Lata Mangeshkar on her 87th birthday: I have a desire to sing more but not for films
Lata Mangeshkar says she hasn’t been excited about her birthdays ever since she was a kid; adds she is content with her journey.bollywood Updated: Sep 28, 2017 09:23 IST
Back in 1942, when a 13-year-old girl stood in front of the mic for the first time – she sang a Marathi song, ‘Natali chaitraachi navalaai’ in the Marathi film, Pahili Mangalagaur – no one knew that Lata Mangeshkar would go on to become a true-blue legend. As the ‘nightingale of India’ turns 88 today, HT Café catches up with the singer about her life, completing 75 years in the industry, and her thoughts on celebrating birthdays.
At this stage, what do birthdays mean to you?
To be honest, ever since I was a kid, I was never excited about birthdays. It remains the same even now. In fact, whenever anyone would celebrate my birthday, I would get a bit sad (laughs). As a kid, on my birthdays, someone would get me a new frock, and my mother would perform aarti and give me something sweet to eat. That was the only ‘birthday celebration’ during our childhood. Later on, due to our circumstances, celebrating birthdays became out of question. Now, I can celebrate my birthday, but I haven’t forgotten what happened in the past. So, I have never been kicked about birthdays. Maybe, others could be but not me.
Do you remember any birthday gift that still remains special for you?
My mother (Shevanti Mangeshkar) and father’s (Deenanath Mangeshkar) blessings have always been the most special gift. Also, the fact that my father taught me music will always be priceless. After his demise, my mother took very good care of all of us, and taught us a lot of good things. I remember all those things the most.
In 2017, you also complete 75th year of singing. Do you feel satisfied with the way your illustrious journey has unfolded?
Of course, it feels very good. There were a lot of obstacles and troubles and I remember doing recordings day in and day out. Yes, the initial days were very difficult, but now everything is okay. But even now, I have a desire to sing more. If I get a chance to sing anything good, I will definitely do that.
Nowadays, you don’t sing for Hindi films. Do you miss it?
I haven’t sung in films but I have sung non-film songs such as devotional songs including bhajans etc. I personally like them a lot. Honestly, I don’t really like singing for films nowadays (smiles).
Of late, the trend of actors turning singers is becoming bigger. Do you feel it’s healthy?
There’s nothing wrong. If someone understands the songs and sings well, then there’s no harm in it. During the earlier days, actors would sing their own songs. While some of their songs weren’t that good, a few of them could sing really well.
Have you, of late, sung any songs – in general?
It has been some time since I last sang. But now, I am planning to and I will definitely sing in the coming days. I don’t know how many people will appreciate but I have recorded Gayatri Mantra, Hanuman Chalisa, recorded ghazals and other devotional songs as an offering to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. I am happy singing such [devotional] songs.
Do you have any wishes for this birthday?
Not just on my birthday but otherwise too, my wish is that I want to sing something again (smiles).
Recently, you met Shraddha Kapoor along with her family…
Not everyone knows but Shraddha is my relative. She is like a grand daughter to me.
Have you watched any of the young actors’ works?
No, I haven’t seen any of their films but I have heard that Alia [Bhatt] is very good. Alia’s sister (Pooja Bhatt) would also do very good work (when she was working). However, the trend has changed completely today. Be it an actress’ costumes, hair or makeup, everything has transformed. Maybe we have an old-world view to feel that way (smiles), so I don’t blame anyone for this. If that’s what’s working these days and actresses are following a trend, then it’s okay. Personally, I don’t like the kind of clothes and all that actors wear these days.