Happy 90th b'day, Lata Ji! Celebs wish Nightingale of India, singer picks her top five all-time tunes
On her 90th birthday, we asked playback legend Lata Mangeshkar to list her favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs.
While she says her favourites keep changing, the ones she doesn't like remain unchanged.
Among the classics we adore but she confesses not liking much are Bindiya Chamkegi (Do Raaste), Piya Bina Piya Bina (Abhimaan) and Tunhe Yaad Karte Karte (Amrapali).
But what about her personal favourites? Here is her self-picked Top Five list, specially curated by her on her 90th birthday.
1. KHWAB BANKAR KOI AAYEGA TOH NEEND AAYEGI (Razia Sultan)
Everybody loves Ae dil-e-nadaan so much that we tend to neglect this other gem from Razia Sultan.
"The director Kamal Amrohi explained the entire situation in detail. Khayyam Saab wanted a particular mood. He was clear in his mind about what to do," says Mangeshkar.
2. CHUNRI SAMBHAL GORI (Baharon Ke Sapne)
Everyone raves about Lataji's solo Kya jaanoon sajan in this film. What about this foot-tapping folksy number with Manna Dey?
"Chunri sambhal was much more difficult to sing than Kya jaanoon sajan and Aaja piya tohe pyar doon in the same film."
"The exclamation ‘Ha-ah' after every line of the mukhda was Pancham's idea. It added a new dimension to the song," says Mangeshkar.
3. BARSE GHAN SARI RAAT SANGG SOW JAO (Tarang)
The only song that Mangeshkar sang for composer Vanraj Bhatia is a long discursive meditative melody on the yearnings of love. The poetry by Raguvir Sahay has a very high erotic quality.
"I remember this was a very tough song. In the way that the composition moved it reminded me of my brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar's compositions.
On top of that, the complex lyrics were in a free-flowing, no-rhyme format. This was one of my biggest singing challenges," says Mangeshkar.
4. TU AAJ APNI HAATH SE KUCH BIGDI SAWAAR DE (Daku)
A long-forgotten film by Basu Bhattacharya, it is best remembered for Amrita Pritam's pain-lashed poetry of protest, where an outcast woman wonders how she can bring her child up with dignity.
"If I am not mistaken this song was composed by Shyamji-Ghanshyamji. The poetry was powerful. It addressed the anguish of a downtrodden mother pleading with God for a better life for her child."
"I always felt good about singing words that conveyed more than what was actually being sung," says Mangeshkar.
5. RAJA BETA SOYA MERA (Raja Harishchandra)
A mother sings a lullaby to her dead child. Can it get more tragic? Lataji sings her brother's composition with heartbreaking intensity.
"It wasn't easy doing this song. The lyrics were about a grieving mother."
"The composition was replete with steep dips and curves. I am always scared to sing my brother's songs. Everyone at the recording was weeping," says Mangeshkar.
The Nightingale of India Lata Mangeshkar turned 90 on Saturday, and celebrities including Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, AR Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal and Anil Kapoor wished her good health with messages on social media.
Mangeshkar started her career in 1943 at the age of 13 with the song Naachu ya gade, khelu saari, mani haus bhaari for Marathi film Kiti Hasaal. She ventured into Hindi cinema with the song Paa laagu kar jori re for Vasant Joglekar's movie Aap Ki Seva Mein.
She got her first major break in 1948 with the song Dil mera toda in the film Majboor. With Aayega aanewaala, a song in the movie Mahal, she registered one of her first musical hits.
Wishing the queen of melody a happy birthday, actress-turned-politician Hema Malini tweeted: "Lata didi's bday! God bless her with many more healthy years!
She is an inspiration for me as she is for millions. My special equation with her spans many years. It is an honour to be associated with you Didi and I treasure your love and good wishes always."
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor wrote: "Wish you a very Happy Birthday. our best wishes from the family to you dearest Lata Mangeshkarji. Utmost respect, love and regards."
Dharmendra wished for Mangeshkar's long life. "Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkarji. Lambi umar ho aap ki aap Khush rahen sehatmand rahen (May you always stay happy. I wish a long life for you)."
Music maestro AR Rahman said that he has huge respect for Lata Mangeshkar. "Wish you a very Happy Birthday-our best wishes from the family to you dearest Lata Mangeshkarji. Utmost respect, love and regards," he added.
Anil Kapoor thanked Mangeshkar for her timeless melodies. "Happy Birthday, Lata Mangeshkarji, you will forever remain the unmatchable and unforgettable voice of India. Thank you for all the melodies and memories," Anil tweeted.
Singer Shreya Ghoshal shared that she listens to Mangeshkar's songs every day. "Happy 90th birthday Lata Mangeshkarji. I pray for your good health and happiness. Not a single day in my life goes without listening to and singing your songs. You have been my guru, my biggest inspiration. Blessed to be born in your era of musical glory," she tweeted.
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi called everyone fortunate that "we are celebrating Lataji's 90th birthday and are witness to this era-defining talent". Prasoon wrote: "Will always cherish the fact that she gave voice to my first film song ever for Lajja and then of course Luka chuppi for Rang De Basanti. God bless her."
Actress Madhuri Dixit Nene wished "loads of happiness" on Lata Mangeshkar's birthday.