Even at 83, Lata Mangeshkar has no plans of slowing down. The veteran, who has crooned for Bollywood films for over seven decades, has now launched her own music company. She spares some time to talk to us about her label and life in general. We don’t get to hear you in films too often these days. Why?
I’m very particular about the selection of songs. I read the lyrics and listen to the tune before agreeing to sing. I feel that music composers today do not like the way I function. That is why I don’t feel like singing in films anymore.How different is the industry now?
These days, songs do well for a few months and then disappear. Technically, we have advanced, but our music is regressing. The number and variety of songs in films have depreciated. I’m shocked. I remember singing 11 songs for Mughal-E-Azam (1960). Today’s music is all about dance. Phrases like ‘Halkat jawaani’ were way beyond our imagination back then. Singers in our time used to work very hard.
We had to overcome many obstacles to get a song. Things are easier today. But I don’t blame composers or singers. Everyone is going with the flow.
Whom do you see as the next Lata Mangeshkar in the industry?
We have so many talented singers. I don’t know about another Lata Mangeshkar, but every artiste is special. Asha Bhonsle, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal, all have their own place. But I believe there will be someone better than me.
What urged you to launch the label now?
I was always interested in doing non-film work. But there also was some anxiety, as people hardly buy music albums now. We’ve worked hard to come up with LM Music. People like Amitabh Bachchan, Shankar Mahadevan and Suresh Wadekar have been very helpful. I hope for the best.
And since I’ve spent more than 70 years of my life in the industry, this label is my way of expressing my gratitude.
What is LM Music’s plan now?
We want to launch a competition to give young singers a platform. Reality shows feature so many talented kids, but there’s only one winner and even that winner doesn’t always get a break. We want to give budding artistes opportunities to launch albums, both in Hindi and Marathi.