Monday, April 14, 2008

Lata Mangeshkar (From an article by Jerry Pinto)

- The only song in which you can hear the 3 Mangeshkar sisters singing together, as far as I know is the anthemic, Duniya Mein hum aaye hain to jeena hi padega/Jeevan hai agar zeher to peena hi padega (Having come into the world, we must find a way to live in it; and if life is poison, then we must find a way to drink of it) in Mother India……Lata sings for Nargis…..and the two other Mangeshkars (Usha and Meena) give their voices to prepubescent little boys

- She began singing in…(1945)…. But it is only in 1949 that Lata sang her breakthrough number in Mahal with Aayega Aanewala ….and followed it up with Jiya beqarar hai and Hawa mein udta jaye and Ab mera kaun sahara….. (Barsaat)

- Ashraf Aziz, teacher of anatomical sciences at Howard University, Washington, writes in his book, Light of the Universe:

When first heard, Lata’s voice had a novel sound; the novelty was more apparent than real. It was Noor Jehan’s “small girl” voice. It was a soprano range voice, devoid of much volume or amplitude. It was a small voice which travelled lightly and with effortless agility. There was just enough weight in the voice to give definite shape to the melody. At first she had a limited ability for coloratura singing – later she developed this quite a bit. However, her coloratura skills never matched those of Noorjehan; indeed, in this she even takes a backseat to Asha Bhosale, her younger sister. Whereas the voices of the earlier singers were imbued with daunting sensuality (indeed passion), Lata’s voice had a ”neutered sound”. Hers was (and is) a desexed voice – she sounded like a prepubertal adolescent. Lata’s laundered voice, appeals to the spirit than to the senses. Furthermore she infantilized the female voice. The threatening magic spell of the femmes fatales was at last broken. Men could now experience women without encountering the dark anarchic force of female sexuality, or assertions of equality. The world was safe. Shukr hai! Bach gaye!

- In 1956 the song Rasik Balma from Chori Chori….won the Filmfare Best Song award. Lata Mangeshkar refused to sing it live at the awards because there was no award for best playback singer. The award was instituted in 1958 and for the next eight years she won it with metronomic regularity. Yes, she deserved it for Aaja re pardesi…….and for Kahin deep jale kahin dil……..and tumhi mere mandir, tumhi meri pooja…… 1969, she refused to accept any more Filmfare awards, saying it was time for her to make way for fresh talent.

- Every Indian knows that Lata Mangeshkar sang Eh mere watan ke logon in front of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and that he wept when he heard her rendition.

- Amitava Kumar says: ‘What is India? India is ten million Tata Leyland trucks on the highway playing on their radios; Lata singing, Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye/Hum bhari duniya mein tanhaa ho gaye (You have vanished into some distant world and left me alone amidst the crowds).

Sure, although I suspect this is very much a Hindi-speaking, middle-class Bihari’s point of view. And although I suspect that this is very much a Roman Catholic boy from Goa growing up in Mumbai-speaking, in a pastiche, from that wonderful song from Kinara (1977; directed by Gulzar), Naam gum jaayega….’

You know the rest. Somewhere with the sounds of the rest of the nation, the relentless honking of the cars, the scream of the peacock, the staccato of radio static, the azans and the bhajans and the hymns, the garrulousness of seas and winds, those words dripped into your subconscious. And Lata, the creeper, wound herself around your heart.


memsaab said...

This is a lovely post, Nirvana :-) Thanks!

Kiran said...

Watch Lata Mangeshkar song Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha Checkout full video here