Should I have been counting down, 88 to 1? Oh well, too late now, and anyway that would have been confusing. I’ll stick with straight 1 through 88. Or, for this post, 31-60 (first post here)
31. I love you because beginning in the 1970s, your strongest competition began to be your baby sister Asha. And yet you still held your own.
32. I love you because after being twitted for poor Urdu in your youth, you came back with one of the classic Urdu style albums for Pakeezah.
33. I love you because Pakeezah was Meena Kumari’s last film and your voice and songs paid appropriate tribute to her.
34. I love you because you brought a touch of class and classical to the wild era of the 1970s, even when doing the most out there RD Burman songs.
35. I love you because your phrasing and delivery was perhaps at it’s peak in this era, our voice still with the high pure tones of a young woman, but the confidence of someone much older.
36. This is perhaps the best song of Pakeezah, purely for the words and music and your voice.
37. But look how this one works with the sound and rhythm of her anklets.
38. And our heroine’s introduction, in which we hear your voice before we see her face.
39. People forget that Pakeezah was more than just courtesan songs. You put on a lightness to your voice, for this song of pure girlish happiness.
40. What makes it really remarkable is that just the year you were doing Pakeezah, you were also doing this, my favorite light happy 70s song from a light happy 70s movie.
41. And of course when the plot of a film revolved around the shockingly beautiful voice of the heroine, it had to be you who sang for her.
42. In multiple films, you gave that pure perfect sound that captured the hero.
43. The 1970s are also when you won your first National Award. Not for any of the famous films mentioned before, but a small film with one outstanding song.
44. And then won it again two years later, for another cute Jaya Bhaduri flirting song.
45. You were also working increasingly with your brother-in-law RD Burman, providing a richer sound for his music.
46. I love you because your brother-in-law was RD Burman and in any other family, that would be the most famous thing about you. But in your family, it’s just as likely for people to say “RD Burman was Lata Mangeshkar’s brother-in-law” as the other way around.
47. I love you because you moved back into live performing after leaving it as a child, staging concerts all over the world beginning in the 1970s and continuing through to today.
48. I love you because in 1974, you were the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
49. I love you because somehow in the middle of your very very busy film schedule, you found the time to record folk songs and aartis and release them as their own albums.
50. I love you because by the end of the 1970s you had somehow gone from one of many popular film singers, to THE ONLY film singer.
51. In Yash Chopra’s unpopular masterpiece Silsila, you provided the voice of idealized love and longing.
52. You started the decade with Yash Chopra and the failure Silsila, and ended it with Yash Chopra and the super hit Chandni.
53. One of your songs from Chandni was so classic, that just last year it was part of a tribute in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
54. Of course, between Silsila and Chandni came another Yash Chopra brilliant flop, Lamhe. In which you had a chance to show your mastery of Rajasthani folk music.
55. One of your biggest hits of this era was something completely different, a story song lullaby, with a great name, “Zu Zu Zu”.
56. The 80s were an era of transition, from the older stars to the new generation. And you were part of that, your voice now being used for actresses like Madhuri.
57. And the new mature Dimple.
58. And Rati Agnihotri. In a song that was used in Internal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, an interesting bit of Hollywood trivia.
59. And Amrita Singh.
60. You helped introduce heroes too, decades after your first few hits were as the voice of his mother, you were the voice of Sanjay Dutt’s heroine.