On her 83rd birthday, Lata Mangeshkar gets nostalgic about family, work, love and more...
Do you ever regret not getting married?
Not at all! I've no regrets in life. I never got a chance to get married and I never thought about it. I am happy the way I am, far removed from worldly matters.
Video: Happy Birthday, Lata Mangeshkar
You are considered a powerful woman in the entertainment industry.What does power mean to you?
It means the power to excel in my work and not to misuse it. It's easy to get swayed by the adulation, but I've remained down to earth. Earlier, when I'd be going on concert tours, I'd rehearse for months. Hemantda (Kumar) used to laugh at me for rehearsing six months in advance. But I am obsessed with my work.
Any composer whose songs were tough to master?
Sajjad Hussain saab's songs made me tense. We shared a beautiful rapport, but in the recording room he was relentless. Then there's my brother Hridaynath. His compositions are a special challenge.
On the personal front, you've had to look after your family when you were barely more than a child...
I must correct you here. I am lucky. My sisters Asha, Meena, Usha and my brother Hridaynath made their own careers. I never felt financially burdened by my family. In fact, you wouldn't come across a prouder sister than me.
Do you feel your siblings did not get their due because of your stature?
Today, it's not just me who's recognised. We are are known collectively as the Mangeshkar family. But, yes, to an extent the saying that other trees cannot grow under a banyan tree is applicable to my family.
It is said that Asha Bhosle moved out of your shadows to find her identity?
Yeh bilkul ghalat hai. People say all kinds of things about our relationship. There's no fight between us. We live in adjoining flats. We're constantly in and out of one another's houses. Yes, Asha left home and got married at a young age. She made a big name for herself and I'm very proud of her.
How would you rate Asha as a singer?
She can sing anything. Thank God she didn't adopt my style of singing. If she had, we'd have become competition for one another. Yeh maan-na padega ki woh bahut badi gayika hai.
Do you miss your great colleagues?
Oh yes! I miss Kishoreda (Kumar) and Mukesh Bhaiyya. I also miss Mohammed Rafi saab, Madan bhaiyya, Salil Choudhary, Shankar-Jaikishan and Hemant Kumar. Naushad saab was much more than a music director for me.
There is just one music director in the history of playback composition who never worked with you...
Yes, O P Nayyar. He was a fine music director. But his style didn't suit me. That's what he told me and I agreed. He publicly acknowledged me as the number one singer though.
Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar recently made some spiteful remarks about your 'son' Sachin Tendulkar...
Anyone who speaks ill of someone as great as Sachin is making more a comment on himself than on anyone else.