Her Legacy Survives! 

Written by on in Mumbai

Lata Mangeshkar (1929-2022)

Namaste, Dear Music Lover,

How can I begin this post in order to best honor the memory of the legendary Lata Ma’am?

Only one other musical genius of Hindustan it seems deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Lata Ji: sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, whose 82-year career is seemingly one that may never be matched.

Lata Ji recorded songs for seven decades—an amazing accomplishment in itself. No one can really wrap their minds fully around the breadth and scope of Lata Mangeshkar’s film music output. As a singer doing such work myself for so far only going on my second decade, I’m humbled by her legacy, and deeply moved at her leaving this mortal coil after giving so much to the Bollywood film industry for so many decades! A person of her status really seems to be immortal…

While mortality is one aspect of every human life, some giants of our society and culture seem to have infinitely long lives (naturally, Tagore comes to mind).

There is one upside to the fact of a great artist’s passing: their recorded works will live on to enrich the lives of future generations. Certainty Lata Ma’am’s output represents a varied and extensive catalog of various roles & genres.

This soon after her passing, I simply cannot verbalise how profoundly she has impacted not only film music but song in India in general. Venerations and tributes can honor her legacy and singers currently working in films certainly must at least acknowledge her greatness. However doing justice to a legend at some point becomes perhaps less about imitating them and more about not encroaching in “their lane” (as phrased in modern parlance).

If I can have a viable playback career even half as long and with a few evergreen classics in the mold of our dear Lata Ji, I’ll feel that my efforts have succeeded.

Lata’s ability to tailor her singing to fit the actress’squalities (as well as music directors’ briefs to a T) are hallmarks of her God-given gifts and adept dedication to doing her best singing both for her own credit and to serve the cinematic storytelling in which her singing was so often featured, much like the work of her sister, Asha Ma’am, to whom I offer my sincere, heartfelt condolences and deep gratitude for friendship that I treasure.

It’s far too soon to try to thoroughly reflect upon the fullness of such a brilliant, long-lived career and well-lived life. I’m no music critic per se, anyhow. I do have opinions… and occasionally I will share some of them. Not right now. Her passing was too recent, and it will take time for everyone to process the grief in order to reflect upon the multiple happy aspects (and so many great and memorable movie songs).

However at this time, I feel most inspired to simply express my gratitude to the spirit of Lata Ji, our treasured “voice of India” for so many years (and so well representing the many unique film roles she supported on magnetic tape, celluloid/film, and even digital media).

Lata Ma’am will be missed by countless millions! But as noted above, Lata’s spirit and legacy go on—and on!!

Namaste,

🎵 AM 🎵

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