The younger sister of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar was in City Beautiful to attend a musical extravaganza, Old Melodies, organised by the Mukesh Musical Arts and Cultural Society (LEMACS) at Tagore Theatre on Friday.
Usha, who shares home with her legendary sister Lata, is also a gifted painter apart from being a honed singer.
The youngest sister has no qualms accepting that no one can beat Lata in perfection as the 83-year-old practises for hours even today.
“Nothing about Lata Di is ostentatious, and she still rehearses for hours together, puts in days of riyaaz before a show,” says Usha lauding the fact that Lata made it a point to learn many regional languages to perfect their dialect.
Her sisters are stalwarts of Indian music, however, she could not make it as big as them. “After completing 57-year-long career in music, I feel contented with whatever I have achieved so far,” says Usha, who after being trained at Arlekar Art Academy, first picked up a brush after getting inspired by Mukesh’s classic song ‘Suhana Safar’.
According to her, music and arts complement each other, as good music inspires her to draw and good art inspires her to make good music.
Though she is happy with the current scenario in the music industry, she feels the phase of good music will certainly come back.
“These days item songs are based more on the lines of folk songs and whatever is being produced is accepted by the audience,” she says while adding that they (singers like her) cannot sing songs such as ‘Chikni Chameli’ since they have been trained in classical music.
And, she tells us that the next generation in her family is carrying forward the legacy as her brother Hridayanath’s elder son, Adinath, is a music composer and the younger one is working on an album.
“Even Asha Bhosle’s granddaughter is into music and she will be a good singer one day,” beams Usha, who says that cricket, as it is in India, is a religion in their home too since her mother was a cricket fan and they would all sit together to watch a match.
Usha, who became popular as a playback singer after singing devotional songs for the film Jai Santoshi Maa (1975), recalls, “No one expected that this low-budget film would do so well. The film and its songs became so popular that people would take off their shoes before stepping inside the cinema hall, and donation in lakhs poured in collection boxes kept outside the cinema complexes.” The ‘Aarti’ song even earned her a Filmfare nomination.
The picturesque view of city draws her attention and she says, “Mumbai does not offer much in terms of landscape, however, sitting here I can paint.”