Dinesh Shahra, an industrialist – the man behind the iconic Nutrela brand and the force behind the Yellow or Soya revolution in the country; is also a great patron of music. He recently facilitated ‘Indore Ki Beti’, a musical concert which paid tribute to the ‘Nightingale of India’ – Lata Mangeshkar. The theme of the event was celebrating the glorious melodies rendered by the legendary singer as well as her Indore connections.
Like our beloved Lata Didi, Mr. Shahra also hails from this great central Indian city and needless to say; is an ardent admirer of this iconic singer.
In our interview Mr. Shahra spoke in depth about this celebrated ‘Beti’ (daughter) of Indore and India, how she continues to inspire him and what he humbly plans to do to keep Lata Didi’s legacy alive especially amongst the youngsters of today.
Tell us briefly about the experience of the “Indore Ki Beti” event?
Indore Ki Beti was our endeavor of paying a humble tribute to the ‘Voice of the Millennium’– Bharat Ratna, Lata Mangeskar. It was a wonderful experience of singing as well as listening to soulful renditions of Didi’s songs by renowned playback singers like Madhushree, Ghazal Maestro - Jaswinder Singh and a host of other talented musicians.
We all know that Lata Didi was born in Indore. Can you throw some more light on her Indore connections?
Lata Didi had deep spiritual and emotional ties with the city of Indore. Lata Ji’s father Pt. Dinanath Mangeshkar was employed in Indore, and it is here that Didi started training at a very tender age under her father’s guidance. It was in Indore that Lata Didi gave her first performance at the age of seven.
Despite her tireless sadhana (dedicated practice) and busy schedule, she would make it a point to visit the city whenever possible. Like a typical ‘Indori’ she thoroughly enjoyed the street delicacies at Sarafa Bazaar.
How does Lata Mangeshkar inspire you?
As an ‘Indori’, we were always in awe of Lata Didi’s larger than life persona. I was raised in a neighborhood that was close to Lata Didi’s ancestral home. In my younger age, I was inspired by her commitment to excellence and perfection in all her pursuits. Her magical voice provided inspiration and solace to my soul during the happy as well as challenging phases of my life and continues to do so even today. Lata Didi was indeed a blessing to humanity, and I consider myself fortune to have met and known her in person.
Can you share some anecdotes of your personal interactions with Lata Mangeshkar?
Her politeness, her humility, her dedication were qualities which stood out every time you interacted with her. I was amazed at her attention to detail even in the smallest of matters. This virtue of seeking perfection manifested in everything that she did – whether singing a song or having a normal conversation. She was always focused and was a lifelong learner till her last breath.
Among the in numerable melodies rendered by Lata Didi, which 1, 2 or 3 songs are your all-time favorites and why?
Lata Didi had a career spanning over 7 decades and in every era, she sang innumerable masterpieces. Among the devotional songs, Lata Didi’s rendition of ‘Shree Ramchandra Kripalu Bhajman’ was simply divine. In the realm of film music – ‘Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai’ and ‘Ae Mere Wattan Ke Logo’ are my personal favorites; among a hundred other melodies.
The event Indore ki Beti was really a great tribute to Lata Didi. What’s next from your end To carry forward this great legacy of this legend for generations to come?
According to me, Lata Didi represents the best of Indian culture and its rich musical and spiritual heritage. As a fellow ‘Indori’ and an eternal fan of her melodies, I consider it my responsibility to pass on her legacy to the future generations. I am writing a book dedicated to her inspirational life that will hopefully motivate future generations. So, watch this space for more!