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Lata Mangeshkar's acquaintances from Telugu industry recall fond memories of working with the legend- Cinema express

Lata Mangeshkar's acquaintances from Telugu industry recall fond memories of working with the legendary singer

Lata Mangeshkar's demise has drew tributes from many prominent actors, music composers, playback singers and other technicians

Published: 06th February 2022
Lata Mangeshkar

Eminent playback singer Lata Mangeshkar's demise has come as a rude shock not only to Bollywood but also to the Telugu film industry. Her death drew tributes from many prominent actors, music composers, playback singers and other technicians.

For more than seven decades Lata Mangeshkar, better known as Lata didi to her fans, was a major presence as a playback singer, who sang many chartbuster hits that are later recreated or sang by many singers in many music concerts. Although her best-known songs were in Hindi and Marathi, her impact on Telugu cinema with her two chartbuster songs -- Nidurapora Thammuda (Santhanam) and Tella Cheeraku (Aakhari Poratam) is everlasting.

Reflecting on his association with Lata Mangeshkar, popular Telugu producer C Ashwini Dutt, who bankrolled Aakhari Poratam, says, "I think I had done something worthwhile in my previous life, poorva janma sukrutham to have Lata garu sing a song in my film,”

Asked how he chanced upon Lata for the song, he explains, “After finalising SP Balasubrahmanyam garu as the male playback singer, we were looking for a female singer who sounds fresh, unique and versatile to our audience. Raja garu (Ilaiyaraaja) then suggested Lata garu's name and approached her. She was delighted to stage a comeback to Telugu nearly after 40 years and came to record the song within a week.”

He continues, “When she walked into the recording studio, she greeted everyone with respect, love and humility. She admires Ilaiyaraaja garu and showered a lot of praise on him for about 30 minutes. She also shared a wonderful rapport with Balu garu and together they delivered a super hit song.”

Lata Mangeshkar spent about six-seven hours in the recording studio and went the extra mile to understand the nuances of Telugu. “Usually she takes 20 minutes to record a song in Hindi. Being a perfectionist, she rehearsed the song from morning to evening. She was a stickler for pronunciation and she diligently listened to Balu garu, his instructions and suggestions, and then sing. If she had doubts, he would clear it straight away. In between the breaks, I went and spoke to her. What amazed me was her love for Telugu cinema. She was eager to know what is happening here,” says Dutt, who is deeply saddened by Lata Mangeshkar’s demise.

Prominent playback singer Sunitha says Lata Mangeshkar had a big influence on her. “Lata didi was a celestial singer, who chiselled every song to perfection. It is an experience to live through her voice. With her divine voice, Lata didi seemed to be walking along every step of the way, with us always in joy or sorrow. Her magical voice is a relief and a therapy for many anguished souls. It was a pure joy listening to her songs as a music lover. We cannot imagine anyone singing with such emotion and passion. And her pronunciation was perfect,” reveals Sunitha.

She recalls her fond memories with the legendary singer and says, “I was honored with Lata Mangeshkar Best Singer Award for 2011 by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. I received the award from Lata didi’s hands and I am truly blessed that she choose me for the honour. I still remember her saying, "Aap ki awaaz meetha hain" while presenting the award. Those words were like a Bharat Ratna to me,” Sunitha recalls with fondness.

Sharing her favourite moment with Lata, Sunitha says, “I sang with Lata didi as a back vocal during one of the projects of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD). I felt really fortunate to see her perform live and also sing one of her hit songs in front of her at a concert in Shilpakala Vedika."

She adds, “I still ruminate about listening to her voice singing ‘Tu jahan jahan chalega…’ and ‘Mere awaaz hi pehchaan hai…’, it was divine. Like Balu garu, Lata didi is a true karma yogi and she will be missed greatly.”

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