Bet you didn’t know this. But Lata Mangeshkar, who is legendary for her singing, is an outstanding photographer. In fact, there were exhibitions of her photography when she was younger and so devoted to her Rolleiflex camera it went everywhere with her.
“Yes I loved photography. My camera used to be my constant companion everywhere.I’d take it with me to the studio and take pictures of my colleagues at work. I’d capture my parents, my sisters and brother at home. I loved photographing the outdoors,” recalls Lata ji fondly.
So skilled and adept was she at clicking pictures that it was seen as an alternative career for her. “I don’t know what I’d have done if I wasn’t a singer. But photography was definitely a feasible option.It’s a pity that the art of clicking pictures has been replaced by digital photography. People now take all their pictures on their phone.The sheer joy of capturing cameras through the lens of an old-fashioned camera is lost.”
Lata ji has reams and reams of self-clicked photographs in her home. “It would require weeks if not months to go through my photographs. Maybe someday.”
Very often Lata ji was known to carry her favourite accessory (the Rolleiflex) to the recording studio and click with her musical team in unguarded moments.
Lata ji is also a keen student of painting. Her favourite painter is the French Claude Monet.
In fact, she pointed out the influence of Monet on the cinema of Sanjay Leela Bhansali who, while admitting to Monet being a big influence, was stunned by the supreme songstress’s keen observation.
No wonder Gulzar Saab calls her a “sampoorn kalaakar”. A complete artiste.
Laughs Lataji, “Gulzar Saab is himself a sampoorn kalaakar. He directs films, he writes poetry and lyrics. He has authored many books of prose and poetry.I believe every artiste has to be aware of the world outside his or her domain. Raj Kapoor Saab and Raj Kapoor Saab not only direct films .They take interest in every aspect of their cinema. Bhansali ji even composes his own music,” says Lataji who in her youth also composed music for some Marathi cinema.
Image source: Instagram/LataMangeshkar