INDIA. Mumbai: The Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smriti Pratishthan Charitable Trust presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the inaugural Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award on the 80th death anniversary of Deenanath, an actor, composer, and vocalist, at a celebration at Shanmukhananda Hall in Central Mumbai on Sunday.
The Mangeshkar family members Meena Khardikar, Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, and Adinath Mangeshkar presented Modi with a trophy and a citation.
Modi was honoured for his unwavering commitment to the country.
The award was established in remembrance and honour of famous singer Lata Mangeshkar, who died on February 6 at the age of 92.
In his speech, Modi paid rich tributes to India’s nightingale Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar saying that her soulful voice unified the country and her contribution to “Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat” (One India, Best India) was immense and she would continue to inspire generations to come.
“She was a true example of Goddess Saraswati. Her songs contributed tremendously to the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” (celebration of 75 years of India’s independence) and the nation would always remember them,” he said.
“Her songs, which included the legendary patriotic song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo,” Tulsidas’ famous poem “Ramcharit Manas,” and songs in honour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, were a guiding force in society. Her father Deenanth had sung an anti-British song written by great freedom fighter Veer Savarkar in front of the then viceroy in a function organized in Simla (Himachal Pradesh) during the pre-Independence day,” Modi said.
“I was introduced to Latadidi by veteran music director late Sudhir Phadke. After that, there has been a strong bond between me and Latadidi and the entire Mangeshkar family. She was my elder sister. Unfortunately, she will not be with us during the ensuing Raksha Bandhan.”
“I generally keep myself away from such felicitation ceremonies. But when an award was named after an elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, it became an obligation for me to accept it because of the affection and right of the Mangeshkar family over me,” Modi said.
“Lata saw many transitions…gramophone records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, Pen drives, and online music. Her voice was divine and she was very devoted to god. She could be described as advait (Brahma/Vishnu),” he added.
“She was removing her footwear outside the recording room since the singing was a sadhana (spiritual exercise) for her. She always used to say that a person becomes great by his deeds and not by age. I think we all can learn from her thoughts. I dedicate this award to all Indians since Latadidi belonged to all people.”
Modi received the award in presence of Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Maharashtra Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, and others.
Adinath Mangeshkar, son of Lata’s brother Hridaynath, gave a brief account of the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smriti Pratishthan Charitable Trust and Lata Mangeshkar Medical Foundation( based in Pune), engaged in social work, including giving financial assistance to martyrs, defence personnel and the general public. He described Modi as a leader who had raised the image of India to dizzy heights in the world.
“The Trust has been honouring every year an individual who has made path-breaking, spectacular and exemplary contributions to our nation, its people, and our society. Narendra Modi was the most dedicated, self-less person and was emerging as the most dynamic leader on the planet”, Adinath added.
Lata’s sister versatile singer Asha Bhosale narrated how Lata at the age of 13 years, after the demise of Deenanth, looked after all the siblings. She also narrated how Lata once worked despite suffering from a 104-degree fever. Lata ensured that the names of playback singers were mentioned on the discs and also ensured that they were given royalty.
Asha Bhosle also recited a few lines of Lata’s evergreen hit Hindi song “Aayega Aayega, Aayega Aanewala Aayega Aayega” from the Hindi film, ‘Mahal’ for which the music was scored by Director Khemchand Prakash.
Noted voiceover artist Harish Bhimani who anchored the program said that had Latadidi been alive this would have been his 143 rd program with her. He narrated many memoirs while working with her.
The recipients of other awards included: Asha Parekh and Jackie Shroff (acting), Singer Rahul Deshpande (Music), Ulhas Muke ( social service), and Chandrakant Kulkarni(Theatre).
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray gave a miss to the function given the growing tiff between the Shiv Sena and BJP.
However, Industries Minister Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) attended the function and also saw him off at the airport. Veteran actress Asha Parekh, Playback singer Udit Narayan, and BJP MLA Ashish Shelar were among those seen in the audience.