TM Krishna, Chinmayi, Sujatha and other south singers pay tribute to Lata Mangeshkar

Musicians across generations share fond memories about the veteran singer and what her songs mean to them.
Late playback singer Lata Maneshkar
Late playback singer Lata Maneshkar
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Describing late singer Lata Mangeshkar’s contribution to music as timeless, popular playback singer Sujatha, who has sung across languages including Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Hindi, told TNM, “Even though we are not personally connected, all singers have a musical relationship with Lata ji. She has left a treasure trove for many generations to come. As long as music exists, so will Lata ji’s singing. She might have left but her music is still present with us.” Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar passed away on Sunday, February 6 in Mumbai.

Playback singer KS Chithra has performed Lata Mangeshkar’s songs as a tribute to her on multiple occasions, including the latter’s 92nd birthday. Fans often heap praise on singer Chithra for the striking similarities between their songs. Speaking to Mathrubhumi News, Chithra recounted how her husband had sent an album of Lata Mangeshkar’s songs sung by Chithra to her and the older singer had called to appreciate the gesture. 

Revisiting her last interaction with Lata Mangeshkar, Chithra said that the veteran singer had called to condole the loss of her daughter. Chithra said that the late singer had urged her to muster the strength to deal with the tragic loss.

Watch KS Chithra’s rendition of ‘Raina Beeti Jaye’:

MG Sreekumar, who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema, spoke to Asianet News about his experience of working with India’s nightingale. Sreekumar fondly reminisced that singing a few lines of the song ‘Jiya Jale’ with Lata for the film Dil Se, was nothing short of a national award to him. He also added that he has never heard a more mesmerising voice. "She's the nightingale of the whole world, not just India," he said. 

Watch ‘Jiya Jale’ from Dil Se:

Well-known playback singer Chinmayi said, “I think she’s older than the formation of this country. She was 92, we’re (India) barely 74. She’s been around before Independence, she’s seen the country transition. She’s been singing for so long. Today, we’re celebrating her as a legendary singer. Once upon a time, her voice was rejected for supposedly being ‘too thin and shrill’.” Recalling an interaction with the late singer, Chinmayi added, “I had a brief meeting with her at the time of recording for Rang De Basanti. There’s a photograph of us in which she is clicking a picture of Rahman sir. She was an avid photographer, I think that was her hobby. She even apparently had an enviable collection of cameras including some of the latest models of the time. Not too many people seem to remember this of her now. Our meeting was very formal, but it was nice.” Regarding the passing away of a singer of Lata Mangeshakar’s calibre, Chinmayi said, “Artists are always immortal, is what I believe. She is unmatched. There will never be a time when her songs aren’t sung.” 

Renowned Carnatic music singer TM Krishna told TNM, “Often, designs, colour palettes, dances and musical forms represent a country. It is also true that some voices become the voice of the land. In India, there were only two such voices, MS Subbulakshmi and Lata Mangeshkar. In the passing of Lata ji we are now bereft of both.” Krishna also noted that, “Beyond her unmatched musical mastery, it was her emotive expanse that created that unbreakable bond between us and her. For six decades, beyond generational shifts, spatial changes, technological advancements and socio-cultural transformations she remained our aural anchor. She will continue to represent us as individuals and collectives, her voice uninterrupted by the passing of time.”

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