Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dal se taal mila

Dr Bhupen Hazarika and Asha bhosle share their birth date, september 8. asha invited elder sister lata mangeshkar and hazarika to her home on peddar road for a quiet dinner. afsana ahmed was witness to the conversation as they took a stroll down memory lane. the cosy living room of asha bhosle offered an ideal occasion for the rebonding for three luminaries in indian music.

Asha spoke glowingly about dr bhupen hazarika, the dada saheb phalke recipient, while elder sister and bharat ratna recipient, lata mangeshkar smiles away quietly as they take their respective seats. “i was lucky to be born on the same day as the legendary hazarika,” says asha. hazarika acknowledges her comment with a smile addressing lata and asha as “living saraswatis”. the singer-cum-music director completes 75 glorious years today, while ashaji turns 68. “hey, don’t call me ancient like them, abhi bhi mein ek youthful ladki hunh,” says the gregarious asha breaking into peals of laughter.

Lata replies with the same dynamism, “you shouldn’t forget that the modern time still needs us. we were the architects of modernism.” it was a nostalgic trip for the trio, considering the fact that their association dates back to the year 1957. that was the year when lata first lent her melodious voice for junakore raati, an assamses song written by hazarika. “those days were wonderful days. they are firmly etched in memory,” reveals lata, reminiscing of the days gone by.

Hazarika, it is apparent, is fond of the two sisters. and the three have nothing but respect and love for each other. so it is no surprise when hazarika adds, “my fondness for lata grew after this first association with her and our association gained energy thereafter. infact, my respect and liking for her grew so much that i composed many songs especially for her.” for instance, when lata was angry once hazarika wrote ‘o abhimaani bandhu’ (o my proud friend), and mone rekho mone rekho’ (please bear in mind).

Lata and asha sang innumerable songs in different languages under the guidance of hazarika. so close was their friendship that, hazarika today solely credits lata for educating him on maharastrian culture. at that point, however, asha’s presence was insignificant in hazarika’s record. “i never paid any attention to her (asha),” he recalls. ironically, when hazarika scored his first hindi film music for aarop, in 1975, asha lent her voice for the song naine mein darpan hai darpan mein koi. that set the trend for hazarika and asha to work together till darmiyaan. “but he still prefers didi over me,” complains the young-at-heart singer playfully.

The conversation then veers off to different subjects ranging from lata and hazarika’s friendship to their honey sweet voice. hazarika, besides the singing of lata, was also witness to her photography and culinary skills. “i felt like a model everytime lata experimented with her camera, clicking me from various angles. i always compared her with the renowned photographer cycil beaton.”

Hazarika also remembers one incident distinctly when lata tried to cook chicken, the assamses way while they were in kohlapur. “lata took me to her native place in kohlapur and cooked chicken for me. she wanted to prepare it in the assamese style, but it didn’t come out the way she wanted it to. nevertheless it was very delicious,” reveals hazarika. while asha freaks out on pickle and spice, lata loves chilly and ice-cream. “it’s a myth that spice and pickle ruin the voice. my mother asked me to stop singing when one day i refused to eat pickle. since then it’s become my favourite.” says asha.

The trio lament this era of plagiarisation, and loss of originality. like asha puts, “ek tune idhaar se uthao, aur dusre ke saath jodo, and we sing those. the soul is missing. we sing, because we cannot live without singing. but we know that we sing like zombies — motor- skilled, and dead brained.”
Source : The Times of India , 7 Sep 2001

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