A few days back we shared with you all the hilarious clip of Sugandha Mishra at the 7th Royal Stag Mirchi Music Awards doing a pretty dead-on impression of the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. Sugandha has done impressions of Lataji in the past, but this particular skit was longer. Although most of the industry seemed entertained by the sketch, there were some from the music industry who took offense to her doing the impression. Of those who were offended are Alka Yagnik and Lalit Pandit, who felt Lataji was disrespected. Alkaji said the following in a statement, “I didn’t like it. It was not in good taste. And it went on and on. This is what the music industry has come to, disrespecting their very own Bharat Ratna. Kam se kam, Lataji ko toh baksh dena tha. Shame on them.” However, if you watch the clip, you can see that most of the music fraternity (and audience) is truly enjoying her impression and are taking the mimicry the way it was intended to be – as a simple funny skit!
Here in the United States, artists often poke fun at senior actors/actresses/musicians, without it turning into such an ordeal. For example, we see so many people doing impressions of legends like Michael Jackson, Elvis, Madonna, and more. Just visit Vegas to see just to what extent comedians and impressionists go to! Doing a sketch of an artist doesn’t mean one is disrespecting them or dishonoring them. So, at least to me, seeing someone do an impression of Lataji, didn’t seem so offensive. Yes, Lataji is a legend (and one of my all-time favorite singers), and yes, she is highly respected in music, but this was a comedy sketch as part of a stage function. It was not like Sugandha had made a sketch whose content was crude. For example, no vulgar language was used in the sketch, nor were any vulgar gestures made. It’s not like Sugandha was twerking or anything, while dressed as Lataji! Instead, Sugandha even dressed modestly, like the legend herself. She wasn’t doing the impression, while wearing a skimpy bikini or anything. It seemed like the sketch was meant simply to entertain and showcase Sugandha’s impression skills.
When approached by about whether or not she thought it was right of her to do the mimicry, Sugandha said,
“Firstly, I think people should develop a sense of humor. I don’t think I disrespected or dishonored Lataji. I adore her a lot and have grown up admiring her. Mimicry is an art form. Mimicry is no harm, but If I would have sung badly, I would have been at fault.”
Furthermore, she didn’t think Lataji would be offended. In fact, Sugandha stated that when she was on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, and had done a similar Lataji impression, the legend actually loved it. Sugandha shared that Lataji “texted me saying she loved my act. And in today’s time every artist imitates each other but that doesn’t mean he or she disgraces the person. The mimicry was a tribute to her.”
If even Lataji wasn’t offended by mimicry, I think the industry needs to relax a bit and find their funny bone! Gotta love Lataji for taking the mimicry in stride and not getting offended! Plus, doing mimicry is the least of India’s problems. The country should really be focusing more on more pressing issues like extreme pollution, population control, poverty, and rape.