At 82, Lata Mangeshkar remains the undisputed queen of all she sur-weighs. And now comes the news that she is all set to record the indomitable lines of a number of Hindi poets, including Harivanshrai Bachchan in her invincible voice.
Apparently, the idea came to the Nightingale after surveying the current musical scene. Says a source close to Mangeshkar, “Didi’s voice is in amazing form these days. She sounds in peak form. She has seldom felt more enthused in recent years. She wants to do something special. Film lyrics and compositions don’t inspire her any more, so she decided to sift through the works of eminent Hindi poets to sing their lines. Among the poets she has zeroed in on are Mathailisharan Gupt and Harivanshrai Bachchan. Many more unsung poets would figure in her album which would be the ultimate homage to Hindi poets.”
Shedding light on her ambitious project, Lataji says, “I’ve been toying with this idea for many years now. I feel we’ve celebrated Urdu poetry extensively in song form. Even in films where I’ve sung exquisite Urdu lines by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and many more. But I feel there’s a lacuna when comes to Hindi poets in song form. I want to sing Hindi lines by poets who wrote great poetry but in a common man’s language. Mathilisharan Gupta and Harivanshrai Bachchan are on my list.”
The list of Hindi poets who would feature in her historic album is still be drawn. The criteria for selection is eminence, accessibility and purity of language.
Lataji has more or less made up her mind to steer away from film songs. She says cautiously, “I can’t sing ‘Sheila Ki Jawaani‘. The film songs today do not inspire me any longer. I think it’s time I did all the singing that I have always wanted to, but never had the time to. My project on Hindi poets gives me a chance to address an aspect of my singing that I’ve desired to for a long time.”
Recently, Lataji sang a song in Nepali. She holds the enviable record of having sung in nearly every Indian language.
Says Lataji, “I’ve sung in all the Indian languages except Haryanvi. Now there’s only one unfulfilled dream. If I could go back to my riyaaz and rediscover my classical roots, my father would be very happy wherever he is.”