Lata Mangeshkar lives on in the love she has accumulated, but also in the talent of the newer generation of artists, musicians, composers, and singers who routinely turn to her body of work — around 5000 songs — to find melody, method, and madness. Here are artists picking their favourite Lata Mangeshkar song.
When I was young, my father used to always play her songs, which is why her music has always had an influence on me. Her songs are very close to my heart. Whenever I listen to them, I remember my father; I miss my childhood — ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa’, ‘Tujhse Naraaz’, ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai’. I won’t ever be able to forget Lata ji’s voice. It will forever reside in my heart.
It has always been ‘Lag Ja Gale’ for me. I have heard uncountable versions and covers of this one but nothing is even close to the original. I don’t even know when this song was released and which film it was from, I have just been listening to it in my house since childhood and the voice and the melody still moves me everytime I listen to it. I’m sure even after 100 years it will have the same impact.
In an interview I had seen Vishal Bharadwaj saying that ‘Pani Pani Re’ is his best composition till date, and I totally agree with this. The calmness and the ‘thairaav’ this song has is on some next level. I feel it is one of Lata Mangeshkar’s most underrated songs. No one could ever sing this song the way she has sung it. Every line, every note has this spiritual feeling to it. Magical!
From such an immense body of work, it’s hard to pick just one or even a few. A lot of people only know who I am because of the covers I’ve done of some of Lataji’s songs. Her voice is etched in my heart.
‘Lag Ja Gale’ will always have a very special place in my life because it was the song I opened the Sonu Nigam Klose To My Heart tour concerts with in 2012, which is where I first started out in my journey through Bollywood. At home, ‘Aji Rooth Kar’ is my mom’s favourite, and it’s the one song she requests whenever we are jamming with family and friends. There’s a little extra special connection with these two songs.
It’s hard to pick a favourite Lata Mangeshkar song. It’s like picking your favourite flower from the valley of flowers. ‘Rahe Na Rahe Hum’ hits hard considering that we have lost a constant in our life. How can your eyes not well up listening to the words”
‘Rahe na rahe hum, mahaka karenge
Ban ke kali, ban ke saba, bage wafaa mein
Rahe na rahe hum – in her voice.’
I had this whole vinyl record phase, this whole hipster phase in college. I became a big SD Burman fan, especially the SD Burman-Lata Mangeshkar combination. The song ‘Chand Phir Nikla Magar Tum Na Aaye’ from Paying Guest is not just a fantastic composition but one of Lata Mangeshkar’s finest vocal performances. It’s got so much longing, so much beauty. It just leaves me very satisfied.
My sense of play is so tied up with Lata ji, singing those lovely Radha-Krishna ditties in the form of film songs in the 1950s and 60s. My sense of shaam ka aana, melancholy, lighting a cigarette and drinking a cup of chai is bound up with her singing ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa Toh Nahi’. My relationship with my entire extended family – my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my memories of my Bua’s house in Islamabad – it’s all bound up with Hindi film songs.