'She Loved It': Assam Filmmaker On Gifting 'Mekhela Sador' To Lata Mangeshkar

Every singer in India wants to be like her but there is only one Lata Mangeshkar: Samujjal Kashyap

ARPITA DAS | Published : 2023-02-06

Mekhela Sador - the beauty of Assam's traditional attire for women is unmatched. Even legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who passed away on February 6 last year, couldn't ignore the magic of mekhela sador.

Way back in 2018, the Queen of Melody took to Twitter to wish her fans and well-wishers a ‘Merry Christmas’ wearing our very own Axomiya mekhela sador - gifted by Assam film director Samujjal Kashyap.

Reminiscing about gifting mekhela sador to the iconic singer, Kashyap says, "She loved it...She Whatsapp-ed pictures after wearing the mekhela sador. It was an honour for me to gift the 'Nightingale of India' our mekhela sador."

Kashyap had directed and edited a music video 'Yahan Bhi Tu Wahan Bhi Tu' by singer-composer Baiju Mangeshkar, who is the nephew of Lata Mangeshkar. It was Baiju’s first solo album as a singer and composer. Before its official release, Baiju had shown the video to Lata Mangeshkar, who liked Kashyap's work. 

"I share a warm relationship with Baiju Mangeshkar. He told me Lataji liked my work in 'Yahan Bhi Tu Wahan Bhi Tu' music video. It was such a huge compliment...I wanted to celebrate the occasion. On my wife Sheetal's insistence, I bought the mekhela sador from Guwahati and sent it to her through Baiju. A few days later, I received photos of her wearing the mekhela sador...It was an emotional moment for me," adds 'Arranged' fame Kashyap.

The National Award-winning filmmaker laments that due to prior work commitments, he had to skip a dinner invitation at Baiju's Mumbai residence, two months prior to the demise of the legendary singer.

"I never met Lataji personally...but maybe I could have met her had I attended the dinner at Baiju's house. I shall forever regret it. Lataji was invariably called Goddess Saraswati...no singer can ever replace her. Every singer in India wants to be like her but there is only one Lata Mangeshkar," says Kashyap.

Lata Mangeshkar passed away in Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital after battling with Covid-19 pneumonia for around a month, leaving a pall of gloom behind. 

Her extraordinary career spanned over seven decades and she recorded thousands of songs in 36 languages and a few foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi and Marathi. 

"The new generation of artists should learn humility and grace from Lataji. She handled her career spanning more than half a century with so much simplicity. Lataji is an institution. All the artists, irrespective of genres and fields, can learn something from how she led her life," says Kashyap. 

Lata Mangeshkar's contribution to the Indian music industry gained her honorific titles such as the 'Nightingale of India', 'Voice of the Millennium', and 'Queen of Melody'.

She also sang many songs in the Assamese language and developed a very good rapport with the 'Bard of Brahmaputra' Bhupen Hazarika. She sang her first Assamese song ‘Jonakore Raati’ for music maestro Hazarika’s Assamese movie, ‘Era Bator Sur’. She also sang popular Assamese songs such as ‘Godavori Noire Parore Pora’ and ‘Rod Puwabor Karone’.

When asked about picking up one song from Lata Mangeshkar's treasure trove of classics, Kashyap says, "I love all her patriotic songs and also, 'Luka Chuppi' from 'Rang de Basanti'. The song is heavily laden with emotion and music by AR Rahman added magic to it. Lataji must have been in her late 70s when she sang it but look at the tenderness of her voice."

Born in 1929, Lata Mangeshkar belonged to a prominent musical family and was the eldest of five siblings. She has received several accolades and honours throughout her career. In 1987, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was bestowed on her by the Government of India.

In 2001, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, and is only the second female singer, after MS Subbulakshmi, to receive this honour.

She was the recipient of three National Film Awards, 15 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards, two Filmfare Special Awards, the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and many more. 

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