We Needed You – Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar

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Someone just said that you would have turned 93. Would have??!! Why did that someone not say, “you have turned 93”?? Alas! It’s been more than 7 months, yet we are simply unable to accept the harsh reality. Though you didn’t record any song after “Saugandh mujhe is mitti ki”, and recorded songs only sporadically for a few years before that, we were always happy to see you in interviews, programmes, in your regular social media posts fondly remembering your compeers, and your Facebook Lives on your birthdays. The feeling that not only your innumerable saccharine songs but also you who rendered them, were with us was so satisfying. We had perhaps assumed that the personality named Lata Mangeshkar, in which the divine voice connecting us mortals with the immortals is embodied, would stay with us perpetually. Remember, you weaved your magic in the 1985 concert in Toronto, Canada, by honouring Anne Murray’s request to sing her famous song “You needed me”? Yes, we needed you! We will need you forever!

How difficult it is to choose just a few songs for paying you a tribute! Like a kid in a candy store, my eyes are fluttering on the jars of numerous soundtracks filled with candies of your honeyed songs, one more tempting than the other. Utter confusion and eternal dilemma! After a lot of ado, my eyes rest on a jar, full of songs a tad sweeter than all your mellisonant songs – the songs that you have sung for the delicate and angelical Saira Banu. You have moulded your voice so beautifully for every song filmed on her that the songs stand out in juxtaposition with all your other songs beyond any doubt. Here is a heartfelt tribute to you through a few of your songs for Saira Banu –

1. Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par (Junglee – 1961)

You lent your voice to her in her very first film, and your sweeter rendition for her could be felt right from this soundtrack, including this marvellous composition by Shankar – Jaikishan with lyrics written by Hasrat Jaipuri. Your version of this tandem song wasn’t a part of the movie originally. It was added much later, and you were made to sing on the track of Mohammed Rafi’s version due to the urgency.

Two more solos that you have sung for her in the film, viz. “Kashmir ki kali hoon main” and “Ja ja ja mere bachpan” are also amazing. Your voice fits the jovial and teenager Saira Banu so well!

2. Aaj Ki Raat Naya Chaand Le Ke Aayi Hai (Shaadi – 1962)

A mellifluous composition by Chitragupt in his adorable style, with the lyrics by Rajinder Krishan. You always added a few drops of nectar more in Chitragupt songs. Here, Saira Banu was also there to complement.

3. Bedardi Daghaabaaz Ja (Bluff Master – 1963)

Though one does not generally associate Kalyanji – Anandji with classical songs, this is one such song composed by them beautifully based on raag Bageshri. The lyrics are penned by Rajinder Krishan.

4. Ek Sunehri Shaam Thi (Aao Pyar Karen – 1964)

Usha Khanna was another composer, whose songs you rendered with extra sweetness. This particular song has a tint of pathos that follows the fond memories of the lost love. Your expression of poignancy too sounds sweet here. Though Saira Banu doesn’t lip sync this particular song, it seems her presence on the screen was enough for you to add a bit of sweetness.

5. Main Kamsin Hoon (Ayee Milan Ki Bela – 1964)

Shankar – Jaikishan have woven Hasrat Jaipuri’s words into a lilting song, which you have taken several notches up through your sugary rendition.

6. Unki Pehli Nazar Kya Asar Kar Gayi (April Fool – 1964)

Another such song by Shankar – Jaikishan and Hasrat Jaipuri, further uplifted by you through your “Saira Banu special” rendition.

7. Dil Wil Pyar Wyar (Shagird – 1967)
8. Ruk Ja Aye Hawa (Shagird – 1967)

Two endearing songs composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, showing Saira Banu’s playful innocence.

9. Bhai Battur, Bhai Battur (Padosan – 1968)
10. Sharm Aati Hai Magar (Padosan – 1968)

While all the songs composed by R.D. Burman and written by Rajinder Krishan from this evergreen classic comedy film are superb, these two solos rendered by you are outstanding. Your expression of the feelings of a frolicky, adolescent girl through the former song one is simply astounding! Who would believe that you were almost 40, while you sound to be just 14 in this song?

The latter song remains an eternal personal favourite. After a lot of misunderstandings, Bindu (Saira Banu) understands Bhola’s (Sunil Dutt) true love for her. Surrendering to his love, she expresses her devotion through this melodious song. The depth of her devotion can be clearly felt in your adept rendition.

11. Unse Mili Nazar (Jhuk Gaya Aasman – 1968)

The energy and sweetness in your rendition in this yet another Shankar – Jaikishan and Hasrat Jaipuri composition befitting a chirpy teenager girl who has just fallen in love is astonishing! A cherry on the cake to complete the tribute!

You are with us forever in the form of this treasure trove, agreed! But we still miss you a lot!


  1. Asawari

    September 29, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Very nicely written ..with having deep essence of music and exclusive taste !! Keep writing …

    • Yogesh

      September 29, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks, Asawari!

  2. Anu

    October 7, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    You have totally wrong picture for ‘Ek sunahari sham thi…’ and the info there in.

    • YOGESH

      October 7, 2022 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks for highlighting.. will revisit my interpretation

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