Barely a year after his death, an unsavoury controversy has erupted around late singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika. In an interview with an Assamese TV channel, his estranged wife Priyamvada has claimed that Lata Mangeshkar “started a big affair with him”.
Ottawa-based Priyamvada’s insinuations about a romantic relationship between her late husband and the songstress have angered not only the Mangeshkar family, but also Kalpana Lajmi – the filmmaker who had been Hazarika’s companion for 40 years. Both parties have now decided to take legal action.
In the interview that was aired on Saturday, the octogenarian Priyamvada hinted that Lata was one of the reasons why she left her late husband 50 years ago. She even mentioned that the singer used to share one of the three bedrooms in their Tollygunge (Kolkata) flat whenever they’d be in the city. “He (Hazarika) told me one day, ‘Look Priyam, in India, if a musician wants to rise, his songs have to be sung by Lata Mangeshkar’. Later, when I asked him why he should be with a woman in the room the whole night, he said, ‘ketiaba koribo lage’ (sometimes you have to do it),” Priyamvada said in the interview.
From one octogenarian to another, it has not gone down well. Lata Mangeshkar retorted, “I am quite shocked at the lengths people can go to. I’ve met this lady only once in my life. I don’t know what she is talking about. I am definitely taking legal action.” It has been learnt that even Lajmi has decided to do the same.
Incidentally, fans of the late musician were aware of his affection for a ‘big artiste’ in Mumbai – thanks to his autobiography, in which he wrote how Priyamvada was in tears after seeing off the ‘big artiste’ at Kolkata airport. He wrote, “I asked Priyam what happened, and she said she didn’t like something which the woman had said. When I insisted, Priyamvada replied, ‘She said she loves you more than your parents and I do’.” But this is the first time someone has named the artiste in question