MUMBAI: Lata Mangeshkar is today busier than ever. “I may not be singing too many film songs but I’m very busy with my other recordings. I feel I still have a lot to learn, a lot to give and lot to carry with me. I can’t think of giving up singing. It’s my life. I wonder who wants to snatch away my life from me?” she tells Businessofcinema.com.
Then displaying her typical sense of humour Mangeshkar chuckles, “They put a picture of me doing namaste and announced retiring. Arrey kam-se-kam jissko retire kar rahe ho ussko to pucho who retire ho raha ya nahin (At least ask the person you are retiring whether she is retiring or not). I am not saying namaste to singing as long as I live. It’s difficult to put full stops to an artiste’s goals and achievements. Speaking for myself as a singer, new destinations have appeared during the journey of life. One needs an incentive to keep moving forward. The day an artiste feels she has done it all she’s finished. Whether it’s a writer, actor or a star he or she should never feel I’ve nothing more to achieve.”
Remind this living legend that she’s a symbol of national integration and she remains modest to the core. “When you say this, I don’t feel proud. But yes, it does place a huge responsibility on me. If people expect so much from me, I have to give them something in return. Yes,it’s a huge responsibility. Whatever I’ve got in life is because of the Almighty. You may not agree with me, but I feel I’ve got much more fame and recognition in life than I deserve. I don’t consider myself an extraordinary singer. If I start thinking I’m as good as people say, my growth as artiste would cease. Humility is the mainstay of an artiste, pride is her downfall.”
The journey to immortality in her lifetime has not been easy for the songstress. “I’ve had to make many sacrifices all my life. When I was a child my father passed away. There were only sacrifices to be made thereafter. Karna hi padta tha (Had to do it). I was the eldest child of a family of daughters with only one brother who was the youngest of the lot. Hridayanath was only 4 when our father died. I had to shoulder all the responsibilities. When a person is young he or she’s tempted to shrug off family responsibilities and move on in life. This didn’t happen with me. At least not as far as I know. I came back and did the right thing by the family. This was God’s will. I had to shoulder familial responsibilities. But whatever I got beyond that, is due to a bit of hard work — yes. But I always feel I’ve got much more than I deserve. Maybe that’s why I have evolved as an artiste,” she says.
Weird rumours about Mangeshkar calling it quits have lately been circulating. We’ve also been hearing that the song in her sister Asha Bhosle’s acting debut Maaee will be her last song.
Says a source close to the Nightingale, “Who decides on Lataji’s behalf when she retires? And isn’t it very strange that these stories coincide with her sister Asha Bhosle making her acting debut in Maaeee?”
However, Mangeshkar refrains from commenting on her sister’s film or the song that she is supposed to sing therein. But she does say about reports of her retirement, “It’s true I am singing less film songs these days. But that’s because film songs do not enthuse me any more. I can’t sing item songs, can I?”