There was hardly any music composer in India who hadn’t wished to have at least one song sung by the legendary vocalist Lata Mangeshkar, in their movies. However, it might be surprising to learn that a renowned music composer in Bollywood had never associated with Lata. It was none other than the exceptionally talented Omkar Prasad Nayyar who had composed hundreds of evergreen songs. Moreover, he had created lots of hits with Lata’s sister Asha Bhonsle. Nayyar even refused to receive an award instituted by the Madhya Pradesh government in Lata’s name. The rivalry and bitterness between Nayyar and Lata have been so intense that they never patched up.
More than petty rivalry the duo had hatred and enmity between each other. Lata was roped in to sing in the movie ‘Aasmaan’ which was Nayyar’s first movie as an independent composer. However, Lata failed to show up for the recording even after Nayyar and his background musicians waited for hours. That was the beginning of the infamous enmity between two great musicians. Nayyar vowed that Lata would never sing in his movie. However, Lata had claimed that she couldn’t reach Nayyar’s studio as she got busy with another recording. This incident had happened in the beginning of 1950s. Even after decades, the enmity between the duo didn’t subside. Instead, it kept getting intense like aging wine. They took pot shots at each other whenever they got the chance. Even though Lata had quarrelled with many other musicians and singers in her career, she managed to forget everything and restore the relationship. However, in Nayyar’s case, both parties refused to end their enmity.
Her rivalry with Mohammed Rafi was quite famous. They had locked horns over the issue of royalty. They were on opposite sides in the issue that had rocked the Hindi cinema industry. Lata was of the opinion that the singers too should get royalty. However, Rafi insisted that a singer had no rights to earn money over a song after receiving the remuneration once. Meanwhile, Lata’s sister Asha Bhonsle supported Rafi. Due to this bitterness, Lata and Rafi didn’t sing together from 1963 to 1967. Many see it as a dry patch in the history of Hindi music industry. It was RD Burman who took the initiative to make things work between Lata and Rafi. Following the patch up, the duo created many spectacular hits together for many more years.
Lata’s enmity with singer MG Durrani began in 1949 when they were at the recording studio to record a romantic track for composer Naushad. A comment that Durrani had made about Lata’s neck chain didn’t go down well with the legendary singer. Lata was adamant that she wouldn’t sing unless Durrani was replaced. Finally, Naushad had to give in. Sadat Khan, a newcomer was brought in, to sing that song with Lata. Unfortunately, that incident turned out to be beginning of the fall of Durrani, who had been a busy and accomplished singer until then.