Through a remarkable singing career that spanned eight decades, iconic singer Lata Mangeshkar has played an instrumental role in shaping the Bollywood music industry as we know it. Upon her recent demise, the country collectively mourned the death of this legendary singer with an outpour of tributes. No tribute, however, would be complete without a significant musical aspect. Hence, the Cultural Centre for the High Commission of India in the UK, Nehru Centre, London, had brought together a panel of industry stalwarts and luminaries of Indian music for their show, ‘An Ode to the Nightingale: Lata Mangeshkar’.
A celebrated line up of guests including author, columnist, and the Director of Nehru Centre, Amish Tripathi, Indian singer, and musician Padma Shri Anup Jalota, Executive Director of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, London, Dr M N Nandakumara, and Indo-fusion violinist and vocalist from Assam, Sunita Bhuyan was hosted by Nanni Singh, CEO of ShowCase Events. Renowned classical singer Padma Shri Padmaja Phenany Joglekar had also sang two songs to add to the mix.
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Amish Tripathi opened the panel with anecdotes of his association with the late singer.
Paying his respect, he said, “India has lost its voice. One of the greatest artists of our nation, in fact, of our civilisation. She has left her mark on our hearts and moved on. Goddess Saraswati is welcoming back her finest pupil. We will miss you, Lata didi.”
Shri Anup Jalota, best known for his contribution to Hindu devotional music and bhajans, has precious memories with Lata Mangeshkar.
He says, “On stage or in recording studios, we had some great conversations over meals and loved watching cricket together. Musicians like her are not born - she took an avatar to teach music to the world. She was not just a singer but the role model of a perfectionist.”
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Accompanying this tribute, Anup Jalota sang a number of evergreen songs for the audience, including ‘Jo Dard Diya Tumne’, ‘Ek Pyaar ka Nagma Hai’, ‘Aisi Lagi Lagan’, which he pointed out was a Bhajan that Mangeshkar particularly loved.
Dr M N Nandakumara was another distinguished guest on the panel. He has been at the Bhavans, London, for 45 years and bears a mighty cultural legacy. Incidentally, Lata Mangeshkar was a patron of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in London, and Nandakumara first met her in 1978.
He said, “I felt so lucky and blessed to have met her. She was warm and the epitome of humility despite her great stature. She instantly made you feel like you were family.”
Sunita Bhuyan said, “I may never have interacted with her directly, but Lata ji’s music, voice and songs have had a great impact on my work as a musician. Listening to Lata ji sing, I realised that music is the purest form of expression.”
Bhuyan paid a musical tribute by singing the Assamese version of the popular song ‘Dil Hum Hum Kare’ and ended the event with an instrumental rendition of the famous song from the movie ‘Silsila’ called ‘Dekha Ek Khwab to Yeh Silsile Hue’.
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Padmaja Phenany Joglekar recalled her experiences with Lata Mangeshkar and stated that the Indian Nightingale’s spirit will “always be with us”. She presented two heartfelt renditions of the popular song ‘Kahi Yeh Woh to Nahi’ and the Marathi track ‘Kevha Tari Pahate’.
Nanni Singh aptly summed up the event by saying, “Lata Mangeshkar had a song for every mood, every emotion, every generation, and every age group. Icons are not born every day – and she will certainly live on forever.”
*Info: Nehru Centre