As tributes continue to pour in for the late, the great Lata Mangeshkar, Sharmila Tagore reminisces about the songs which made the late singer an iconic figure in Indian cultural life: “In the 1950s and 60s, Lataji was singing a range of wonderful songs….She sang many raga-based songs for Naushad sahab, sentimental hits for Salil Chowdhury, and versatile songs for the commanding duo of Shankar-Jaikishanji…Lataji’s eerie and haunting rendition of ‘Ghumnam hai koi’ (Gumnaam, 1965) was influenced by ‘Somewhere my love’ from Dr Zhivago (1965) and the Hawaiian-themed number ‘Ajeeb dastan hai yeh’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, 1960) was inspired by Jim Reeves’ ‘My Lips Are Sealed’.
Shankar-Jaikishan got the best out of Manna De. Lataji proved to be a formidable match with him. Some of Lataji’s best music is with De – ‘Pyaar hua ikraar hua’ (Shree 420, 1955), ‘Chad gaya papi bichua’ (Madhumati, 1958) and ‘Dil ki girah khol do’ (Raat Aur Din, 1967), are just some of the many gems they gifted us. During this period, Lataji’s rebellious ‘Pyaar kiya toh darna kya’ (Mughal-e-azam, 1960) also achieved cult status…
On 26th January, 1963 legends from the film industry like Yusuf sahab, Raj Kapoor sahab, Shankar-Jaikishanji, Madan Mohanji and Hemant Kumarji, to name a few, flew down to Delhi to see Lataji perform the music miracle ‘Ae mere watan ke logo’ at the Ramlila Maidan….We are well aware of the magic that followed….”

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