Lata remembers veteran Marathi composer Khale

Mumbai: Lata Mangeshkar remembers veteran Marathi composer Shrnivas Khale, who died early Friday, as the one who brought her and maestro Bhimsen Joshi together to record one historic album.

?I just spoke to him a week back. We were supposed to do another album together. He had all the songs ready. Now he`s gone!," Lata said.

Khale passed away at his residence in Thane early Friday due to old age related ailments, a family source said. He was 85.

"My family and I were very close to Khale sahab. He lived very far away, in Thane. He kept calling me to come home. Lekin main jaa na saki (But I could not go)," she said.

She recalled they did "two very fine Marathi albums - `Tukaram` and `Ram Shyam Gungaan`."

"During that time, Khale sahab used to work at HMV. He used to be in-charge of the Marathi section. The songs that he composed are hummed to this day. He didn`t compose for Hindi films. He was very happy to bring me and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi together in `Ram Shyam Gungaan`. All the songs in this album were written by Pandit Narendra Sharma, whom I used to call `Papa`."

"When Khale sahab proposed an album with Pandit Joshi, I got a bit scared of singing with a classical vocalist. Khale sahab promised I wouldn`t be uncomfortable."

"When Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and I recorded the number `Ram ka gungaan kariye`, Khale sahab put a wooden partition between us so that we don`t feel uncomfortable looking at each other...Meri to daal patli ho gayi thi. Main bahut darr gayi thi," Lata recalled.

Lata said Khale was very close to her entire family.

"He persuaded my composer-brother Hridaynath to sing two Marathi songs which are popular to this day. Khale Saab never copied any composer. To sing his songs was very difficult for us singers. But to have another singer sing them later was out of the question. He was very outspoken."

"Once a singer requested Khale Saab to do an album like my `Tukaram`. He retorted, `You`re not fit to stand where Lata takes off her chappal before recording`," she recalled.

Lata said in recent years Khale was in a great deal of pain.

"Unko bahut taqleef thi. He suffered from Parkinson`s (disease), also a heart problem. He has three daughters. The youngest daughter really looked after Khale sahab when he was ill. Khale sahab was unique in Marathi music.?