- No words of praise can do justice to him: Lata Mangeshkar
- She had also composed an album dedicated to his poems
- Mr Vajpayee died in Delhi on Thursday after a long illness
Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar on Thursday said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was 'like her father' and after the former Prime Minister's death, she has 'lost her father again.' Mr Vajpayee died in Delhi on Thursday after a long illness. He was 93. Lata Mangeshkar, who shared a close bond with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told news agency IANS, "He was like my father. He called me beti. I called him dada. I feel I've lost my father all over again. When I saw the glow on his face, his persuasive oratorical powers and his love for the arts, I was always reminded of my father (the legendary musician-stage actor Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar). He was a noble soul. No words of praise can do justice to him. Atalji was never short of words. But I am."
Recollecting the old memories, Lata Mangeshkar, 88, revealed what Mr Vajpayee had once said while inaugurating a hospital for the Mangeshkar family in Pune. "He was very close to me, and I to him. When we Mangeshkars inaugurated a hospital in Pune in my name, I asked Atalji to do the inauguration. He happily agreed and gave a rousing speech -- as usual -- where he said he was in a dilemma as he thought naming a hospital after me was not right. 'There should be a music academy named after Lata Mangeshkar, not a hospital. Now what do I say? That people should fall sick so that this hospital, named after my beti, would run?', Lata Mangeshkar told IANS, adding that 'his speeches were works of art' and 'no orator in Indian politics to match him.'
Lata Mangeshkar also posted a tribute on Twitter for the former PM.
Rishitulya purva pradhan mantri Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji ke swargwas ki vaarta sunke mujhe aise (cont) https://t.co/1w1sEjs1eB— Lata Mangeshkar (@mangeshkarlata) August 16, 2018
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also a poet par excellence. In 2014, Lata Mangeshkar had got an opportunity to compose an album dedicated to his poems. She described the experience as 'unforgettable' and told IANS, "I still remember the album was officially released in his home in Delhi. We had flown down for the occasion. All the poems in the album we entitled Antarnaad were handpicked by me and my composer Mayuresh Pai. We then flew to Delhi to get his approval. When Atalji saw the poems we had selected he was very happy, especially with Geet naya gata hoon, which was among his personal favourites."
"However there was some doubt over another poem Thann gayi maut se which we had selected. Though Atalji himself loved the selection his (adopted) daughter and others close to him felt it was wrong of him to challenge death through poetry. So we decided to drop that poem. When we told Atalji of our decision he was very quiet then he said, if that''s what everyone wants, then so be it," Lata Mangeshkar added.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee has several achievements to his credit and one of them was the start of the famous Delhi-Lahore bus service to foster better relationships between India and Pakistan. Lata Mangeshkar revealed that Mr Vajpayee wanted her to be one of the first passengers in the journey. However, she couldn't make it to the journey.
"Atalji hriday se kavi the aur swabhav se sadhu (he was a poet at heart and a saint by nature). He was a visionary and India made rapid progress during his prime ministership. I remember how much he did to improve relations with Pakistan. He started the bus service to Pakistan. And he was very keen that I be one of the first passengers in that journey to the other side of the border. He told me that people in Pakistan were as keen to hear me as people in India. But I didn't go. It was always hard to say no to Atalji. He was such a wonderful human being and great statesman," she told IANS.
Meanwhile, many other celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth, Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma also remembered the "great statesman" and "visionary" Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
After Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death, the central government announced a seven-day mourning throughout India and a state funeral for the former prime minister at Smriti Sthal in Delhi. The funeral will take place today afternoon.
(With IANS inputs)
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