Music heals. It relaxes and refreshes. It triggers memories of the bygone era. When mood swings to music, we tend to relive a setting, a situation, we were in, years ago.In view of the intrinsic bond between music and emotion we feel elevated or associate ourselves with a happening. Sometimes the line between the two becomes so thin that we are impelled to believe that a particular song or its lines were exclusively written for an incident we once confronted or came across.
If literature is considered the mirror of society, songs sung through the medium of music depict or amplify a custom or tradition or for that matter, an institution or sacrament in a way, easy to remember .A song that leads one person to smile can make another one cry.
All said and done, some songs are for ever. They may thrill or may haunt but they do enable us to walk down memory lane. One is reminded of his infancy, joys and sorrows, unforgettable incidents, a lost relative or friend or the carefree actions of the teen age.
When some positive thoughts concerning song and music came to my mind on a relaxed Sunday morning, I was tempted to postpone the daily exercise. I settled instead, for receiving the musical delight through the ‘idiot box’ .To my surprise, the cable line was temporarily disconnected. The penultimate sentence of the DD News, however, brought me closer to what I had aspired for. I learnt that today was the 79th Birth Anniversary of Lata Mangeshkar, the evergreen melody queen of India.
Soon followed the rare opportunity to watch a specially compiled episode of ‘Rangoli ’on the living legend. The programme commenced with the vivid descriptions of the struggle Lata had to go through at the young age of twelve years when her musician father departed for his heavenly abode. Gradually, not only she tasted success but she was also in a position to support the singing careers of her three younger sisters. While Asha closely followed Lata and became more versatile and likeable, Usha’s overall career graph could not be considered remarkable. Meena, the youngest of the lot, is hardly known.
Like her physical features. the voice of Lata was initially considered thin and uninspiring. Her surprise choice as a playback singer in the movie ( ) nonetheless, turned the tide. Through her simplicity and unassuming nature, she made her presence felt on the horizon of an otherwise nascent Hindi film industry. Music began her way of life. She was determined to play a long innings. Often minor controversies would erupt. But Lata was, perhaps, unaffected, undeterred. Many of the screen sirens, she sang for, may have retired or expired. But the force and commitment of Lata goes on unabated. It remains incomparable. Her singing has the power to take the listeners to a different world.
In addition to highlighting the varied human emotions forcefully from time to time ,she has occasionally rendered her singing talents at the time of war and natural calamities The songs sung by her in the old classics ,such as, Barsat, Madhumati, Aawara, and Mughal-e-Azam, to name a few, and the ‘medieval’ films, namely, Kati Patang, Aandhi and Razia Sultan not only speak of her multi-faceted talent but they have become good reminders of history as also our rapidly transforming social and political norms.
Keeping in view the sheer number of songs sung by her in different languages and her apt depiction of the human feelings and social change through them, it would be difficult to pinpoint a heroine or a music director who has not been associated with this singing sensation at some time or the other. In Lata, the spinster, we have a living example of a disciplined, cultured, sincere and dedicated human being.
She not only inspires or motivates, she personifies simplicity. She guides and encourages the budding singers with equal ease. No wonder, when she appears on the dias and bows before the audience prior to and after every song, she correctly reminds us of our fast diminishing age old ethos. Thus, her fan following simply goes on multiplying. Shall we say, she sets the examples for others to follow?. May the almighty, therefore, give her more strength, courage and perseverance to enthrall the audiences all over the world for many years to come.