'Nightingale of India' legacy lives on at superfan's museum

By: AFP
Published: 06:54 PM, 8 Feb, 2022
'Nightingale of India' legacy lives on at superfan's museum
Caption: In this picture taken on February 7, 2022, Gaurav Sharma, superfan of late Bollywood playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, reads one of his collection at his home museum where he has meticulously catalogued thousands of compact discs, films and books featuring the singer, in Meerut.
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Beloved Bollywood superstar Lata Mangeshkar's legacy has been kept alive at a home museum in India curated by one of the much-mourned singer's biggest admirers.

Mangeshkar was known as the "Nightingale of India" and her high-pitched melodies were an instantly recognisable feature of the country's cinema, with her work appearing in more than 1,000 films.

The 92-year-old died Sunday and her body was cremated later that day in a Mumbai park, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the mourners laying flowers on her funeral pyre.

News of her death devastated Gaurav Sharma, a lifelong superfan who recalled meeting the songstress at her home nearly a decade ago.

"When I saw her for the first time, I felt she had some kind of incandescent glow around her," the 38-year-old told AFP.

"She was so simple and down to earth. We talked for a long time. I got a lot of love from her."

Sharma maintains what could be the world's largest collection of Mangeshkar memorabilia at his house in the city of Meerut, where he has meticulously catalogued thousands of compact discs, films and books featuring the singer.

A teacher by profession, Sharma also has samples of the singer's perfume, movie posters and almost every article on Mangeshkar that has ever appeared in print.

"I even have the recording from 1974 when she sang at London's Royal Albert Hall," Sharma said in an interview.

"She appeared in only one advertisement, which was for a cough syrup in the early days of her career, and I have that."

The singer's death cast a pall of gloom over the Sharma home, and he told AFP he could barely contain his tears at the news.

But Sharma said he was taking heart from the fact that she would "continue to live amongst us" through the thousands of songs she sang over her storied career.

"Obviously I am devastated... But the show must go on," he said.

"The body has its limits. But she will remain with us until this universe exists."

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.