Lata Mangeshkar once had the most appropriate answer when someone asked her about her perfume brand’s earnings

When Lata (perfumed) yelled, 'Can't I make some more money?!'
When Lata (perfumed) yelled, ‘Can’t I make some more money?!’ (Photo Credit – IANS)

Way back in 1999, the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar – who achieved immortality on Sunday – had made her first foray into exclusive merchandising.

She started with a signature perfume brand ‘Lata’, launched by a Thane-based company and manufactured by a Vapi-based chemical group.

A mega launch event was staged in a sea-facing suburban five-star hotel with the Mumbai paparazzi on full blast to cover and discover Lata Mangeshkar’s new fragrant ‘Lata’ brand spectacle.

As the gathering seemed restless, the show began – with our very own Lata Mangeshkar dressed in a sparkly sari, coming on stage – alongside the chairman, general manager, directors and others of the company Aqua P&C Ltd.

After a short presentation on ‘Lata – Eau De Parfum’, the enthusiastic media outlets fired off questions – mostly mundane – ranging from: “What is the color of the perfume, what is the scent like, the design of the bottle, price, . . . .. etc”.

The answers came, although Lata Mangeshkar herself seemed a little bored and the company’s top executives could see stifling yawns.

Back then at The Week magazine (the Malayala Manorama Group), this correspondent sat somewhere in the middle of the room, harboring slight concerns about his news story ‘content’ on the “Lata – Eau De Parfum”.

Finally he gathered courage – and the microphone, and got up with an innocent question, which later turned out to be akin to invading an area shunned by angels!

“Lata Mangeshkar… Recently actor Shah Rukh Khan had launched his own perfume brand and reported how much he earned from the venture… So I would like to know how much you get paid for ‘Lata’ perfume,” this correspondent asked. . .

Suddenly the whole media gaze turned to him and there was furious activity on stage, and Lata Didi diplomatically said she was not aware of the financial aspects, but the company chairman could shed more light.

As she threw the microphone into the stunned chairman’s hands, he stood up, mumbled something, and passed the “hot” microphone to the director next to him.

The confused MD half stood up to claim he was unaware of these aspects being handled by the CFO – and pushed the “burning” microphone at the stunned man.

While the correspondent — and the rest of the media — waited patiently for a juicy reply, the chief financial officer took his time and stood up almost trembling.

But he gathered his wits a little and said softly that “the financials of the deal are still not settled…” but assured the media, when he was done, would be properly informed.

Very disappointed, this correspondent stood his ground and stood his ground.

Finally, Lata Mangeshkar graciously came to the rescue of the party, taking the microphone and using her soft voice to magically defuse the situation.

“Aap ne mujhe Didi kaha hai… Monkey to mere chhote bhai jaise ho…Kya aapko achha nahin Lagega agar aapki Badi Didi kuchh aur paise kamaye toh?” said Lala Didi with her bewitching smile, as the gentlemen of the party breathed a visible sigh of relief.

Well… this correspondent bravely surrendered to Lata Didi’s charms – lock, butt and barrel – and the organizers hurriedly announced lunch to prevent any more lightning bolts from arriving at the launch.

Needless to say, the media of the following days prominently “covered up” the incident and attempts to “discover” the deal.

Years later, well-known diamond merchant and Bollywood moneybags Bharat Shah had relaunched the ‘Lata – Eau De Parfum’, but its current status is not clear.

Incidentally, alongside the late Lata Didi, stars like Zeenat Aman, Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty make up the handful of elite Bollywood celebs with scents dedicated to them by international brands.

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