Lata Mangeshkar is very happy that a film on the life of Sachin Tendulkar is being released this week. “Sachin’s story is inspiring. His dreams as a middle-class boy in Maharashtra came true. His success represents the realisation of the collective dreams of all aspiring young people. His life teaches the young to aspire to greatness without knowing what greatness is. His story had to be filmed,” says Lata.
Reminiscing about her long association with Sachin Tendulkar, Lata says, “I first saw him play at Sharjah. I remember a sandstorm hit the stadium. But Sachin stood his ground. He sat there with his cricket togs on, waiting for the storm to pass. I saw the determination to excel that I always admire. I remember a some years ago on Sachin’s birthday, I was invited to his friend Raj Thackeray’s home to meet him. I had taken a figurine of Sai Baba because I had got to know Sachin is a Sai bhakt.”
A huge cricket fan, Lata’s love for the game goes back to her childhood. “My father, Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a cricket fan. I guess I inherited his love for the game. I remember I watched my first live cricket match at the Brabourne Stadium when I was 15. I sat in the cheapest stalls with a family friend. Later, many of the cricketers like Veenu Mankad, Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar became family friends. They would come home for meals. I remember once just before a big match, I had invited the Indian cricket team home. I had made gajar ka halwa for them. After they won the match, Dilip Vengsarkar came to my building on Peddar Road and shouted up to my flat that the gajar ka halwa had worked.”