When Lata Mangeshkar revealed her father Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar would not have allowed her to become a playback singer: Throwback – Times of India

On April 24 each year Lata Mangeshkar would be a nervous wreck. It was the day of her father the illustrious Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar’s death anniversary. Each year the Mangeshkar family honours artistes from various fields on this day.
In a past conversation, Lataji discussed her father’s significant influence on her development as a singer. She revealed that despite his pivotal role in teaching her music, he was unaware of her singing abilities for a considerable period of time. Lata admitted to being afraid to sing in front of him and instead would coerce their domestic helpers into listening to her performances in the kitchen. She would often sing KL Saigal’s and her father’s songs to them, while her mother would scold her and dismiss her for wasting her time.

On a certain day, Lata Mangeshkar finally got the opportunity to showcase her singing skills to her father. She recounted the incident where a student of her father, who eventually became a well-known Maharashtrian actor, Chandrakant Gokhale, was practicing music as their tenant while her father was away. Lata, who was playing outside at the time, heard him sing a bandish and realized he was doing it incorrectly. She went inside and corrected him, singing it the way she had heard her father sing. When her father returned, he asked her to sing it again, and she obliged before fleeing the scene. Although she learned from listening to her father sing, she never summoned the courage to sing alongside him.

After Lataji corrected her Chandrakant Gokhale, her life changed dramatically. The following day, her father summoned her to his room, instructing her to wash up and come to him. She trembled with fear as she got ready because her father was a strict disciplinarian with conservative views. All the women in the house, regardless of age, were required to wear kum-kum on their foreheads and bangles on their hands, and using powder was strictly prohibited.

According to Lataji’s recollection, her household was immersed in discussions of anti-colonialism during India’s freedom struggle. Her father had a close friendship with Veer Savarkar, for whom he had written plays and songs. On the day her father asked her to come and learn music from him, Lataji sat in front of him with her tanpura. He showed her how to hold it and instructed her to sing in the same raga that she had corrected his student in the day before. This marked the beginning of her formal singing training.

Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar had predicted Lataji’s success. He had once prophesied to her mother that Lataji would achieve such great heights of success that no one would be able to rival her. Additionally, he had predicted that he wouldn’t be alive to see her success and that she would take care of the entire Mangeshkar household. Lataji used to accompany her father during his stage performances, and after his demise, she learned music from other sources. Nevertheless, she regards her father as her true guru.

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