She is the undisputed empress of all things melodious and beautiful in our universe. Lata Mangeshkar sings, the others attempt to sing. I don’t say this. A great music composer of the past, Sajjad Hussain, said it.
And yet once, just once, Lataji ended up dubbing a song sung earlier in another voice. The song was Kuch na kaho from Vinod Chopra’s 1994 romantic epic 1942: A Love Story. Lataji only re-did the song because R D Burman had personally asked her to sing the 1942 number before his untimely death.
Speaking about the re-recording Lataji told me, “I had the privilege of singing in his last film as a composer 1942: A Love Story. He sent me a message to sing. But then he passed away. I sang his song after he was gone. Sadly I couldn’t sing Kuch Na Kaho during his lifetime. When I recorded it without Pancham I felt terrible. I wish he was there when I recorded the song. Such is life. Ironically after a long period of hardships 1942 was a success for Pancham.”
Apparently Vinod Chopra couldn’t get over the fact that the Nightingale was singing for him. In the absence of the much-missed music composer Chopra, during the recording, kept asking for her to do re-takes. Lataji finally said, “No. I think the song is fine.”
And she walked out. Unfortunately Kavita Krishnamurthy decided to create a stink about being eased out of the song.
“I know Lataji is the goddess. But I feel I sang it well,” she cribbed to me, forgetting that she got her first major break in playback singing because of Lataji.
The song Tumse Milkar Na Jaane Kyon in the film Pyar Jhukta Nahin was recorded in Kavita’s voice as Lataji was unavailable. As per the norm, the song came to Lataji for the final recording. Lataji heard the number as rendered by Kavita and said, “Kavita has done a fine job. No need for me to re-do the number.”