Meena Mangeshkar-Khadikar – The Reclusive Sibling
Mangeshkar – The moment a music lover or rather every Indian household hears that Surname, they will surely know the family and their field of work. From Master Deenanath Mangeshkar to Radha Mangeshkar, the family is soaked in music for generations. But when we say Mangeshkar siblings, it is always – Lata, Meena, Asha, Usha and Hridaynath. These five wonders of the Mangeshkar family have ruled (are still ruling) the music realm of Hindi and Marathi and they have marked their territories in other languages too. Some might crib saying it was their monopoly or politics or something else. But those who know the struggle through which these siblings have gone through, will never have this opinion. Whether it is singing or composing, these siblings have inherited all those genes. Amongst these siblings, the most underrated and lesser known is Meena Mangeshkar-Khadikar. 2nd in the line, just two years younger than the eldest, Lata Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar has been shy and introverted since the beginning. In her book – Mothi Tichee Saawli, she admits being reclusive. Leave alone singing or performing a song, she was even afraid of the night- watchman who shouted ‘Hoshiyar/savdhaan/Jaagte raho’. As a child she always followed her elder sister everywhere like a shadow. The untimely demise of their father, the family faced all sorts of hurdles. Financial and psychological pressure was too much to handle. But she soon realised that she and her other siblings were being protected and taken care of under the shadow of the giant kalpavriksha called Lata Mangeshkar. Meena Mangeshkar till date remains devoted to that kalpavriksha. She started singing because of her Didi, she started composing because her Didi encouraged her. There isn’t a Marathi household where the children’s songs composed by her are not played.
Apart from the children’s songs there are few film and non film songs where she has given music. And all her siblings including her Didi have sung under her baton.
Mansala Pankh Astaat – Hridaynath Mangeshkar –
This non film devotional song written by Shanta Shelke and rendered by Usha Mangeshkar is sure to give a similar haunt feel of Lekin songs by Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
Lata Mangeshkar once said that when she used to learn music from her father, Meena always came and sat beside her. Though she did not learn singing formally at that time, it is Meena Mangeshkar who remembers all that their father had taught them. She still remembers all those intricacies and can sing them well.
Shabaas Sunbai – Lata Mangeshkar
One would be amazed at the versatility of Meena Mangeshkar as a composer with this song from a Hindi film – Kanoon ka Shikar (1977), rendered by Asha Bhosle.
She also has some melodious Marathi bhaavgeet to her credit –
If composing wasn’t enough, she has also rendered songs in Marathi and Hindi, beginning with Ram Ram Pahuna (1950). This film was also Lata Mangeshkar’s first film as a composer under the pseudonym Anandghan. It took a lot of coaxing and encouragement from Lata and Hridaynath for Meena to sing.
For Hindi films too she has rendered songs mostly with her sisters. But here’s one duet of hers with Mohammed Rafi from Farmaish (1953) under the composer duo Husnlal Bhagatram.
Another duet with Mohammed Rafi again, composed by Sardul Kwatra, lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri in Pilpili Saheb (1954).
Chandni Chowk (1954) – Meena Mangeshkar with her sisters –