Lata Mangeshkar Bats for AR Rahman, “Music Has No Language”

AR Rahman seems to have incensed a section of his audience in London by singing some of his songs in Tamil at a recent concert at the Wembley auditorium.

Lata Mangeshkar, who has performed at the Wembley for a number of concerts, is distressed to hear of this.

Lata MangeshkarSince when have our concert audiences become so intolerant. In my experience of 70 years, I’ve sung songs in almost every regional language on stage , including Punjabi, Bengali and even Dogri. The audience back then loved hearing songs in every Indian language.

The Melody Queen feels music has no language. “Many of Rahmanji’s most memorable songs are in Tamil. And they’ve later been translated into Hindi . Both the versions are equally popular. There are so many Hindi songs of mine that were originally composed by Hemant Kumar and Salil Chowdhary in Bengali. The Bangla version of Salilda’s Na Jiya Laage Na... (from the film Anand) and O Sajna Barkha Bahaar Aaye (Parakh) was as much in demand at my live concerts abroad as the Hindi version.”

Lataji finds signs of intolerance growing into music. “This is not a healthy development. I’ve sung a beautiful Hindi-Malayalam fusion song Jiya Jale composed by Rahmanji in Mani Ratnamji’s Dil Se. The Malayalam portions added so much to the song.”

In her long and illustrious career Lataji has sung in 38 regional Indian and international languages. She even sang in English once in the Canadian Country singer Anne Murray’s ballad ‘You Needed Me.’

Says Lataji, “I enjoy singing in every language, though I don’t understand all of them. My only fear while singing in a regional language is that I shouldn’t get the pronunciation wrong. Luckily for me no one has ever complained that I’ve got the accent or pronunciation wrong.”

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