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She Sang for Me and Soha: Sharmila Tagore Remembers Lata Mangeshkar

Actor Sharmila Tagore shares her memories of meeting Lata Mangeshkar

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"It's a big loss, she was a legend," remarked veteran actor Sharmila Tagore as she recalled her first meeting with Lata Mangeshkar.

"I remember meeting Lataji when I had gone to the recording studio with Shaktiji (Shakti Samanta) during Aradhana. The song being recorded was either Kora Kaagaz Tha Yeh Mann... or Chanda Hai Tu..., I am not sure, but that was the first time I met her. In those they used to sing with a full orchestra also, so there was a glass cubicle and they would sing from there. I met Lataji and she was very very sweet and very pleasant and the first take was okayed."

When asked to pick her favourite songs by Mangeshkar, this is what Tagore had to say, "From my own films one of my favourite songs is Kuch Dil Ne Kaha... from the film Anupama."

"I think my favourite song also is the one from Khamoshi, Gulzar wrote the lyrics, Humne Dekhi Hai Unn Aankhon Mein..."

Speaking about lip synching to Mangeshkar's songs, Tagore said that the singer made an actor's job easy. "Because of the way Lataji sang her songs, my performance became easier, because there was so much expression in her song, it inspired you to perform well," Tagore said.

Recalling the legendary singer as a person, Tagore said that Mangeshkar always had a word of encouragement for everybody. "As a person she was very soft spoken, had a sense of humour. She was a wildlife enthusiast, she had so many top-of-the-line cameras, she would take photographs, she was very good in that. She was also a cricket enthusiast and that also brought us together. I believe she was very fond of cars also," the actor said.

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Tagore also said that Mangeshkar's iconic status is also because she was such an influential singer across generations. "It's a huge loss for us but in a way her voice will always remain immortal, because she has been singing since the 1940s. I remember her song Aayega Aanewala... where Madhubala is on the swing, I still remember that, what a beautiful song that was. So for so many decades she has been singing for from Madhubala to Kajol. In fact she has sung for Kajol, Tanuja and for Shobhna Samarth," said Tagore.

"She sang for me and she sang for Soha also. Also, my granddaughter, Soha's daughter loves listening to Chanda Hai Tu, Mera Suraj Hai Tu.... She had that quality in her voice which could connect people. After the Chinese aggression, when she sang that Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon... that's now a part of history, she sang it in front of Jawaharlal Nehru and how much Nehru loved her voice. "
Sharmila Tagore

"So, it's sort of linked India, through generations and different parts of India. There is no place in India where her voice is not loved or understood because she sung in so many languages. She was blessed with such a beautiful voice which was so natural without any extra effort and that's why she carried on for so long," Tagore added.

The veteran actor had one regret to not having received the Lata Mangeshkar Award from the singer herself. "She was going to give me the Lata Mangeshkar Award personally. She invited me to Bombay... this was in 2020, but because of COVID it got postponed. And then last year I was scared to go to Bombay, because of COVID and that second wave and everything and I was not double vaccinated. So I didn't go and I told Rachna (Lata Mangeshkar's niece) this year I want to receive it from her, and she said - 'of course, it will happen', but who knew that this would happen and it's my biggest regret really," said an emotional Tagore.

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