Legendary Actor Amitabh Bachchan Pays Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar with Poignant Marathi Poem

Amitabh Bachchan, recipient of the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award, recited a Marathi poem in her memory at the event. He described Lata Mangeshkar as "Goddess Saraswati personified." Bachchan, who is learning Marathi in his later years, recalled how Lata Mangeshkar opened the doors for him to perform internationally. He credited her for his success on stage and spoke of her love and affection for his family. The award, given to individuals who contribute to society, was presented by Usha Mangeshkar, the third-eldest Mangeshkar sibling.

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 24-04-2024 22:26 IST | Created: 24-04-2024 22:26 IST
Legendary Actor Amitabh Bachchan Pays Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar with Poignant Marathi Poem
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Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday recited a Marathi poem in the memory of melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, whom he remembered as ''Goddess Saraswati personified'', at an event here. Bachchan said he co-wrote the poem titled ''Aakasha Chi Sawri'' or ''Shadow of the Sky'' (in English) with the help of a friend.

''We call Lord Brahma the sky and the Goddess Saraswati sits next to Lord Brahma. Lata Mangeshkar was Goddess Saraswati personified. She is sitting under the shadow of Lord Brahma. That's how the title of the poem came to be 'Aakasha Chi Sawri','' the 81-year-old said.

On Wednesday, Bachchan became the third recipient of the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Asha Bhosle.

The Mangeshkar family and the trust instituted the award in the memory of Lata Mangeshkar after the eldest of the five Mangeshkar siblings died in 2022 following multiple organ failure.

Allahabad-born Bachchan has been based out of Mumbai for decades now and he said he is finally trying to learn Marathi, the local language, in his twilight years.

The actor, who will next be seen in the multilingual sci-fi drama ''Kalki 2898 AD'', recalled how he was once rebuked by an audience member for addressing a gathering in Hindi instead of Marathi.

''I remember I folded my hands in apology and said 'Me Marathi sheekhat aahe' (I'm learning Marathi') and saved myself. This incident happened 10-12 years ago and I haven't learnt Marathi till now. Earlier, I didn't have the time. So, I'm trying to learn Marathi in my old age as I'm getting some time now,'' he added.

Bachchan said Lata Mangeshkar always showered her love and affection on him as well as his family. ''The respect she bestowed us with is indescribable. I don't know what it was but there was so much love whenever she would meet me or the members of my family.'' It was Lata Mangeshkar who opened the gates for Bachchan to start performing at international shows, he said.

''In 1981, I was in New York and a friend of mine said 'Lata ji was here too and she wants to meet you'. When I met her, she told me 'I am set to perform at the Felt Forum stage at the Madison Square Garden and I want you to do a 2-minute presentation before me. Presenting for Lata ji! I couldn't wrap my head around it, but since she was Lata Mangeshkar, I agreed. ''As I was leaving, she said 'Amitabh ji, I have heard you have sung a song in one of your films.' I told her it was nothing, it was just like one of those teasing songs that are sung at weddings. Our director had heard the song on Holi and said we will put it in the film,'' he recounted.

The song was the popular track ''Mere Angne Mein'' from ''Laawaris'', the 1981 movie directed by Prakash Mehra.

Somehow, the actor said, he performed ''Mere Angne Mein'' on the stage in New York with ''some difficulty''.

''Some in the audience started clapping, some started dancing. When that friend of mine saw all that, he said: 'You will now perform at such programmes every year across different countries'. ''And, that's how I started performing on international tours and the credit of this goes to Lata ji...,'' the actor said, adding he often got a chance to perform on stage with Lata Mangeshkar. Bachchan was presented with the award by singer Usha Mangeshkar, the third eldest Mangeshkar sibling. Earlier, veteran singer Asha Bhosle, the second Mangeshkar sibling, was supposed to give away the trophies but gave the event a miss as she is unwell.

The award, known as the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar, is given every year to an individual who has made a path-breaking contribution towards the nation, its people and society. Prime Minister Modi was its first recipient in 2022, followed by Asha Bhosle in 2023.

The function was presided over by music composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar, the youngest Mangeshkar sibling.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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