Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Lata forever: Dulcet tones from a great soul

I was watching 'Once upon a time in Mexico' last night (for Johnny Depp, who was a letdown in the movie). A piano teacher is explaining to a mafia boss (what was the pianist thinking?) that a purity of soul is important to achieve depth in music. Of course, his hands went downhill, as did rest of the movie.

Cut to the present. Today, in fact. Lata Mangeshkar turned 75. All of five and seventy. Just a week back, I wrote up this post about the comeback of Lata with Veer-Zaara. Comeback? Who am I kidding? She owns this place, she owns this generation, and the one before that, and the one before that. She owns the highest pedestal for a civilian in India, she owns the respect of one and all in the country, even those who don't listen to old songs, even those who don't listen to Hindi songs, she owns the respect of many outside the country, she owns the mornings of people who faithfully tune into All India Radio and enjoy her voice, she owns the mornings of people who don't need a radio jockey to play them Lata songs, she owns the emotions that she evokes with her voice every time I listen to 'Lag Jaa Gale' or 'Sili Hawa Choo Gayi', she owns the success of a million Latas that sprung up in India solely inspired by her, she owns the heights that Rafi would never have scaled had he not got the company of Lata, she owns the success of music directors who composed for her voice and till date compose songs with her in mind; she owns our senses for the five minutes her dulcet tones surround us during a song. For one so rich, it is only her greatness as her person that she still has the same values that helped her on the road to fame and success: humility, determination, effort!

There is nothing I can really say about her that hasn't been said before. But, on this, her 75th birthday, I sincerely wish that this melodious journey continues on and on.

1 comment:

Avinash said...

Man......Emphatic. I fear that if one of those folks who say that Lata is past her prime were to come within striking range, u wud strangle him. :-)
That said, I must confess that I am one of them. Tho I do beleive that her talent and greatness is underscored by the fact that even today none of the current batch of playback singers can stand up to her. As for her songs, what can I say? For the past year, I have been trying to compile a collection of her songs which I can burn onto a CD. There are so many of them that I have almost given up. My current estimate is that I shall need 3-4 MP3 CDs for the task. But ur article has reenergized me. Plus the fact that I have a home PC. So will let u know when the job is done. The sad part is, even after so much effort, I know some songs will have been left out. I can't help it. The volume and quality of her work is too great for me.