At 84 years of age, awards do not matter to her, but when the function of first Yash Chopra Memorial Award was conducted on Saturday, Lata Mangeshkar made it a point to be there and receive the award, though she was not well.
But did it matter to Lata Mangeshkar when it was something to do with Yash Chopra? After all, she could be the only singer in the entertainment industry whose golden voice forms the signature tune of a banner aka Yash Chopra and this small gesture by Yash Chopra has made her immortal till the times cinema is there and Yash Raj banner continues to enthrall the audience. As she said in her acceptance speech after being conferred with the first Yash Chopra memorial award- “Mein Yahan Award Lene Ya Dus Lakh Lene Nahin Aai Hoon. Mein Aai Hoon Yahan Unki (Yashji) Yaad Ko Pranam Karne…Aur Woh Aaj Bhi Yahan Maujood Hain…Yahin Kahin …Hamare Beech. Woh hamesha mere saath hain…unki yaad…aur mein us mahaan prani ko koti koti pranam karti hoon.”
Indeed, from the time when Yash Raj banner came into being with DAAG it was the voice of Lata Mangeshkar that formed the foundation for the sagas of romance that were spooled on heroines across generations. Heroines changed and new generations also came in but the voice over continued to be the same and it never aged, with each new heroine for the banner it was Lata Mangeshkar who matched her vocal prowess with the on-screen face and no wonder Yash Chopra paid the ultimate tribute to her voice by making it the signature tune for his banner for all times to come. While the whole world would be aware about the voice that she has, very few would be aware about the fact that Lata Mangeshkar is an ace shooter as well. Indeed, it was Dada Kondke who has pointed out about this fact in his Biography ‘Ekta Jeev- A Lonely Life by Dada Kondke’ as told to Anita Padhye, a work in Marathi.
Dada Kondke had tried to pull a prank on her by giving her a 0.22 bore rifle and asked to shoot a tin placed at a distance she not only shot it six times, but later on also shot the same tin by looking at it through a mirror. Dada Kondke also has opined in his work that it could be Lata Mangeshkar who may have introduced gaajar kaa halwa in Hindi cinema as she was the best cook that he had come across, and wondered whether the sweetness of her voice had something to do with the gaajar kaa halwa. Be it a gaajar kaa halwa, or a rifle shooting, what emerges is the fact that Lata Mangeshkar practiced and perfected her craft and this is the reason why her replacement would perhaps be impossible to find, and conferring of this award indeed is a small reiteration of her contribution to the world of Hindi cinema in particular and Indian cinema in general.