The peerless Lata Mangeshkar, who is now approaching 90, says artistes never retire. “It is not something one switches on or off. If you are a dancer or a singer, you are one for all your life. it consumes every breath of your life, gives you a sense of identity. What am I today, if not s singer? I owe everything to the talent I have and the same goes for every artiste. Nurture preserve and respect your talent. It is your gift from God,” says the mighty Mangeshkar who started singing professionally when she was 12.
“It was a necessity. My father left us when he was very young. I had a mother and four siblings to look after. Main nikal padi (I began my journey). I never had to face many of the hardships and discomforts that working girls face. I consider myself very fortunate. The ‘struggle’ that you and my well-wishers see was nothing but the signal from God to work hard. Nothing comes easy in life,” says Lataji, who by the grace of God, is in good health even at 90, and far from retirement.
Says the Bharat Ratna and recipient of scores of awards from the world over. “Even today, I feel like a student of music. I have so much to learn when I compare myself to great musicians of our country. Which is why I say, there is no retirement for an artiste until he or she lives.”
Lataji cites the example of the indefatigable ‘B’ factor of Bollywood. “Look at Bachchan Saab. At 75, he continues to be one of the busiest actors in the country. He is an inspiration for the entire nation. Which is why I feel so strongly about Dhoniji. He has so much more to give to cricket. Retirement would be unfair not just to him, but to his fans and admirers and younger generations that look up to him.”