By: Shubham Ghosh
It’s been a year since Lata Manageshkar left the world, but her memories and voice continue to give solace to family members, who are yet to come to terms with the singing legend’s death.
Mangeshkar, who passed away at the age of 92 on February 6 last year, was an “incredibly enormous force”, niece Rachana Shah told PTI.
“We are still unable to accept that she is no longer with us. It’s been one year and it seems all unreal and unbelievable. She was an incredibly enormous force and that can never diminish. We rather don’t want to come to terms with it (her death).
“Her voice lingers on throughout the day, her memories are there. Every time my phone rings, I feel ‘Is it Didi calling me?'” she told PTI.
Mangeshkar’s younger sister Usha Mangeshkar said the family is still trying to come to terms with the music icon’s demise. “People are just coming home in her memory, remembering her. We are very sad even today. It’s all beyond sadness,” Usha Mangeshkar told PTI.
Rachana remembers Mangeshkar as a spiritual person.
“(She was) a believer in God, she would do puja, her room was filled with the fragrance of incense,” she recalled. She also remembers melody queen, as Mangeshkar was known among her fans, as an excellent cook. “All these are small, little, everyday things that we miss dearly,” she said, adding, the singer made everyone feel special.
“When you sat with her, you were at peace. She reflected that peace. She was a comfort for her family, friends, the staff and her numerous listeners. There was divinity in her voice,” she said.
“She never lost the connection till the last moment. Everybody was special, she had a large heart and she would give love to everyone,” she added.
On her first death anniversary, Mangeshkar was also remembered by the Indian film and music industry. Music composer Vishal Dadlani, veteran ghazal singers Pankaj Udhas and Anup Jalota led the tributes. “The voice of the universe, returned to the universe a year ago. #LataMangeshkar ji,” Dadlani tweeted.
It has been a year since you left us, said Udhas. “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed and very dear. A year without you has felt like an eternity. Missing you always,” the singer wrote on Twitter.
Terming Mangeshkar ‘Swar Kokila’, Jalota said the late music icon “raised the honor of India and Hindi music worldwide with her melodious voice”.
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar wrote, “Miss you @mangeshkarlata Didi #ImmortalLataDidi.” At the Jaipur Literature Festival last month, veteran poet-lyricist Gulzar remembered Mangeshkar as someone who became a part of India’s everyday culture and civilisation. Gulzar also gave Mangeshkar one of the most memorable songs of her career that came to be associated with her voice in Kinaara’s “Meri awaaz hi pehchan hai”.
“You would hear her voice in the ‘bhajans’ first thing in the morning as you’d wake up. If there was a wedding ritual or festivals like Holi and Raksha Bandhan, there was a Lata ji song. She became a part of our everyday life without letting us know.
“This is a big achievement that is associated with this name and voice. This has never happened with any singer,” Gulzar, who first collaborated with Mangeshkar on the song “Mora Gora Ang Layle” from 1963’s “Bandini”, which also marked his debut as a lyricist.
Considered one of the greatest playback singers in Indian cinema, Mangeshkar in her over a period of seven decades sang unforgettable songs, including “Lag Jaa Gale”, “Mohe Panghat Pe”, “Chalte Chalte”, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, “Ajeeb Daastaan Hai”, “Hothon mein aisi baat”, “Pyar kiya to darna kya”, “Neela aasman so gaya”, and “Pani Pani Re”.
Mangeshkar received several film awards and honours like Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Dada Saheb Phalke Award, and multiple National Film Awards. She received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 2001.