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Lata Mangeshkar’s unique connection with Indian cricket’s biggest stars

Lata Mangeshkar considers cricket her favourite sport, and there have been several occasions when the legendary singer showed her love for the sport.

cricket Updated: Sep 30, 2017 17:40 IST
Devarchit Varma
Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar have shared a long and special relationship of love and respect.
Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar have shared a long and special relationship of love and respect.(Twitter/ Lata Mangeshkar )

Lata Mangeshkar has maintained a very strong connection with Indian cricket’s biggest personalities, even though her own profession is world’s apart.

From featuring in the iconic song ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ to sharing a very close bond with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, Lata has been close to the sportspersons, especially cricketers, like no other.

The song ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ that released three decades ago still remains a favourite of many Indians.

In its music video, Lata was seen alongside several sports personalities such as former India cricketer S Venkatraghavan, Prakash Padukone, Narendra Hirwani, Arun Lal, PK Banerjee, Banerjee, Gurbux Singh, Syed Kirmani, Leslie Claudius, and Chuni Goswami.

In 1983, when Kapil Dev’s Indian cricket team created history by defeating the West Indies to win the World Cup in England, Lata even staged a free concert for the team.

That year, when the BCCI had invited Lata to do a special concert for the Indian team, she could not attend the event due to her poor health. However, upon her return to the country, she agreed for a free concert.

“I watched the final at Lord’s. I could not believe that we had won the World Cup defeating the two-times champion West Indies. Naturally, as an Indian, I felt very proud of the achievement,” she recalled years later.

“After winning the trophy, Kapil Dev invited me for a dinner with the Indian team in London. I went there for a while and congratulated the team. The duration of the concert was four hours.

“I remember that all the members of the team have sung a song, specially composed by my brother Hridaynath, with me. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were standing beside me,” she added.

The ‘Nightingale of India’ has been like a mother to the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar, as the two giants of their field share a very strong bond.

From Lata pushing her demand for Tendulkar being honoured with the ‘Bharat Ratna’ to the Little Master showing gratitude to her on many public gatherings, there have been a number of instances which showed just how strong their relationship has been.

Even before he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 2014, Lata believed the cricketer should be given India’s highest civilian honour.

“For me, he is the real Bharat Ratna for years. Whatever he has done for the country, very few people can do. He deserves this honour. He has made all of us feel proud,” Lata said back in 2010.

Further describing her relationship with Tendulkar, Lata had said, “”Sachin treats me like his mother and I always pray for her like a mother. I can never forget the day when he called me ‘aai’ (mother) for the first time. I had never imagined that. It was pleasant surprise for me and I feel blessed to have a son like him.”

“Sachin celebrates his birthday on April 24 which is also my father’s (Dinanath Mangeshkar) death anniversary. We never get a chance to meet on that day. On one occasion we had met on April 23,” she added.

When Tendulkar was gearing up for the release of his biographical film ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ earlier this year in 2017, Lata extended her best wishes via social media.

In his reply, Tendulkar was gracious as he said Lata was ‘like a mother’ to him.

Tendulkar might have walked away from on-field action in 2013, but the fan in Lata found a new talent to adore in Virat Kohli. After the Indian batsman’s splendid 235 against England in the 2016 Mumbai Test, Lata dedicated a song to Kohli.

Tendulkar is not the only cricketer to receive such support from Lata. When VVS Laxman guided India to one of their most thrilling wins over Australia the Mohali Test in 2010, she took to Twitter to express her feelings.

Ahead of perhaps India’s most crucial match in the 2011 World Cup — the semifinal against Pakistan at Mohali — Lata extended her wishes to the Indian team, who then went on to lift the trophy.

Lata has also stood strong with Indian cricket in troubled times as well. From expressing her sorrow at the demise of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi to showing concern when Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with cancer, Lata has truly shown she is a passionate cricket fan.