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Lata Mangeshkar, Mehdi Hassan's duet

September 27, 2010 15:46 IST

The long awaited duet between singing legend Lata Mangeshkar and 'Shehanshah-e-Ghazal' Mehdi Hassan will soon be a reality with the launch Tera milna next month.

It will be Hassan and Lata's first and last duet together. Lata, who once called Hassan's voice the "voice of God", says the ghazal maestro always wanted to duet with her but had quit singing because of his prolonged illness.

"Mehdi Saab always wanted to sing with me. In fact he sent me 2-3 recorded songs years back but he had to quit singing due to his prolonged illness. Tera milna is one of them. I recorded my version here in Mumbai and Mehdi Saab's version was recorded in Pakistan a year back. We have made a duet compiling the two versions," Lata, who turns 81 on Tuesday (September 27), told PTI in an interview.

The Bharat Ratna awardee said, "We wanted to launch this song long back but there were some delays. Now the song is ready and the HMV is going to launch it in October. I am very happy for Hassan Saab whose long cherished dream has finally come true."

This was the exceptional case where Lata agreed to record separately. Otherwise her preference has always been to record with the co-singer and music director.

"Earlier, we used to record songs with other singers and music directors. I miss the era of singing with Mukeshji, Rafi saab or Kishoreda. We used to practice a lot and it used to be a team effort. But now singers record their version separately which I don't find interesting," said Lata. "Recently I sang Hanuman Chalisa and Sai Bhajan with Usha (Mangeshkar) and we recorded it together. It was a wonderful experience after many years."

When asked about her reluctance to playback singing, she said the standard of Bollywood songs has deteriorated over the years. "I don't think the present songs are of those standards. They lack variety. Earlier, we used to have actress oriented songs plus solo songs but now you have only duets and so called item songs. I don't like them," said Lata, who has recorded songs for over a thousand Bollywood movies and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages.

Lata recently rendered her voice for Nikhil Kamath's I Dunno Why and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's much awaited Guzaarish.
The Dada Saheb Phalke awardee is not only very selective about her Bollywood project but she is also firm not to be a part of reality shows. "Neither do I want to be a part of musical reality shows nor do I want to do stage shows anymore. I have done many," she said.

The veteran singer is satisfied with her seven decade long musical journey and has no unfulfilled dream left. "I am very satisfied. Can't ask for more. I never thought of achieving so much in my life. I don't dream so there is no question of unfulfilled dreams at all."

When asked about her birthday plans, Lata said that she does not celebrate the day. "I don't celebrate my birthday. I have already performed the Puja and September 28 is just like any other day for me," she said.

Mona Parthsarathi in New Delhi
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