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Published on Jul 7, 2012
Lata sang approximately 120 songs for Anil Biswas in 29 Hindi films. Out of these, approximately 88 were solos and the rest were duets or songs involving more than 2 singers. Lata Mangeshkar on Anil Biswas... Another music director steeped in classical and folk music is Anil Biswas. A master of Bengali folk music, Anil also has a good knowledge of Urdu poetic and musical traditions. Out of this rich treasure-house he has evolved a distinct style. I remember we were recording a song in one line of which the word hazaar occurred and Anil asked me to prolong the taan on that word to heighten its significance. While working on a song, music directors usually have in mind the voice of the singer who is going to sing it. Not so Anil. He does not take into consideration the voice of the singer. Once the song is composed, he would literally pull it out of the singer's throat — successfully. Anil gives form to his melodies according to the situations in the film. In Indian classical music, there are raagas for different parts of the day and night. Anil's music is based on the raagas appropriate to the time at which the situation is supposed to occur in the film. I have learnt many things from Anil Biswas. In Maharashtra, it is generally found that singers neglect the words and concentrate on the taan. At one time, I too did this. But Anil taught me how to concentrate on a clear enunciation of the bol for clarity on the microphone. For many months, I studied voice modulation with Anil. Another ability I acquired through Anil's training is to inhale while singing without in the least interrupting the song. I worked at this until I reached the stage when it was not possible to tell when I took a breath. Yet another invaluable lesson I learnt from Anil was to avoid any change in voice, whether I was taking the highest note or the lowest. "Your voice must remain the voice of Lata Mangeshkar, no matter at which pitch you are singing," Anil told me. This is very difficult to do. (Interview conducted in January 1958)