Dream Girl Hema Malini admits Lataji’s songs went a good distance in making her appear like a dream on display screen. “In my first film Sapnon Ka Saudagar I had the privilege of Lataji singing two songs for me ‘Seekha Nahin Sabak Tu Ney Pyar Ka’ and ‘Nadaan Ki Dosti Jee Ki Jalan’.” She truly remembers her songs from her first movie? “Of course! It was a big privilege to have Lataji sing for a new Tamil girl in her Hindi debut. When I heard my songs in Sapnon Ka Saudagar I began listening to her old songs to understand how deep her talent ran.”

Hema Malini says she wants to play Lata Mangeshkar in the late singer’s biopic

Over the years Lataji not solely turned indelibly related professionally but additionally personally with Hema Malini. Sighs Hemaji, “I was blessed. She was really really fond of me. Both me and my husband Dharamji. I was the recipient of many gifts from her. She would send me beautiful handpicked sarees. Once she even sent me coffee mugs with my face on them. For someone who barely stepped out of her home it must have taken her so much effort to get the custom-made mugs. But that’s how she was. I have never seen such talent and on top of it such generosity in anyone.”

Hemaji and Lataji had been WhatsApp buddies. “She sent me so many songs of hers, many of them I had never heard. They are a treasure that I’ll cherish forever. I would also send songs sung by me. She would reply, ‘Kitna achcha geeti aap. Kitni achchi hain aap.’ She was so innocent and so sweet. I am feeling so bad that we only chatted on social media. Why didn’t we meet more often personally? Why do we wait so long to reach out personally to people who matter to us? Now it’s too late.”

I inform Hemaji that The Goddess felt Hemaji was the perfect particular person to play ‘Lata Mangeshkar’ if a bio-pic was made and that she discovered Hemaji extremely stunning.

Hemaji, drained after travelling from her constituency Mathura to Delhi for hours, perks up. “Really?! That Lataji found me beautiful, I know. She would tell me. ‘Aap bahot Sundar hain.’ Coming from the most beautiful voice in the universe, it felt heavenly. But I didn’t know she wanted me to play her in her bio-pic. I wish some reputed producer would sign me to play her. It would be an honour.”

Hemaji remembers each music that Lataji has sung for her. “She sang beautiful songs for all the heroines. But I’d like to think what she sang for me is a bit more special. From ‘Duniya Ka Mela Mele Mein Ladki’ to ‘Do Nainon Mein Aansoon Bhare Hain’, what range of songs she gave me! I am so so thankful to her. I owe my Dream Girl label to her. Some of my favourite songs sung by Lataji for me were ‘Mose Mora Shyam Rutha’ and ‘Babul Pyare’ in Johnny Mera Naam, ‘Aayegi Zaroor Chitthi’ and ‘Govinda Gopala’ in Dulhan and most of all ‘Naam Ghum Jayega Chehra Yeh Badal Jayega’ in Gulzarji’s Kinara. That song has become Lataji’s signature tune. I am so proud that I sang it on screen.”

Speaking of Gulzar brings Hema to the saddest incident in her profession with Lataji. “My most cherished dream of playing Meerabai came true when Gulzarji made Meera. It was producer Premji who made many hits with me and Dharamji, to whom I suggested a film on Meerabai. Premji readily agreed. He asked me who the best director would be. I suggested Gulzarji. That’s how my dream of playing Meerabai came true. But when Lataji refused to sing the Meera bhajans the project was ruined. Lataji had been my voice all through my career. Now when I was doing my most cherished role she opted out!”

What occurred? Hemaji, blunt as ever reveals the reality for the primary time. “I personally requested Lataji, ‘Please please aap gayiye. Nahin to Meerabai ki awaaz nahin hogi’. She politely refused saying she had vowed not to sing Meera Bhajans after having sung them for her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar. ”

Eventually Pandit Ravi Shankar composed the Meera Bhajans for Meera and Vani Jairam sang them for Hemaji. Says Hemaji, “I wasn’t even told that Pandit Ravi Shankar was composing for Meera. I got to know later. Vani Jairam is a fine singer. But her voice didn’t suit me. It will remain my one abiding regret that Lataji didn’t sing for me in Meera.”

Also Read: Lata Mangeshkar bio-pic: Aanand L Rai, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra or Sanjay Leela Bhansali; three administrators vying for undertaking

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