I don’t listen to my own songs: Lata Mangeshkar

In a candid interview with Subhash K. Jha she talks about her career, the misunderstandings and more

Q What is the greatest gift you’ve received in your life?
The love that I’ve received from the my well-wishers and fans. Woh pyaar nahin hota toh na jaane hum kahaan hote (if it wasn’t for that love I don’t know where I would be)

Q Not a day passes when we don’t marvel at your voice. What about you?
You mean do I marvel at my own voice? Of course not! If I did I’d probably have gotten smug and self-satisfied. I don’t even listen to my own songs. My father’s voice was beautiful. The little time that I got to be with him — he passed away when I was 5 — I learnt so much from him.

Q You don’t listen to your songs?
I try not to. But when I do hear a song of mine I feel I could’ve done much better. When I recorded songs I’d rush out of the recording. This was a matter of great annoyance to many of the music directors. But I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t bear to hear myself.

Q Why have you always said no to an autobiography?
I don’t see the need to reveal every detail about my life. People go away with their written words hurting a lot of individuals and families.

Q So are we to presume there are many unrevealed secrets in your life?
Every human being has areas in his or her life that is to kept away from the everyone.

Q So many of your colleagues are no more. Which ones do you miss the most?
All of them. I’ve learnt so much from so many people. The one name that must mention is poet lyricist Pandit Narendra Sharma. He was a father-figure to me. He taught me self-restrain, when I was young I had a violent temper. Then there was my Baba in Kolhapur who used to call me Gyaneshwar and said I had so much to learn. My mother was also a great source of inspiration.

Q What was the most valuable lesson you learnt in life from your mother?
To value those who are down and out. My parents taught me to always help the needy. We saw very hard days. In our home there were free meals for every guest. But when we fell on hard times there was no food for the family. There were days when my siblings and I didn’t eat the entire day. I learnt to share what I had with others.
Believe me the joy you feel in giving is much greater than the joy one feels in receiving.

Q You’ve also helped many singers who turned around and accused you of practicing a monopoly?
I only asked for work in the beginning of my career. Once I was established I left work for other singers. They later turned around to abuse me.

Q Anuradha Paudwal, for example?
I don’t want to name anyone. But even when I was struggling, I never took away anyone’s work. I remember I was rehearsing for a song with Bappi Lahiri. We were ready to record. Kavita Krishnamurthy had sung the scratch recording. When I heard the number I refused to re-record. I told Bappi to keep Kavita’s version.

Q Your advice to younger singers?
They must learn Hindustani classical music and they must not get carried way by overnight success. Humility is the key to longevity.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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