The ‘voice of the nation’, India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar turns 91 years old, and what better way to celebrate than a look back at her greatest hits?
Of course, Indian Link Radio likes a twist, so why not take a look at the singer’s best tracks that aren’t in Hindi? After all, in her eight-decade long career, Lata ji has sang in almost 40 Indian languages.
Here are station manager RJ Ekta’s favourite selections. How many of these can you name?
“Bellane Belagaayithu” (Kannada)
From the soundtrack of the 1967 Kannada historical film Krantiveera Sangolli Raayanna, this track is a special one. Lata ji sings in a style reminiscent of Uttar Karnataka’s way of speaking Kannada. Also, this is the only Kannada film for which all three Mangeshkar sisters – Lata, Asha, and Usha – sang.
“Tella Cheeraku” (Telegu)
Performed by Lata ji and the late SP Balasubrahmanyam for the 1988 action film Aakhari Poratam, this track (and all the film’s music) was composed by veteran Ilaiyaraaja. In fact, all of the movie’s songs went on to become blockbusters hits.
“Bhala Sipahiya” (Dogri)
A song about a woman urging her Dogra soldier to return home to her, “Bhala sipahiya” is immensely popular in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh. Supposedly, it can be heard often from the soldiers’ barracks in these parts. This track can be found in the album Dogra Geet.
“Jun mato ma mero” (Nepali)
This track can be found in the 1966 Nepali film Maitighar which also included Mala Sinha as the lead actress. Composed by Jaidev Varma, “Bhala Shapaia” is noteworthy for being written by none other than Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the then King of Nepal.
“Mehandi Te Vavi Malave Garbo” (Gujarati)
This track is one amongst a handful of songs to feature Lata ji’s voice in the 1960 film Mehndi Rang Lagyo. Many Gujaratis might recognise it from the Navratri season when this excellent track (that also features Pinakin Shah and Avinash Vyas) plays every year!
Happy birthday to the multilingual, talented ‘daughter of the nation’, Lata ji!