In her long and illustrious career Lata Mangeshkar has had some major fall-outs, none more noticeable than the one with the moody genius Sachin Dev Burman. Sachinda was a very temperamental genius. His music was his life. And the voice of Lata Mangeshkar the light that lit his creations. They worked in innumerable projects together, creating all-time hits from the 1940s to 1971 when Lataji sang for Sachinda’s farewell score in the Shashi Kapoor-Zeenat Aman starrer Deewangee.
However there is one patch in Burman Dada’s career from 1958- 63 when Lataji completely disappeared from Burmana Dada’s music. Important films of this period with Burman’s music like Lajwanti, Kala Pani,Kagaz Ke Phool, Sujata , Insaan Jaag Utha, Bewaqoof, Miya Biwi Raazi, Manzil , Kala Bazar, Ek Ke Baad Ek, Bambai Ka Babu, Apna Haath Jagannath and Naughty Boy had to make do without the voice that defined Burman Dada’s music.
Lata Mangeshkar, Dilip Kumar and SD Burman
During the period of cold war with his muse Burman dada used Lataji’s sister Asha Bhosle’s voice extensively, giving her career a fillip. But the minute he patched up with the elder sister Burman dada reverted to using Asha Bhosle as his secondary voice. So how did the fallout and the patchup happen? Lataji opened up on the taboo subject with me once: “Burman dada was very fond of me. He made a special kheer which he shared with no one except me. He would say, ‘As long as there’s ‘Lota’—that’s what he called me—I’ve nothing to worry about.’ But then something went wrong .He was quoted in an article saying, "Who made Lata's career? We composers did. We gave her the songs." I don't know if he was misquoted but we didn't talk for three to four years. Till his son Pancham (R D Burman) mediated. When Burman Sr called, I was still very angry and spoke to him very curtly. Then he said, "Lata, tu aaja, tujhe gana hai" and my anger evaporated. We broke the ice with the song Mora gora ang layee le in Bandini and Jogi jab se tu aaye.”
Sachinda’s son Pancham who was in his teens when he turned composer with Chote Nawab went running to Lataji whom he had seen working with his father over many monumental melodies. “Didi, I’m turning into an independent music director and I want you to sing my first song,” R.D told Lataji shyly.
Recalls Lataji, “I immediately agreed. I had seen Pancham(RD’s pet name) running around in shorts during his father’s recordings. And now he was ready to compose is own music! Pancham’s first song was Ghar aaja ghir aayae badra saawariya . When I went to the Burmans’ residence to rehearse for the song R D Burman went running to his father to let him know their special guest. Burman Dada came to meet me, and the ice broke immediately. We were like that only. The great composers got hurt easily. But we were never grudge-holders. Sooner or later the ice melted and the process of creating songs resumed.”