At 84, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar has released her first Sufi songs album and has credited her nephew nephew Baijnath, who has composed the numbers and sung a duet in "Ya Rabba" with her, for trying out the genre.
"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have attempted the genre. But Baijnath is so shy... I had to virtually coax him into doing the album," she said.
You do go all out for your family, don't you?
"It isn't as if they ever ask me to do anything for them...My family is too self-respecting to seek favours from anyone, including me. Like I said, I took the initiative for the album because I wanted Baijnatha's efforts to be heard," she added.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Your new album coincides with your father Dinanath Mangeshkar's death anniversary?
A: Yes. We released my new album on my father's death anniversary on April 24 for my label LM Music. It's called "Ya Rabba". For the first time I've sung Sufi devotional songs. They are very much the trend these days, but I've never gone by what the market wants. I've always followed my heart.
Q: So what made you do a Sufi album?
A: My nephew Baijnath. He has composed the numbers and sung a duet in the album with me. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have attempted the genre. But Baijnath is so shy, he doesn't even say anything beyond a hello and a bye to even me. I had to virtually coax him into doing the album.
Q: You do go all out for your family, don't you?
A: It isn't as if they ever ask me to do anything for them. My brother Hridaynath, whom I consider one of the most talented musicians in this country, never asked me to recommend him to my producers. My family is too self-respecting to seek favours from anyone including me. Like I said, I took the initiative for the album because I wanted Baijnatha's efforts to be heard.
Q: You've sung duets with everyone from Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar to Kumar Sanu and Adnan Sami. What was it like singing with your own nephew?
A: When I am standing in front of the microphone, I forget who's singing with me. I become one with the song. And when it's a devotional number I am even more immersed in the words and the feelings. In fact, the reason I launched my label LM Music was to be able to sing devotional music. You'll notice all my albums on the label are spiritual or devotional.
Q: The words have always been very important to your singing.
A: Yes, poet-lyricists like Pradeep and Bharat Vyas would write their lyrics with the tune. Music is an integral part of poetry.
Q: You've sung in Punjabi in your new album?
A: Yes. But it isn't the first time. I've sung in Punjabi many times in the past. In fact I've sung in nearly every Indian language and also in English. Let's see how my efforts are liked this time. Nowadays music hardly sells off the shelf. It's all on the internet or the I Pod. LM Music has tied up with Saregama to ensure my new album reaches out as far far and wide as possible.
Q: You recorded your new album "Ya Rabba" at your own studio?
A: Yes, when we launched our label we also opened our own recording studio in Andheri(Mumbai). It's a very small.
Q: After more than 65 years of singing you continue to be our national treasure. What summits remain for you to conquer?
A: (Laughs) It's difficult to put fullstops to an artiste's goals and achievements. Speaking for myself as a singer, new destinations have appeared during the journey of life. One needs an incentive to keep moving forward. The day an artiste feels she has done it all she's finished. Whether it's a writer, actor or a star he or she should never feel I've nothing more to achieve.