Well-known playback singer Vani Jairam, shot to fame with her searing rendition of Bole re papihara in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi, seemed upset and distraught with Lata Mangeshkar’s death.
Speaking to The Federal, Vani Jairam said, “I am very upset about her death. I have grown up listening to Lataji’s beautiful songs and she was a huge inspiration to many singers like me. Her going away is a huge, huge loss to the entire world of music. Lataji is greatly admired not just all over India but is popular all over the world. There can never be another Lata Mangeshkar, she was a true legend.”
For a Lata fan, it is difficult to pick a favourite from the huge repertoire of songs that she has sung – 30,000 to be precise. But Vani Jairam has her favourites.
“I loved ‘O Sajana Barkha Bahar Aayee’ from Parakh (1960) and the classic ‘Jab Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya’ in Mughal-E-Azam. Every song was a gem, whatever she sung. I remember them all,” she said. The singer fondly remembers singing all the songs of Lata during her college functions at Queen Mary’s College in Madras.
In her facebook page, Vani Jairam wrote in 2018, “I was a fanatic lover of Hindi Film Music much to the disappointment of my mother who had trained me to be a Carnatic Classical Musician. I was hooked on to the radio in all my free time and used to observe all the nuances of singing and pronunciation from the songs of Lataji. I always dreamt of singing in Bombay Films and get Lataji’s blessings. It happened thanks to Music Director Jaidevji who invited me to attend a Recording of Lataji and get her blessings.”
She recalls, “I remember I went to a recording studio to listen to her at Jaydevji’s recording. Lataji was singing for the movie Prem Parbat. (there’s a beautiful number in the film, ‘Yeh Dil Aur Unki Nigahon Ke Saye’).”
“I listened to her recording, touched her feet and took her blessings. Lataji was so nice to me and invited me to visit her home. When I visited her home she blessed me and gave me a Banarasi silk sari at her Mumbai Peddar Road residence. I even attended a meeting in Lataji’s house when all the top playback singers were present. Not a day goes by for me without listening to her songs. The day starts with her song for me, she has given us wonderful melodies,” she said.
“I am proud that I have lived in the same time as of Lataji and had the rare privilege of interacting with her on so many occasions,” she said. According to Jairam, Lataji had sung many songs emoting a wide range of emotions and has sung for many generations of actors starting from Meena Kumari to Karishma Kapoor.
“It is very difficult to have a career going so strong for so many years until you are highly disciplined, you cannot achieve a thing like that. She was devoted to her art and hard working,” she pointed out.
Despite unsubstantiated rumours of the Bhonsle sisters having sabotaged her Bollywood career, Jairam said on how Lata treated her, “Lataji was one of a kind. There can be only one Lata,” she said, adding that Lata once even told a BBC interviewer that she had liked Vani’s voice very much.