Lata Mangeshkar was the inspiration for Raj Kapoor’s movie ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ released in 1978, but she didn’t appreciated certain things. Ritu Nanda, his daughter, had revealed the incident in her 2002 book titled ‘Raj Kapoor Speaks’.
In the book, Raj was quoted as saying “I visualised the story of a man falling for a woman with an ordinary countenance but a golden voice and wanted to cast Lata Mangeshkar in the role”. He believed that faith and love depended on a relationship’s purity and not on physical appearance. At first, Lata Mangeshkar agreed to star in the movie and later denied the offer.
In the autobiography of journalist Vir Sanghvi, he has recalled his meeting with the late filmmaker. Sanghvi recalls Raj Kapoor speaking about his film ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ in philosophical terms as “Take a stone. It is just a stone. But put some religious markings on it and it becomes God. It is how you see things that matters. You hear a beautiful voice. But only later do you discover that it comes from an ugly girl…”.
The filmmaker stopped and said “Take out the thing about ugly girl. Lata will get upset”. While the writer wrote providing context for his remark as “I knew what it was he was talking about. In the early publicity for Satyam Shivam Sundaram, he had declared that he had been inspired to make the movie by the contrast between Mangeshkar’s face and voice. She had (understandably) flown into a rage and refused to sing playback for the movie”.
However, the filmmaker was eventually able to convince her to sing for the movie.