Legendary playback singer, Lata Mangeshkar turned 80 yesterday. Her birthday present? Finally accomplishing her dream of singing with renowned ghazal singer, Mehdi Hassan. Mangeshkar, who has long been Hassan’s self-proclaimed fan, has sung a duet with the ghazal maestro, which will appear on her next album with Saregama, scheduled to release next month.
Mangeshkar revealed details about the long-awaited collaboration at the launch of a comprehensive compilation album of her songs titled 80 Glorious Years.
“Mehdi Hassan saab is very ill right now,” she said, “but just a few days before falling ill, he made some songs only for me. A lyricist brought those songs to me and I chose one song from those for a duet.”
Since Hassan couldn’t come to India because of his ill health, his part of the duet was recorded in Pakistan, while Mangeshkar lent her vocals to the song ‘Tera milna bahut achcha lagta hai’ in India.
“The song has turned out to be very nice,” smiles Mangeshkar, “I have always wanted to sing with Mehdi Hassan saab and finally got the opportunity.”
The untitled album that features the song would also feature songs by Hariharan, Sonu Niigaam, Suresh Wadkar and Usha Mangeshkar.
“It’s not just me who has sung in the album,” Mangeshkar clarifies. “In fact, we are still looking out for another female singer for the album, that would have lyrics by Javed (Akhtar) saab,” she says. However, her track with Hassan has words by a lyricist from Pakistan.
This album would come two years after Mangeshkar’s last, Saadgi, that was composed by Mayuresh Pai and had lyrics by Akhtar. Mangeshkar has only sung a couple of Hindi songs since, in movies Salaam-E-Ishq and Strangers, though she has sung a handful of songs each in Marathi and Bengali films.
She will next be heard on the soundtrack of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail, on a song composed by Shamir Tandon.
But ask her if she has any Hollywood aspirations, after singing in almost every regional Indian language, and she laughs it off, “I never think like that. Whatever work I have got is enough and I’m happy.”