On her 90th birthday, we asked playback legend Lata Mangeshkar to list her favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs. While she says her favourites keep changing, the ones she doesnt like remain unchanged. Among the classics we adore but she cionfesses not liking much are “Bindiya chamkegi” (“Do Raaste”) , “Piya bina piya bina” (“Abhimaan”) and “Tunhe yaad karte karte” (“Amrapali”).
But what about her personal favourites? Here is her self-picked Top Five list, specially curated by her on her 90th birthday.
1. KHWAB BANKAR KOI AAYEGA TOH NEEND AAYEGI (“Razia Sultan”)
Everybody loves “Ae dil-e-nadaan” so much that we tend to neglect this other gem from “Razia Sultan”.
“The director Kamal Amrohi explained the entire situation in detail. Khayyam Saab wanted a particular mood. He was clear in his mind about what to do,” says Mangeshkar.
2. CHUNRI SAMBHAL GORI (“Baharon Ke Sapne)
Everyone raves about Lataji’s solo “Kya jaanoon sajan” in this film. What about this foot-tapping folksy number with Manna Dey?
” ‘Chunri sambhal’ was much more difficult to sing than ‘Kya jaanoon sajan’ and ‘Aaja piya tohe pyar doon’ in the same film. The exclamation ‘Ha-ah’ after ever line of the mukhda was Pancham’s idea. It added a new dimension to the song,” says Mangeshkar.
3. BARSE GHAN SARI RAAT SANGG SOW JAO (“Tarang”)
The only song that Mangeshkar sang for composer Vanraj Bhatia is a long discursive meditative melody on the yearnings of love. The poetry by Raguvir Sahay has a very high erotic quality.
“I remember this was a very tough song. In the way the composition moved it reminded me of my brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar’s compositions. On top of that, the complex lyrics were in a free-flowing, no-rhyme format. This was one of my biggest singing challenges,” says Mangeshkar.
4. TU AAJ APNI HAATH SE KUCH BIGDI SAWAAR DE (“Daku”)
A long-forgotten film by Basu Bhattacharya, it is best remembered for Amrita Pritam’s pain-lashed poetry of protest, where an outcast woman wonders how she can bring her child up with dignity.
“If I am not mistaken this song was composed by Shyamji-Ghanshyamji. The poetry was powerful. It addressed the anguish of a downtrodden mother pleading with God for a better life for her child. I always felt good about singing words that conveyed more than what was actually being sung,” says Mangeshkar.
5. RAJA BETA SOYA MERA (“Raja Harishchandra”)
A mother sings a lullaby to her dead child. Can it get more tragic? Lataji sings her brother’s composition with heartbreaking intensity.
“It wasn’t easy doing this song. The lyrics were a about a grieving mother. The composition was replete with steep dips and curves. I am always scared to sing my brother’s songs. Everyone at the recording was weeping,” says Mangeshkar.