Legendary singer and cricket buff Lata Mangeshkar has been a self proclaimed Sachin Tendulkar fan for a long time now. Today when the Master Blaster turns thirty-eight, India's nightingale who considers Sachin like her son wants the batting sensation to carry on his innings for many more years. In a freewheeling chat, Lata discusses her favorite player and yes....likens him to Dilip Kumar.
Do you call up and wish Sachin personally?
Actually I don't get the time to call him personally as 24 th also happens to be my father's death anniversary and we have a huge function in the evening. I am thoroughly caught up preparing for this. But my wishes and blessings are always with him. May he remain healthy and happy always.
Any specific wish for him?
Sachin shouldn't retire. Abhi waqt nahin aaya ... he has to give us a lot in cricket. He should rest and then get back to playing. His life is cricket and he cannot be happy anywhere. Look at me. I may have slowly stopped singing for movies, but I haven't stopped singing. And when he really feels that he cannot continue playing actively he should think of opening an academy to impart knowledge on cricket, both practically and theoretically.
If you have to dedicate a song to him which one would that be?
The evergreen birthday song by my sister Asha and Geeta Dutt... Tum jiyo hazaron saal ...Saal ke din hon pachas hazar .
Does he inspire you?
Why me, he inspires the world! His energy on the field is infectious. Feels like sheer magic! Unke khel mein ek thehrav hai. Unke har shot par nazar jaati hain . He is like Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Bade Gulam Ali Saab. Their performances transport you to a different level....into a trance. You just listen to them quietly. Sachin evokes the same response when he is on the field. My brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar just goes `Wah Wah', when Sachin bats. He has got a fantastic rhythm.
From the current lot do you see another Sachin in the making?
Every cricketer is good in their own place. From the yesteryear cricketers I really loved Gary Sobers. But Sachin is Sachin. He is irreplaceable. Unse aur acche aa sakte hai, par unke jaise nahin. (There can be better player than Sachin but never like him.) He is like Dilip Kumar. There have been many good actors after Dilip Kumar, but till date there's not been another Dilip Kumar. Sachin is God's gift to us.
How many times have you met him?
Must be about 9-10 times only. Earlier I used to talk to him, but now with age I don't have the same energy.
Recall your first encounter with Sachin?
I remember it was during the match in Sharjah. I was there too. Someone told me to speak to him in Marathi if at all we get to meet. Honestly, I was little scared to meet him. I had this notion about cricketers that they are these up-class urban lot who are comfortable in English ways and talks. My apprehension was busted and he floored me with his simplicity and humble attitude and yes he spoke in pure Marathi.
Your last word for the Master Blaster.
Retain all your qualities and values that have been with you on your journey. Remain the gentle soul you are and sorted out on your head, the way you have always been.