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Last Updated 03.10.2022 | 7:41 PM IST



“Music has no language”, Asia’s most accomplished singer Lata Mangeshkar bats for A.R. Rahman

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“Music has no language”, Asia’s most accomplished singer Lata Mangeshkar bats for A.R. Rahman

A.R. Rahman seems to have incensed a section of his audience in London by singing in Tamil at a concert at the Wembley auditorium. Lata Mangeshkar, who has performed at the Wembley for a number of concerts, is distressed to learn about this episode.

“Music has no language”, Asia’s most accomplished singer Lata Mangeshkar bats for A.R. Rahman

“Since when have our concert audiences become so intolerant? In my experience of 70 years, I’ve sung songs in almost every regional language on stage, including Punjabi, Bengali and even Dogri. The audience back then loved hearing songs in every Indian language,” recalls Lataji.

The Melody Queen feels music has no language. “Many of Rahmanji’s most memorable songs are in Tamil. And they’ve later been translated into Hindi. Both the versions are equally popular. There are so many Hindi songs of mine that were originally composed by Hemant Kumar and Salil Chowdhary in Bengali. The Bangla version of Salilda’s ‘Na Jiya Lage Na’ (from the film Anand) and ‘O Sajanaa Barakhaa’ (Parakh) was as much in demand at my live concerts abroad as the Hindi.”

Lataji finds signs of intolerance growing into music. “This is not a healthy development. I’ve sung a beautiful Hindi-Malayalam fusion song ‘Jiya Jale’ composed by Rahmanji in Mani Ratnamji’s Dil Se. The Malayalam portions added so much to the song.”

In her long and illustrious career Lataji has sung in 38 regional Indian and international languages. She even sang in English once. It was the Canadian Country singer Anne Murray’s ballad ‘You Needed Me.’ Says Lataji, “I enjoy singing in every language, though I don’t understand all of them. My only fear while singing in a regional language is that I shouldn’t get the pronunciation wrong. Luckily for me no one has ever complained that I’ve got the accent or pronunciation wrong.”


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