Like every year Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar, who turns 83 tomorrow, plans to keep her birthday a simple and quiet affair, away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.
The legend, who ruled the golden period of Indian cinema music for almost seven decades, says she is not singing much these days as she does not relate to modern music.
Lataji, whose voice has been equated to the ‘Voice of God’, however, has no regrets about the changes in the music scene and finds it “inevitable”.
“Change is inevitable in this world. The era between 1947 to 1995 in film industry was different. I was part of this era. I don’t relate to the present era and this is natural. I have nothing against it. Everything has changed, the films, the actors and the music,” Lataji told PTI in an interview, ahead of her 83rd birthday.
Asked about her plans for birthday, the icon said, “I don’t believe in birthday celebrations. Like every year, I will be out of the town. I will leave Mumbai a day before my birthday.”
The Bharat Ratna awardee has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung in over 36 regional and foreign languages. Though the singing has become less over the years, Lataji has no plans to retire.
“I still sing but only those songs that I like. The only difference is that I will not sing something that I don’t like.”
A lot has changed in the film industry over the years but there are people Lataji considers close to her like Yash Chopra and Amitabh Bachchan.
Lataji says she was upset over reports that she is not singing in Yash Chopra’s upcoming film Jab Tak Hai Jaan because they don’t share the same bond.
“I was very angry when someone asked me why I was not singing in Yashji’s next. Some people also said that we don’t share the same bonding. It is not true. He is my brother. We do not discuss songs, our relation is not professional.”
Lataji’s voice has been an important part of Yash Chopra’s past hits like Daag, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni, Lamhe and Veer-Zaara.
Apart from Mr Chopra , Amitabh Bachchan is another person from the film fraternity for whom she has high regards.
“There were many people close to me like Madan bhaiya (Madan Mohan), Shankar-Jaikishan, Majrooh (Sultanpuri) saab and Shailendra. They all are gone.
“Apart from Yashji, I have a lot of respect for Amitabh Bachchan. I want to work on Hindi poetry and will seek his advice,” said Lataji, who is planning to sing some of the great work of Hindi poets, including Maithili Sharan Gupt and Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
Having done many non-film albums, the singer regrets that they are not so popular today because of rampant piracy.
“It is unfortunate that music companies are suffering because of internet. Everything today is available on the net hence people don’t buy records. Music companies are suffering and they are unable to pay royalties to the artistes. It is really sad,” she said.
When asked about her advice to current crop of singers, Lataji said that they don’t need it.
“What can I tell them?. All are singing well and singing regularly. Sunidhi, Shreya, Sonu, KK, they all are good.”
Her fans believe that her voice is gift of God and Lata too credits God’s blessings and hard work behind it.
“I too feel that my voice is God’s gift. I worked hard to do good work. My fans gave me lot of love and respect and continue to do so. It is because of God’s grace and my fans’ love that I have reached here. I am thankful to everyone.”