I belong to the generation that grew up listening to Lata Mangeshkar without missing any single day. All India Radio, Vividh Bharti and Radio Ceylon were the main channels beaming Lata’s melodious voice, an inseparable part of daily life. If our radio was off, I could still listen to her songs from the neighbour’s receiver.
She sure dominated music waves of film songs and captured the genre for several decades until she reached her most senior years. I enjoy Hindusthani film songs, and Lata is the main reason for this indulgence.
Lata sang over 25,000 songs composed by talented music directors like Naushad Ali, S.D.Burman, Shanker Jaikishan, O.P. Nayyar, Khayam, C. Ramchandra, Vasant Desai and many more. But it was music director Ghulam Ali Haider who first discovered the unmatched talent of Lata. And he is the one who got credited with initiating her singing career. “Ghulam Haider is truly my godfather. He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent”, Lata once remarked about her mentor.
In her death, my memories go back to her ever luminous gems. The list is endless, but several songs have itched permanent residency in the musical sockets of my flashback mind. My favourite list of Lata’s classics is quite long, but here are some of them: Aye ga aane wala, yeh zindagi usi ki hai, tum na zane iss Jahan mein kho gaye, Rasik balma, Hothon Main Aisi Baat, Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna, Chup gaya koi re, dekho who chand chupke karta hai kaya ishare, Kahan le chale ho bata do mussafir. Besides Hindi-Urdu songs, Lata sang in all the languages of India.
Lata has gone into eternal sleep, but the song she left behind, which is another of my fav, is a lullaby in the Dogri/Pahari language:tu malla tu,lok panan thikrian, badam panne tu.