Correction.Title Marathi and Malyalam is reversed. utha utha ho is Marathi .( Thanks to
Anjali Joshi for pointing out the mistake)
Lata, as I have already noted, was first exposed to the dizzy dazzle of Dilip Kumar on a local train, way back in 1947. "Yeh nayi ladki hai, achcha gaati hai" ("This is a new girl, she sings well") is how Anil Biswas paraphrased Lata to Dilip Kumar. When Dilip Kumar was told that Lata was a Maharashtrian, the Pathan in him reacted from the gut. "Inka ek problem hota hai", Dilip said of Maharashtrian Lata, "inke gaane main daal-bhaat ki boo aati hai" ("There's one problem about these people from Maharashtra, in their singing you get the odour of gravy and rice")!
Stung in the tongue with which she was going to win over the world, the Honey Bee, from that very day, sat down to lessons in Urdu from a maulvi called Shafi. Lata notes that she worked ultra-hard, from that pungent point, to "achieve clarity and proper diction" in an Urdu language made for dialogue delivery by Dilip Kumar. Even so, when Dilip Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar were brought together some 23 years later for that Khushwant Singh "Weekly" cover story, the first enquiry from Dilip Kumar, in preparation for lunch, was, in effect, whether Lata Mangeshkar was a "daal-bhaat" (vegetarian). Lata was not, but she never for- got that early "daal-bhaat" odium cast on her singing worth by Dilip Kumar. At the first opportunity she got to render a duet with him, she so outsang Dilip Kumar that he realised sharply that the little Maharashtrian girl, of whom he was once "daal- bhaat" dismissive, had, in her singing, mastered the Urdu diction to a point where even Dilip Kumar was 'easy meat' for her !
In fact, Dilip Kumar now genuinely wondered how possibly he could have doubted her Urdu credentials when Naushad first let it be known that Marathi Lata would be singing "Uthaye jaa unke sitam" and "Tod diya dil mera" in his Nargis- Raj Kapoor co-starrer An- daz. Dilip Kumar, famous by then for his romantic mop of hair, had hit the roof when Naushad suggested the name of Lata. Lata then swore that she would one day, bring Dilip Kumar down to earth. The one who thought he was the greatest acting show on earth was soon to encounter, in Lata, the greatest singing show on earth. Lata in Andaz brought to the expression of Urdu poetry some of the flair Dilip Kumar brought to the expression of Urdu prose. Naushad had worked wonders with the girl.
That for the Andaz class of sustained singing Lata Mangeshkar was awarded the Padma Bhushan as early as 1969, that for the Andaz class of sustained composing Naushad was awarded the Padma Bhushan only 22 years later in 1991 is a barometer of the metamorphosis in climate effected by this megasinger by which she was able to show each pioneer-composer his place. Indeed, by 1991, every single composer who claimed to have made Lata and Asha had unmade himself. Neither Naushad and Nayyar counted by 1991, only Lata and Asha did.