By Chaitanya Padukone
One iconic legend deserves another! The undisputed versatile melody queen of India, Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar (“Didi”), adored the deceased Kundan. Lal Saigal, the superstar singer-actor of the 30s and 40s who later inspired and paved the way for so many singers, including herself. She cherished this cherished dream throughout her childhood – the desire to meet him and do a duet with Singing to the pre-eminent vocalist Saigal-saab, known for his haunted nasal baritone and smooth tenor. Unfortunately, that wasn’t planned. Because the cult singer KLSaigal unfortunately died only a year before she had significantly shaped the Hindi music scene in 1948, on January 18, 1947 at the young age of 42. But this unfulfilled wish persisted despite her meteoric rise and glorious career.
Sangeetkaar singer son Baiju Mangeshkar of the famous composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar expressed this idea to his friend and music partner Jatin Sharma, a composer and very successful music arranger, to create a duet from their voices with the help of modern technology. Jatin Sharma immediately rose to this challenge.
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Today on her 92nd birthday, an unprecedented duet of the incredible voices of KLSaigal and Lata Mangeshkar for the world to hear this magical partnership! ‘Main Kya Jaanu Kya Jaadu Hai! When Lata-didi presented the melody at zero hour at midnight, she was extremely overjoyed and overwhelmed with tears when she heard her voice mingling with Saigal Saab. It’s the best gift I’ve got, ”she remarked. “The fulfillment of an unfulfilled dream of singing with Saigal Saab, which thanks to modern technology is seamlessly coming to life!
“This birthday present is really timeless and priceless.” Please note that this track is a humble gift from my nephews Baiju and Jatin to fulfill their wish! The original rights to these songs are owned by Saregama & Inreco. This is a work of art and has no financial or monetary benefit. For those who are not that familiar with the Indian (Hindi) cinematic era of the 30s and 40s, this song ‘Main Kya Jaanu ..’ composed by another legend Pankaj Mullick was not only sung by Saigal and himself as the lead actor presented hero of this musical benchmark film ‘Zindagi’ (1940).
(The author of this article Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent film journalist and author of the memoir book RD BurMania)