After a gap of nearly 49 years since the music legend Lata Mangeshkar performed a rare live concert at Royal Albert Hall in London, some of her most popular songs rang out at the iconic venue once again for a special tribute concert.
‘Lata Mangeshkar: Bollywood Legend’ formed part of the BBC’s annual summer season of orchestral music known as the Proms, usually devoted to western classical music with some recent attempts at widening its appeal to the Indian diaspora.
Prom 18 on Friday night included many of the renditions from the award-winning late playback singer’s own live renditions at the Royal Albert Hall back in March 1974, including ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon’ and ‘Aaega Aane Wala’ from the 1949 film ‘Mahal’, accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
“This is an extremely special moment for me, to be paying tribute to such a legend of Indian music, adored the world over,” said singer Palak Muchhal, who performed a string of melodies.
Muchhal, a prolific playback singer and philanthropist, opened the show with a rendition of the title track from the 1978 film ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ followed by tracks from Bollywood classics such as ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ and ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ to more modern-day numbers from ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Mohabbatein’ and 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham'.
“A single evening can offer only a snapshot of a career that spanned nearly seven decades, one in which she sang around 50,000 songs in countless films. Not only did she have a beautiful voice, but she used it to evoke a wide range of emotions in 36 different languages, earning her the title ‘The Nightingale of India’,” the BBC Proms noted in a statement.
The song selection for the concert included several medleys to span over more than half a century of Indian music. Some of the numbers were also accompanied by dancers from the Bollywood Co. London, who presented dance sequences inspired by the cinematic originals.
Arranged for a live orchestra by musicians Tim Pottier, Saurabh Shivakumar, Nathen Durasamy and Michael Seal, the CBSO artists combined a range of instruments from violins, cellos, clarinets and tabla, dholak and dhol for the show packed with thousands who sang and danced along.
It marked the first Bollywood celebration for over a decade at the annual Proms, formally named the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, which are presented live and aired by the BBC over eight weeks.
"The Proms celebrates genres and artists from around the world. This year we bring Portuguese fado and Northern Soul to the Proms for the first time, as well as a tribute to Bollywood playback singer Lata Mangeshkar," added David Pickard, Director of BBC Proms.
Mangeshkar died aged 92 in February last year and received a state funeral in Mumbai.