in 1946. Two years later, composer Ghulam Haider gave Lata her first major break with the song ‘Dil mera toda’ in ‘Majboor’ and after that there was no looking back for her.
She has worked with all the major composers of the bygone era and mesmerised the current lot too.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)