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Friday, April 16, 1999
Chandigarh Tribune
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Gurbani fascinates me, says Hemlata
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 15 — “I have sung in more than 38 languages, and have recorded more than 5,000 songs. But it is the ‘bani’ of the Guru Granth Sahib which has fascinated me the most, because it is the only holy “granth” that is totally based on music. Singing it is like surrendering yourself”, said Bollywood singer Hemlata at a press conference here today. Hemlata, who is remembered for her hit numbers like “Tum is taran se meri zindagi mein shamil hoo”, “Ankhiyon ke jharokey se” and “Nadiya ke us paar”, was in Anandpur Sahib on April 13, to perform on the occasion of the 300 years of the Khalsa celebrations.

Daughter of Pt Jaichand Bhatt, a well-known classical singer and the sole representative of the Kirana Gharana of Lahore, Hemlata has been in the industry since the age of 13 years.

“I come from a Marwari family of Rajasthan, and actually had to ‘blackmail’ my parents into letting me get into this industry. In fact my first guru was the Vividh Bharati and the Ceylon radio”, she said.

For someone who was introduced by Naushad into the world of play-back singing, Hemlata is busy these days working on her “Punjabi-English” pop-album, titled ‘Ishq’. “The image of the artiste has to be like water. There is no point in getting stuck with one image. And who says that pop is bad? It just means popular and not cheap. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has also used orchestration in his music, and that was labelled as pop. But nothing bad about the fact.”

On modern day lyrics she said, “Today there has been immense technological advancement. But I am not in favour of the kind of lewd lyrics which seem to run all over today. Artistes are after all cultural ambassadors, and it also needs to be understood that our listeners are not ‘bazaroo’”.

But what about film actors singing their own songs these days? “Either way, there are no ‘great masters’ today in the music industry. So if these actors want to sing to amuse themselves, why not let them have a go at it. There never will be any more Kishore Kumar now”, Hemlata said candidly.

Talking about her experiences at Anandpur Sahib she said, “This was one of the most divine experiences I had, though I did feel sorry about the fact that I could sing, like the rest of the artistes, only two ‘shabads’. For people like us who come from Bombay, the world of glitz and glamour, even to touch a stage like that is a great honour. And to have called a ‘nalayaak’ daughter of the industry to take part in such a historic event felt great. But to have been totally ignored by the media, at a time when even the non-arrival of Lata Mangeshkar was being reported, did bother me”.Back

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