Lata Mangeshkar turns 92 today (September 29). The iconic singer is known for many songs and one of them is Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon. In a past interview to IANS, Lata had revealed that she had initially declined to do the song. She didn’t expect the song to be so famous.
She had said, "I recall vividly that cold winter evening in Delhi in 1963 when I sang the song as part of Republic Day celebrations in front of an audience comprising President S Radhakrishnan, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and so many other distinguished guests.”
She had revealed that it was Pradeepji, (also known as Kavi Pradeep) the poet, who wrote the immortal lyrics, who came to her and asked her to sing the song. “I declined because there was no time to rehearse. You see, at that time I was working round-the-clock. To give special attention to one song seemed impossible. But Pradeepji insisted," she added.
As you might be aware, the song was written shortly after the 1962 India-China war and served to unite the masses. Ms Mangeshkar also revealed that she wanted to sing it with sister Asha Bhosle, but that didn't happen.
"I suggested we format the song into a duet with me and my sister Asha (Bhosle). But Pradeepji wanted it to be a solo. Asha too opted out. I tried to convince her to change her mind arguing that her name had even been printed in the newspapers as one of the singers," said the singer.
"Composer-singer Hemant Kumar had actually orchestrated the whole Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon project. I told Hemantda about Asha's decision. Hemantda also tried to convince Asha. But she would not agree. Then it was left to me to rehearse alone for the song," she added.
That was not all. The legendary singer revealed that she couldn't even rehearse for the song properly before performing it. She said that C Ramachandra, who was composing the tune for the song, gave her a tape of the number. “I picked up the tune from the tape and flew to Delhi on January 26, 1963," she said.
She was nervous about her performance. After her performance, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi greeted her and had loved her rendition.
Lata Mangeshkar never thought the song would become so popular as it was not part of a film. But it became her signature tune. Well, as they say, all’s well that ends well.
(With inputs from IANS)
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