Archive for February, 2022

Lata Mangeshkar

This is the name that is synonymous with thousands of hit songs from Bollywood over the past several decades. A name that has worked with singers all the way from KL Saigal in the distant past to trend setters such as AR Rahman. A voice against which every single Bollywood voice would be compared. Simply put, you cannot talk about Bollywood music without a mention of Lata Mangeshkar.


An incredible career spanning several decades.

The Bhairavi in Saavro (Film Anuradha tuned brilliantly by Maestro Ravishankar) to valaiosai in 1988 to Khamoshiyaan in the 2000s required Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, one as a young 20 year old and another as a septugenarian. And the nightingale delivered.

One could go on and on about the songs she sang or the fabled legends of her arriving jet lagged from an international trip, walking into a studio in Bombay to record a flawless rendition of Satyam Shivam Sundaram to the accompaniment of a 100 piece orchestra that stood in reverence and watched her sing and leave.

What strikes me about her voice is the freshness that hits you every time you listen to O Sajna or Aayega or ‘Haai re woh‘ ‘man mohana – or the precision and purity of the rendition of songs such as ‘lag ja galeornaina barse or ‘mera saaya’ornanda nandanaorkarm ki gati‘, or the energy in Guide‘, or the spirit of devotion in this version of the Hanuman Chalisa or the sweetness in simple songs such as ‘yaadon ki baaraat or the transcendental serenity in this simple household Ganesha aarti jaideva (Marathi) or the deshbhakti in this scintillating rendition of  vandemataram or this stunning jayostute (penned by Svatantraveer Savarkar) or Narsinh Mehta’s vaishnao-janto (a hymn dear to Gandhiji).

The blessed singer had the ability to make songs sound deceptively simple, when in reality they actually needed a sensitive voice and a superior sense of musicianship that had probably been seasoned over several lives!

Probably the most impactful recording of hers that moves me every single time is this recording of two chapters of the Bhagwad Gita as tuned by her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar. The beauty with which short passages of ragas are performed, render these precious recordings as the pramana – प्रमाण (the absolute source of reference) that define the ragas, yardsticks against which renditions by other artists would need to measure up to!

We are grateful to be surrounded by her recordings ; one can just search for her voice on Youtube and keep playing them for eternity and still not get tired.

Our gratitude to her ‘MasterClasses’ and  namaskarams to that voice eternal.

Kanniks Kannikeswaran

February 6, 2022 at 9:12 am Leave a comment