'Today's singers lack soul' - Lata Mangeshkar

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Author: Farhana Farook

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Lata Mangeshkar on living life with 'Saadgi', music today and the little joys that make her day

There's no Indian who can claim to be impervious to Lata Mangeshkar's melody or not having had his emotions translated at some point in the lilt of her larynx.

In her late '70s, Lata has recently released her solo album 'Saadgi' after a gap of 17 years. "The lyrics (Javed Akhtar) are hatke. The dhun (Mayuresh Pai) is melodious. The album has captured every mood. It's philosophical, sad and romantic," explains Lata about the album.
Lata reveals that the title 'Saadgi' was selected by her. Compliment her on the distilled quality of her voice and she says, "Bhagwan ne paakeezgi dee hai." On what makes her so self-effacing she says, "My father (singer Dinanath Mangeshkar) was a simple man. Badnaseeb hoon main, he died when I was young-only 13. He'd say 'Stay away from dishonesty'. My mother (the late Shudhamati) was simple too. I've tried to keep their simplicity zinda. She adds, "No matter how high I may be placed by people, my feet are on the ground."
While Lata can still stir listeners with the Madan Mohan composition 'Tere liye' ('Veer Zaara'), the veteran, now does not do riyaaz everyday. Rather she enjoys photography, reading and occasionally watching old films. Few know that Lata is passionate about cooking. "I like eating out as much as I like preparing food at home," she shares.
As far as the current scenario is concerned, Lata remarks, "Today's singers are like statues - beautiful, but they lack soul!" Listing maestros Mehdi Hasan, Bade Ghulam Ali and Aamir Ali Khan as her favourites she adds, "I enjoy listening to the Egyptian singer Umme Kulsum - there's jaan in her voice. I like the softness in Lebanese singer Fairouz's voice."
Ask her about her unaccomplished dreams and Lata states softly, "As long as I live, I want to do no wrong or hurt anybody."
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