Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunil Gavaskar: Happy birthday, Lata!

Sunil Gavaskar says, “All of us know that Lata didi is a cricket fan. In the same way cricketers adore Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata Mangeskar
Lata Mangeskar More Pics

That is why when a major cricket tournament is happening here in South Africa I would like to wish her happy birthday. I have had many opportunities to meet her. I admire her so much that once I told her, ‘Lata didi, we as a batsman go through a bad patch. We get out on zero too. But in your case you are so perfect that you always score a century and double century in each and every song. You never face a bad patch like us. That is why we respect you so much’. And she was embarrassed to hear that.”

Sunil relates another anecdote. “In 1982, at the end of our Pakistan tour, our team manager Maharaja Fateh Singh Gaekwad decided to organise a thanksgiving party in Lahore. Maharaj and yours truly were there at the gate to welcome guests and dignitaries. When Lataji walked in, Maharaj introduced me to Lataji by saying, “Aayiye ... aayiye inko to aap jante hoge, ye hamare kaptan saab hai ... ’ To that Lataji replied in jest, ‘Nahi jee hum to sirf Imran Khan aur Zaheer Abbas ko jante hai ... ’ Then I was formally introduced to Lataji as the Indian team captain.

Then Maharaj turned to me and said, ‘I hope there is no need to introduce Malika-e-Tarannum Noorjahan to you’, that’s when I immediately retorted, ‘Nahi jee ... hum to sirf Lata Mangeshkar ko jante hai’,” recalls Sunil with a chuckle.

Commenting about his favourite songs, Sunil says, “Although all of Lataji’s songs are great, two of her songs are close to my heart. O sajana barkha bahar aayi ... from Parakh and Raina beeti jaye ... shyam na aaye ... from Amar Prem.”