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What If Lata Mangeshkar Would Have Continued To Be An Actress?

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Ali Peter John

It is in all these years that Lata Mangeshkar has lived a many-splendoured life, achieved what very few human beings in the world must have, been there and seen it all, all the fame, all the fortune and a life that has been and will be a part of millions of lives as long as there is life.

As is now recorded in history, Lata Mangeshkar was born the eldest daughter of the music composer and stage actor Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and had her siblings like Asha, Meena, Usha and Hridaynath, all of whom had been trained in the best traditions of music by their father, who unfortunately died young and left his young wife, Mai to look after the children.

The scene at home only became worse and Lata had to leave Kolhapur for Poona where he had to take up acting at the age of six or seven to make a living for the family. She played the roles of the little sister in some Marathi films and did four films as the leading lady and two in Hindi.

Acting gave her a mean of livelihood and a certain sense of satisfaction, but it was singing that kept luring her and she left Poona for Bombay where she believed her future was. Her name had preceded her in some places and one day she was called by a known name which said that there was a music director who wanted to take on a new female singer and asked her if she was interested and she had no reason to say no to the offer.

She reached the Bombay Talkies in Malad which had given the film industry some great talent like Ashok Kumar, Devika Rani, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor who worked as a general assistant, Agha who was the hero in the first film of Dilip Kumar, “Jwar Bhata” and many others. In fact, Bombay Talkies was like the cradle of talent for Hindi Cinema.

Those days the one name that was most heard of in the field of film music was Khemchand Prakash. He was scoring the music for Kamal Amrohi’s “Mahal” which had Ashok Kumar and a beautiful new actress called Madhubala in the lead. Khemchand Prakash had an assistant who sounded very stern but was a man with a soft heart and who took a liking for the very young Lata who knew nothing about recording a song for films. Khemchand Prakash asked God assistant to audition la Lata. The assistant made Lata understand the intricacies of playback singing and was very happy about the way she picked up things, even though she was hardly educated. He gave his opinion to Khemchand Prakash who heard her sing and told her that she would be singing the highlight song for Kamal Amrohi’s “Mahal” and also told her that she would have to work hard on the words of the song as Kamal Amrohi, the director of the film was also a known writer in Urdu who was very particular about the use of the Urdu language. Lata took every word that Khemchand Prakash told her about the song very seriously and was ready to take on her first challenge as a playback singer….

There were no recording studios those days and a song had to be recorded in the the open smh even in the place where the scenes were shot. Lata travelled from her house in South Bombay to Malad every morning like all the actors like, Dilip, Dev and Madhubala. This was in the year 1949……

The day of the recording dawned and Lata sang the song,“Aayegaa aayegaa aanewala aayega”. She had worked very hard, knowing fully well that it was her do or die opportunity to sing for a big film made by a well-known filmmaker and with the music director who was right on top in his field. Lata literally sang her heart out and the song was okayed by  Khemchand Prakash who predicted a very bright future for her and soon after the recording of the song, Khemchand Prakash died and Lata took her first steps to be the Lata Mangeshkar she was destined to be and who would live forever, only because of her God-gifted voice which has been heard all over the world, in the sky, on sea and wherever there was any sign of civilization.

Lata will live for ninety thousand years and even more. Her voice and her almost saint-like personality has made sure of it.

But, the one question that makes me and may be millions of others shudder is what would the world be for us if Lata Mangeshkar had been the name of an actress who would have retired a long time ago after playing a mother or a grandmother and then be left in the dark clouds of oblivion. Thank God for giving us Lata Mangeshkar as the singer and Nightingale she is, rather than giving her to us as an average actress or even a capable actress, which would not be a patch on what the forever Lata Mangeshkar is.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar , Veteran Singer, Playback Singer

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