New Delhi:Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar who is an avid cricket fan, is amongst a few who watched the 1983 world cup final from the galleries of Lords and she cherishes the memories of her concert for the team as "very close " to her heart.
The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) has invited the Bharat Ratan awardee to the silver jubilee celebration of India's World Cup triumph, to be held in New Delhi on Sunday. She has, however, refused the invitation citing ill health.
The legendary singer admits that she can forget neither the World Cup final nor her 1983 concert in the national capital, which was organised to raise funds for the winning team.
"I watched the final at the Lords. I could not believe that we had won the World Cup defeating two-time champion West Indies. Naturally, being an Indian I felt very proud of the achievement," said Lata in an interview to PTI.
"I had invited Kapil Dev and his team for dinner before the match in my hotel. I wished them best of luck and after that our team created history."
Lata was in London for a concert during World Cup 1983 and she was desperate to watch the final match after Kapil's boys won the semifinal.
She performed in 1983 to raise funds for the winning team through a special concert following their triumph in the quadrennial extravaganza for the first and only time. She did it free of cost. The concert, held in Indraprastha Stadium, raised Rs 20 lakh and each team member received one lakh.
Two decades later, Jagmohan Dalmiya who headed the BCCI in 2003, repaid the debt to Lata by a fund-raising match for her Pune hospital. The match was held after the 2003 World Cup when the Sourav Ganguly-led Indian team reached the final.
"The duration of the concert was 4 hours. I remember that all the members of the team had sung a song with me, especially composed by my brother Hridaynath. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were standing beside me," remembers the melody queen.
"After winning the trophy Kapil Dev had invited me for a dinner with the Indian team in London. I went there for a while and congratulated the team," she said.
She said that after the concert in Delhi, she had to fly back to London for a show, thus could not get a chance to meet the players.
When asked about her favourite player, she said, "Undoubtedly Sunil Gavaskar. He was the number one. Kapil is also amongst my favourites and how can I forget Sachin. He is the God of cricket. He is the favourite of all cricket lovers."
Lata still has that enthusiasm and love for cricket. She watches all matches played by India and defeats still upset her a lot.
"Team India lost in the first round in 2007 World Cup. I felt very bad but it is part and parcel of the game. I followed the IPL also and backed the Mumbai Indians for obvious reasons," she said.
She thinks that the changes in the game in the last 25 years are for the better.
"Why cricket only, everything has changed including music. I don't see any harm in it. It is natural and for the good," she said.
Which song of hers would she like to dedicate to 1983 World Cup winners?
"It has to be Vande Mataram."