Lata-Rafi row: Bitter tune
It is truly unfortunate that so many years after the passing away of the legendary playback singer, Mohammed Rafi, singing diva Lata Mangeshkar has chosen to revive a bitter episode that both singers were embroiled in.
Mangeshkar had recently alleged that it was she who had refused to sing with Rafi, owing to a dispute over the payment of royalties, and had only been mollified after Rafi sent her a written apology.
She made this statement knowing well that Rafi is no longer around to refute her claims. It is well known that Rafi was simple, humble man and never went looking for trouble. His quiet demeanor and amiable personality always won him friends and he remains popular with his fans to this day. Mangeshkar’s statement was shocking and uncalled for. Such statements do not befit someone of her stature.
Mumbai music industry is aware that Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi had a tiff and they did not sing together for a while owing to differences over royalty payments. People can always have opposing views; one should not express anger when other people do not agree with one’s views. Even if Rafi had offered Mangeshkar a written apology, the latter could have avoided speaking about it now after so many years of his death.
Moreover, rumours have always circulated in the Mumbai music industry that Mangeshkar tried to stall the success of other female playback singers, like Bani Jayaram and Suman Kalyanpur. It had been alleged that Mangeskar had used her tremendous clout among music directors so that young and talented singers do not get a chance for playback singing and thus ruined many talented singers’ careers.
No such rumour has ever been spread about Rafi. The latter never got embroiled in unnecessary controversies. He did his job well and was arguably the Hindi film industry’s iconic playback singer.