When Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan broke down as they met in the no man’s land between India-Pakistan
Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan shared a warm friendship with each other even though they lived miles apart.
Late singer Lata Mangeshkar, who passed away earlier this year, shared a warm friendship with Pakistani singer Noor Jehan. So much so that the two singers would chat on the phone for hours whenever they got a chance. On Annu Kapoor’s radio show Suhaana Safar, the actor once recollected an anecdote where the two esteemed singers met on the ‘no man’s land’ between India and Pakistan.
Kapoor said that this particular anecdote was mentioned in a book by music director C Ramchandra because he was witness to the same. The story goes that Lata didi was in Amritsar with Ramachandra to launch the music of a new film when she had the urge to speak with Noor Jehan.
Noor Jehan lived in Lahore, which isn’t very far away from Amritsar but the border between the two countries made that distance even longer. Ramchandra recalled that when Lata and Noor Jehan spoke on the phone, their conversation lasted for over an hour and they even sang songs for each other. “I saw this side of Lata for the first time. She looked so happy. It was like two sisters had reunited,” he said.
After their brief conversation, Lata expressed her desire to meet Noor Jehan but was told that at such short notice, they won’t be able to get the paperwork in order. Then, a loophole was discovered where the two singers could see each other without breaking any rules. It was decided that the two singers would meet in the no man’s land between India and Pakistan. This is the piece of land between Wagah in India and Attari in Pakistan, which does not belong to either country.
Lata left from Amritsar, and Noor Jehan left from Pakistan and the two met at the no man’s land near Amritsar. As soon as they saw each other, the two hugged tightly and broke down. Annu Kapoor quoted Ramchandra’s book and said, “When people around them saw them getting emotional, they also had tears in their eyes.”
Noor Jehan left India after the Partition and was known as Malika-e-Tarannum (Queen of Melody). During her initial days, Noor Jehan had heard Lata Mangeshkar sing and had predicted that she would turn out to be a phenomenal singer.
Lata Mangeshkar passed away in February 2022 at 92.