I sing in Bangla….
The Marathi girl from Maharashtra on the west coast of India has captivated the world, not just South Asia, but the enchanting magic of Kinnar's voice. Lata and her sister Asha's song waves are also admired in the homes of Bengal far away from their birthplace. Music empress Lata Mungeshkar is an example of a musician who has become popular by singing in Bengali without being a Bengali. Being not Bengali music emperor Mohammad Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur, Kabita Krishnamurti, Alka Yagnik, Sadhna Sargam and many other artists became famous by singing Bengali songs. However, in the subcontinent, there were only two equivalents, the Lata of India and the Nurjahan of Pakistan.
No other non-Bengali artist like Lata Mangeshkar has come so close to Bengali. It started in 1948. Bengali director Shashadhar Mukherjee made his mark in Bombay at that time. He was directing movies and also taking the responsibility of production. He has set up a famous studio called 'Filmistan' in Gurgaon. Famous writers Sadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Ashok Kumar - who was not there!
At such a time, famous music director Golam Haider appeared before Shashadhar babu. He brought with him a young girl of 19 years, who was born in a Marathi family in Indore of Madhya Pradesh. The girl has already sung in several Marathi and Hindi movies. Fascinated, Golam Haider brought the girl with him to Shashadhar Mukherjee.
But their mood was not fulfilled that day. Shashadhar babu did not agree to take the girl at all. He said, 'The singer's throat is very thin. As a result, she will not be able to work. On hearing this, Golam Haider became very angry. He took it as a challenge that day. He knew this girl had come to win everyone's heart. One day, the directors will be standing outside her house. One day the world will be her. Golam Haider was a pure jeweler; he did not make a mistake in recognizing diamonds. The name of that nineteen year old girl of that day is Lata Mungeshkar.
Then in 1948 the movie 'Majboor' was made. Lata's 'thin throat' sang 'Dil mera tora, mujhe kahi ka na chora'. Then history witnessed the rise of a legend. Lata Mungeshkar herself became an ongoing history, who, not with a pen or a fight, but with her own throat, with a melody, became the creator of creation, immersing everyone in the nectar of melody.
Lata was a true devotee. She herself said that in order to understand her life, one has to understand and listen to her pursuit. Mete was with music all his life. She has spent a lifetime in the melody of music. Ninety years later, she was still a young analog of melody.
Although she was initially turned away by a Bengali director after stepping into the world of music, Lata sang Bangla songs openly. Lata had a lasting relationship with Bengal. She made a bridge of music between Bombay and Bengal.
There is a lot of controversy about when Lata first sang in a Bengali movie. However, it is believed that she entered the world of Bengali music in 1956 with the film 'Asampta', in which she sang two songs. Then Lata sang a timeless Bengali song one after another. Sometimes Salil Chowdhury, Sachin Dev Barman, Hemant Mukherjee, sometimes Rahul Dev Barman, Bappi Lahiri have mesmerized the music world of Bengal.
Lata was not a Bengali by birth and did not understand Bengali. But she fell in love with the language. If you want to sing in a language, even if you don't know that language, you have to be able to feel that language. Otherwise the song itself cannot be touched. Therefore, Lata Mungeshkar kept a teacher at home just to learn Bengali. Basu Bhattacharya became the teacher. She tried her best to read and write, not in a benevolent way. Lata was an aquatic proof of how bold an artist can be to take such a bold step.
Lata saw in the middle of her career the triumph of Bengali language, culture and Bengali director-composers in the art, literature, music and film of the subcontinent. In her personal life, Lata Mangeshkar also became involved with a Bengali family. That is how she got acquainted with the proverbial artist Hemant Mukherjee. Once upon a time there was a good relationship between the two families.
Exactly how close Hemantada was to Lata is known from several incidents. For example, in 1951, director Hemen Gupta summoned Hemanta to Bombay. He wants to be in charge of the melody of the next movie 'Anandamath'. After completing his work in Bengal, Hemanta left for Bombay. He appeared at Filmistan Studios. Shashadhar Mukherjee gave him the job of music director. He will sing the song 'Bande Mataram' with Lata Mangeshkar. As soon as he told Shashadhar babu, he said, Lata may not come. Did she remember the old words?
Meanwhile, Hemanta has decided not to sing this song to anyone except Lata. So once he tried, he wanted to. Shashadhar Mukherjee agreed somehow. After going to Lata Mungeshkar, he said only one thing. ‘I decided not to sing there, but only for you’. And money? Lata said, no, I don't want money. She just wants to work with Hemanta Mukherjee. She even went straight to Hemanta's house to rehearse, which was against Lata's nature. Such was the depth of respect and human touch towards the relationship.
Lata's relationship with Bengal and Bengalis did not stop there. Hemanta Mukherjee's wife was then pregnant. Lata Mungeshkar was her best friend. At this time Bengali Hindus have a tradition of feeding 'sadh'. Lata did that with responsibility. She took her to the hotel and fed her.
No one will forget that autumn evening at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata. Fifty years of Hemanta Mukherjee's musical life. A special function was organized to mark the occasion. Hemanta called Lata hesitantly. If you can come. From the side of the phone, the queen of melody became excited by herself. Fifty years of his song 'Hemantada', and she will not come, what happens! Three days before the ceremony, Lata became very ill. Maybe not. But that is what Hemanta Mukherjee is talking about. Lata could not, but came.
The song has taken her to the ends of the earth. Even though she passed away in her eternal sleep, she has left the story resounding with thousands of songs, which reminds us of an extraordinary artist who loved Bengali, sang in Bengali, with her heart.