The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Remix catches up with platinum Lata
- Potpourri of politicians and repackaged music at 75th birthday celebration

Mumbai, Sept. 28: Yash Chopra was not there. But remix was, right from the beginning.

Chopra eventually made it to the stage that was paying a tribute to Lata Mangeshkar on her 75th birthday — when someone remembered that his films are still not complete without a Lata song.

An unusual mix of politicians and remixes swung the baton on stage with the singing legend remaining a picture of poise in a white saree.

Deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani led the power parade at the Andheri Sports Complex Stadium, cajoling her to his favourite Lata song.

She did. Two lines from the song Jyoti Kalash Chhalke – and referred to Advani — two years older to her — as “dada”.

Advani was graceful enough to suggest that the occasion was not one of “bhashans” but of “sangeet” and step back from the limelight.

Remix then stepped in. The spectacle kicked off with the remixed rendition of Hawa mein udta jayen mera lal dupatta and Main chali, main chali by Bombay Vikings.

It was a beginning with a ring of irony. Lata is known to have frowned in the past on the remix wave sweeping the entertainment industry.

The Band of Boys — India’s first such group — took over from the Vikings. The subsequent singers — Vasundhara Das, Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar or Shankar Mahadevan, with many to follow – could not keep the audience transfixed. Many left early.

If others grumbled about the quality of music, Lata did not. She listened to the songs, sharing a sofa with her sister Usha and — at one point — turning misty-eyed as emotions overwhelmed her.

When she spoke, she did reminisce about the golden years when remixes had not invaded Hindi music. “If Mohammad Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Kishore-da, Hemant-da were present today, they would have celebrated the occasion in great style,” she said.

Expressing gratitude to all well-wishers, the Nightingale of India said she did not like the idea of celebrating her birthday. Earlier, she had always run away from the city on the occasion, but, this time, she decided to be present because of the enthusiasm of her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar and his son Adinath.

Her presence at the function was a break from her family tradition as well, as the Mangeshkars usually celebrate their birthdays at the stroke of midnight.

She said Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray wanted to be present but could not attend because of ill health. She had called on him yesterday, after telling him that they will not discuss politics.

Not that there was any shortage of politicians. Keeping Advani company were Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, Sharad Pawar and the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav and Raj Thackeray. Shinde handed over a letter to Lata from Sonia Gandhi.

The show had its hiccups, too. Host Sonu Nigam called on stage an industrialist who was not present but Yash Chopra was overlooked. Nigam later apologised profusely and invited him to speak.

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