A Bollywood X-file is getting reopened, but still with nebulous conclusions. There has been much speculation about why Lata Mangeshkar and late Mohd Rafi fell out. Lataji in an interview made some claims which are challenged by Rafi saab's son.
Lataji is rather candid about confessing that she has a "fierce temper" in an interview to Mumbai Mirror. The songstress has also spoken about what went wrong with Mohd Rafi.
Her exact quote is this: "Mohd Rafi saab and I fought over royalty rights. At a meeting attended by prominent singers and musicians, he stood up and said, 'Main aaj se Lata ke saath nahin gaoonga.' I retorted, 'Rafi saab, ek minute. Aap nahin gaayenge mere saath yeh galat baat hai. Main aapke saath nahin gaoongee.' I stormed out and called all my composers there and then and informed them to rope in another singer if it was a duet with Rafi saab."
Upon being asked as to how the reconciliation fell in place, she said: "Composer Jaikishan took the initiative. I asked him to get a written apology from Rafi saab. I got the letter and ended the cold war. But whenever I'd see him, the hurt would return."
But then there's a twist, as always, in the tale. Mumbai Mirror has printed a refutation copy also - this time an interview with Lt Mohd Rafi's son Shahid Rafi.
Quoting Shahid Rafi verbatim from the report: "The controversy went on for a while. Lataji and some other singers were looking for royalty, saying they should get a cut from the producer, director etc. My dad wasn't very keen on that. He was this humble, soft spoken, amazingly generous person. His stand was, 'Our job is to sing and we get money for that. There is no point in getting greedy.' Hence, they had a fight and he decided to stop singing any duet with her."
He has countered Lataji's claim about the written apology as well. He says: "If that is the case, let her show the letter. My father passed away about 25 years ago, and now she is talking about this letter? People keep valuable documents for even fifty years. Why hasn't she retained the paper which would give her dignity?"
He also feels that Rafi saab discontinued singing duets with Lataji and he opted to sing with another contemporary singer Suman Kalyanpur which made Lata Mangeshkar feel insecure.
Perhaps that letter would help settle matters once and for all.
Lata Mangeshkar (born 28 September 1929) is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India. Mangeshkar's career started in 1942 and has spanned over six and a half decades. She has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi. She is the elder sister of singer Asha Bhosle, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar. She is the second vocalist to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
Mohammad Rafi (December 24, 1924 – July 31, 1980 ) was an Indian recording artist considered by many to be one of the greatest Indian playback singers of all time in Bollywood. In his lifetime, he was awarded the National Film Award, Best National Singer Award and six Filmfare Awards. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India.
(With inputs from Wikipedia)