Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar left for her heavenly abode on 6 February 2022. In her career spanning several decades, she worked with countless music directors from different generations. The last song she recorded for a film was composed by music director Nikhil Kamath, who along with partner Vinay Tiwari, had put together the music of several popular films and non-film albums like ‘Bewafa Sanam’, ‘Engilsh Babu Desi Mem’, ‘Bewafa Sanam’, ‘Tum Bin’, ‘Jaan’, ‘Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’, among others.
Nikhil had worked with Lata Mangeshkar on two songs. The first song (the title track of ‘Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyun’) was recorded in the year 2010 and the second song (“Jeena Kya Hai Jaana Maine” – ‘Dunno Y2 Life Is A Moment’), which also turned out to be her last released song from a film, was recorded in 2015. Nikhil was a fan of Lata Mangeshkar right from the time he was a child. Having grown up in South Mumbai, he got the opportunity to see the singer from afar a couple of times during his teenage years.
“One of the first songs of Lata ji that I fell in love with was ‘Bahon Mein Chale Aao’ from the film ‘Anamika’ (1973). I remember watching the film in Roxy Cinema in Charni Road as a child. That was the first time I heard that song and fell in love with it instantly. Another song of her that I loved during that period was ‘Kaanchi Re Kaanchi Re’ from ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’”, the composer says.
Nikhil has very fond memories of collaborating with Lata Mangeshkar on the two songs. He describes the late singer as a humble and simple lady who ha extreme devotion towards her craft.
Reminiscing those times, he says, “When I was explaining the song to her, everybody was inside the monitor room. She told one of the technicians that Nikhil sings in the perfect pitch. I am not really a singer and I felt overwhelmed by her compliment. She would write down the song herself and make notes. Despite being a legend, she had the kind of dedication and passion you would expect from a newcomer. Perhaps, that’s the reason she will always be the greatest musical icon of our country.”
Like Nikhil, Vinay too worked with Lata Mangeshkar after they split in the year 2006. Vinay had recorded Lata Mangeshkar’s voice for the song ‘Jaane Thi Kaisi Raahon Mein’ for Aanand L Rai’s debut film ‘Strangers’. Interestingly, the composer duo did not work with the late singer when they were working together.
“We were mostly working with T-Series and the label was mostly working with newer singers like Anuradha Paudwal. Lata ji had also become very selective about her work by then. Lata ji did work with T-Series later. ‘Saadgi’, one of her last independent albums, was released by T-Series. As Nikhil-Vinay, it would have been an honour to work with somebody like Lata ji but I guess it was not in our destiny. I am glad I could at least work with her as a solo composer.”