Friday, October 16, 2009


LATA MANGESHKAR, the Nightingale of India, turned 80 on the 28th september 2009. Television channels and Radio celebrated the occasion with programs of remembrances and tributes and listeners got a feast of her glorious songs. Music companies have also come out with new albums of her songs.
Volumes have been written ,spoken and aired on Lata. The shelves of music shops continue to be filled with CDs and MP3s in various combinations of her songs, old and new. Listeners of all ages continue to buy them for listening, for presenting to their loved ones and for adding to their collection.
My memory goes back to the 70s when Lata had done a number of grand and successful stage programmes abroad. One such memorable programme was her concert at the famous Royal Albert's Hall, London, then a more than a century old theatre, in March 1974. It was a series of three concerts in aid of Nehru Memorial Project in Britain sponsored by India League. It was Lata's international debut and she was the first Indian to perform at Royal Albert's Hall, London.The hall, with a capacity of 6000 was houseful for all the three concerts.It was reported that, even on the third day, people were ready to pay double the cost of a ticket to enter even during the intermission! I still remember the wide coverage and photographs in film publications like The Screen, Cine Advance, Filmfare, etc., about the programme. In fact the programme was such a huge success and Lata was in such wonderful form that she could"demand and obtain the spontaneous surrender of her 18000 odd listeners and send them home with gladdened hearts and nostalgic memories". Lata was described as the undisputed melody queen of India','the pint-sized bundle of musical genius'.'the singer with moonlight in her throat', ' a legend in her lifetime'.etc.
Lata, the most recorded singer, was presented with a 'gold disc' by EMI, London, the first Indian to receive a gold disc from EMI. Sri VK. Krishna Menon was a prominent guest at the function held at the Selfridge Hotel, London.

HMV had come out with a 2LP Album(In stereo) containing reproductions from Lata's recordings at the concert, stated to be the first ever recording of a live programme offered as an album by HMV. The high quality recording was done by EMI, London , and it included speeches by Dilip Kumar and a few other dignitaries.The songs included the alltime favourites of Lata like 'Ayega Aanewala','Aajaare pardesi', etc., and the patriotic song,' Ae mere watan ke logon'.

Lata Mangeshkar had also performed at the Royal Albert's Hall in concert with the famous Wren Orchestra conducted by Ed Welch. HMV had released a special album of 2LP records (in stereo) containing live recordings at the concert.The album contained speeches by Suil Dutt introducing Lata, a tribute to Lata by Nargis, and a tribute to the Wren Orchestra by Lata. Songs from films like Andaz, Jailor, Chori Chori, Haqueequet, Mughal-e-azam,Junglee etc., sung by Lata at the concert are there in the LPs.
There is yet another album of 2 LP records covering Lata's concert at London Palladium in June 1979. Noted singers, Hemant Kumar, Nitin Mukesh and Usha Mangeshkar also performed along with Lata. Needless to add, the concert was a huge success and the 'Guardian, London', wrote on the 12th June 1979, under the caption, "India's Shy Nightingale"; "The Nightingale of India is an apt sobriquet. For Lata, like the bird ,is a simple creature.Her power and magic lie in her inimitable melting voice".
Perhaps the most memorable and sentimental album of live recording by HMV covering Lata's foreign concerts is the one titled ," A Tribute Mukesh by Lata Mangeshkar.Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar. Live Recordings of Concerts in U.S.A. and Canada", in August 1976. The two LP records are embellished by alltime hits of Lata and Mukesh from films like Sujata, Woh Kaun Thi, Milan, Kabhi Kabhi,Anpadh, Parvarish, Malhar, Aandhi, etc., with introductory comments by the singers and often superimposed with Lata's tributes to Mukesh and nostalgic memories of her association with her "Mukesh Bhaiyya". Aptly, the last song of the album is the one by Mukesh,viz., Dil Jalta hai to jalne do"(Film. Pahli Nazar). It was the first recorded song of Mukesh for a film. It happened to be his last recorded song also,as, soon after rendering this song on the stage, he had a cardiac failure from which he never recovered. The song is presented by Lata with her touching comments on this incident. A truly memorable album for gramophone collectors and a 'must possess' one for Mukesh fans.


raju said...

Have you visited this site?
There are a few other curious facets of Lathaji's personality narrated elasewhere like
"She always sings barefoot on stage"
She can sing in three octaves compared to two by most.

Haddock said...

she is really talented

Karen said...

I have the 1974 record too! i bought at a thrift store for 50 cents! The thing is that my records didnt come with the picture sleeves. A few weeks after i bought the lp i went to a different thrift store and found some more hindi records and in one of the records it had the one sleeve to the 1974 lp. That is how i got to know that is had picture sleeves, now i need to find the other sleeve!