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Lata Mangeshkar & Asha Bhosle: For being the Voices of India

'You cannot differentiate between elixirs'

August 20, 2008

Singers Shaan and Kailash Kher on the two institutions of film music.

Shaan, on Lata Mangeshkar: Lataji is an institution in herself. I am truly honoured to speak about her.

I have been seeing her from my childhood when she used to record with my father (composer Manas Mukherjee). If I have to think of Goddess Saraswati, I get the picture of Lataji. She not only has a good voice but also is a very sweet person with purity and beauty.

Every song of her signifies her qualities. Many countries know about India only because of her. She is a cultural ambassador of India. She is an icon to most singers and the nightingale of India. She has introduced many singers. She has not only inspired and motivated budding singers but also encouraged the layman to listen to music.

I first saw Lataji and hers sisters Meenaji and Ushaji at a recording studio where she had come to record a Bengali song for an album with my father. My sister Sagarika and I (we were very young) were jumping on a sofa because we were very excited and nervous on seeing her. We suddenly stopped and took her blessings. She spoke very mildly to us and I don't have any words to describe her.

She is an absolutely great person. I have not been lucky enough because I have not got an opportunity to record any song with her. I can't even dream of singing with a person like her. She is like a God.

India, 61: The icons that make India

Kailash Kher on Asha Bhosle

Talking about Ashaji's singing ability will be like praising the beauty of the rising sun again and again. She has a wonderful voice and is a very good singer undoubtedly. I would like to share a personal experience I had with her.

We had all gone for a world tour to perform and having Ashaji with us was a pleasure. The whole journey was so tiring that even the young singers got very exhausted. But I must say, Ashaji was so energetic that nobody could make out if she was tired. She was a great inspiration for us.

I only will be more than happy and fortunate to get a chance to work with her. Since my music and singing is unique, Sufi as you call it, it would be a dream come true if Ashaji too sang Sufi songs.

You cannot differentiate between elixirs. All her songs are great and it would be very unfair to isolate a particular song as my favourite. All her songs have the emotions and expressions that you can hear in all kinds of moods and situations. She has a magic in her voice. Especially in the song Piya Tu Ab To Aaja.

In today's world it is very difficult to retain your original voice and still make an impression as a lot of songs are being remixed where the expression gets lost. But she has such a unique voice that you can hear just like that.

There is no comparison to Ashaji at all. She has made a benchmark for herself which is difficult to reach. No doubt that today's singers are excellent but nobody can be compared with Ashaji.

Shaan spoke to Rajul Hegde and Kailash Kher, to Nithya Ramani. Video: Sanjay Sawant. Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

Also read: Lata Mangeshkar | Asha Bhosle

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