Mohammed Rafi’s son strongly refutes veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar’s story about his father’s apology letter to her, and threatens to take legal action against her
Shahid Rafi is an angry man. His fury is directed at Lata Mangeshkar, who recently claimed that Shahid’s father Mohammed Rafi wrote her a letter of apology, making up with her after a fight the two singers had many years ago. Rafi and Lata refused to work with each other after that skirmish, until – Lata claims – he wrote a letter to her saying sorry. But Shahid insists that nothing like that ever happened. He says, “From 1961-67, my father was a star playback singer. All top heroes wanted him to sing for them. So there is no question of my father apologising to Lata Mangeshkar. My dad has no competition. It was Lata who was insecure. I will consult my lawyers and take legal action in eight to 10 days.”
But he adds that if Lata sends him an apology, he will hold off on speaking to lawyers about the matter. “If she can produce the letter that my father wrote to her, I will issue a written apology.”
However, there is also some hurt that colours his words. “Why has she raised the topic after 15 years, when there is nobody to defend either Rafi saab or Jaikishen saab (of music director duo Shankar-Jaikishen)? It hurts when she makes such comments. Both Rafi and Lata are legends, but even Lataji‘s fans have been hurt by such statements by her.”
Shahid has even tried to speak to the singer about this whole issue. But “Lataji never takes our calls. Sometimes she’s in the bathroom, sometimes she’s busy….”
He is not alone in the fight he reveals, though he is not willing to say who is on his side. “I have full support from the industry, but I cannot take names. Nobody has the guts to stand up against Lataji. She’s a great singer, but I can’t say the same thing about her as a person. I feel she needs publicity because she has fewer fans now.”
This whole war of words is getting acrimonious indeed. Will either side give in gracefully and end the bitter impasse before it snowballs into something unstoppable? We certainly hope so!