Lataji is my Saraswati: Rekha Bhardwaj

Ruchika Kher/IANS

New Delhi, Oct 27: Her voice is husky and sensual, very different from that of the singing legend Lata Mangeshkar, but playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj still considers the nightingale of India her idol and describes Lata as Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning.

"Lataji is my Saraswati. I am very fortunate that I got a chance to see Lataji's recordings and the way she prepares for a song. She is something else. Nobody can be her. We cannot reach that level," Rekha told IANS.

The singer says every song by Lata is a lesson in itself. "Whenever I need to learn something, I listen to her songs and see where she breathes out, where she breathes in, etc," she said.

Rekha feels that such was Lata's talent that she used to lift even mediocre compositions with her voice.

"Even at that time there were some mediocre compositions, but when someone like Lataji used to sing it she used to take it to some other level altogether - such is her talent."

Rekha, who is married to filmmaker-composer Vishal Bhardwaj, has musical roots that lie in Sufi, folk and classical genres. She released her first album "Ishqa Ishqa" in 2004 to critical acclaim. However, it was her song "Namak ishq ak" in her husband's directorial venture "Omkara" that really won her accolades.

The singer has carved a niche for herself and is known for hits like "Genda phool" from "Delhi-6" and "Pehle baar mohabbat ki hai" from "Kaminey".

When asked what took her so long to showcase her talent to the world, Rekha said that she was waiting for the right songs.

"I am very glad I started getting songs that I like and fit my style and understanding. I waited and it paid off," she said.

"Today there are no limits or confines for a singer. Any singer can sing any song. So even though I have a different voice, I can sing a romantic number or may be something else, provided I like it," she added.

Rekha, who is planning to launch her second album next year, was in the capital to attend the 11th Osian's Cinefan film festival and to give a surprise performance of selected Gulzar songs at the inaugural ceremony in honour of the lyricist.

"I am attending this festival for the first time. Gulzar saab got the lifetime achievement award here. It's an honour to be able to do something for Gulzar saab. My performance was a surprise and we managed to keep it a surprise till last moment - that was a great thing," Rekha said.

The singer will be next heard in films like "Radio", "Ishqiya" and "Raavan".



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