Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon: When Lata Mangeshkar’s Rendition Left Pandit Nehru in Tears
Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon: In January 2013, Mangeshkar in an interview had revealed that she had initially refused to sing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo as she didn't have enough rehearsal time, and her sister Asha Bhosle was considered as a replacement.
New Delhi: Lata Mangeshkar, India’s legendary singer had once moved Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to tears. As part of Republic Day celebrations on January 27, 1963, Mangeshkar had performed in front of many distinguished guests including late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, President S Radhakrishnan at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Beginning her performance with Allah Tero Naam on late Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar’s request, she ended the evening with Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon, a patriotic song written in Hindi by Kavi Pradeep, composed by C. Ramchandra in honour of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the India-China War of 1962.
Renowned author and journalist Rasheed Kidwai, in his book ‘Bharat Ke Pradhanmantri’ had shared that the legendary singer had once confessed in an interview that her song has left Pandit Nehru in tears. “After singing two songs, I went backstage to relax with a cup of coffee. Suddenly, I heard Mehboob Khan Saab calling me. He caught hold of my hand and said, ‘Chalo, Panditji ne bulaya hai [Come on, Panditji has sent for you]’. When I went out, everyone, including Panditji, his daughter Indiraji, Radhakrishnanji stood up politely to greet me. Mehboob Khan Saab said, ‘Yeh rahi humari Lata. Aapko kaisa laga uska gaana (This is our Lata. How did you like her performance)?’ Panditji said, ‘Bahut achcha. Mere aankhon mein paani aa gaya (Wonderful! She moved me to tears)”, Kidwai said in his book ‘Bharat Ke Pradhanmantri‘.
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In January 2013, Mangeshkar in an interview had revealed that she had initially refused to sing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo as she didn’t have enough rehearsal time, and her sister Asha Bhosle was considered as a replacement. However, Kavi Pradeep managed to convince Mangeshkar.
“It was Pradeepji, (Kavi Pradeep) the poet, who wrote the immortal lyrics, who came to me and asked me to sing the song. I declined because there was no time to rehearse. You see, at that time I was working round-the-clock. To give special attention to one song seemed impossible. But Pradeepji insisted, Lata said, admitting that she was very nervous before the performance. My regret is that Pradeepji had not been called for the Republic Day function where I sang the song. If he was there, he would have seen with his own eyes what impact ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo’ had,” Lata had said.
The song is often performed at public events and gatherings in India and is considered to be one of the most popular patriotic songs alongside “Jana Gana Mana” (the national anthem), “Vande Mataram” (the national song), and “Sare Jahan Se Accha”.
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