Mother Teresa – to be declared Saint Teresa on that day – lived and worked in Kolkata, and is revered as a universal icon of peace, love and charity.
Inspired by the Mother herself, the Padma Shri winner will sing two songs, Lakh Lakh Hazar Hazar, written by Sunil Baran, and The Poorest of the Poor, a song which Uthup wrote on the day Mother Teresa died in 1997.
“I feel that the Mother is orchestrating this whole event from above. Or else, how could I get the rare privilege of working with her when she was alive and then witness her attaining sainthood at this historic event in Rome”, Uthup told Millennium Post.
Uthup worked for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, often mobilising funds for Prem Daan, Shishu Bhavan and Home for the Dying in Kalighat, Kolkata. On one occasion, Mother was visiting Uthup’s studio with the Cross in order to offer blessings. “We were travelling in the same car and then suddenly, Mother asked us to stop. She had seen a man dying on the road and wanted to take him to a hospital. I was stunned to see this diminutive, thin frame actually pick up the man and put him in the car. She had so much will power and strength of personality”, recalled Uthup.
Uthup will not being able to take her musicians along with her for the special performance in Rome but will use the track while singing. This is due to the contingent of around 350 VIPs, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is travelling from Kolkata to the Vatican to attend
Interestingly, Uthup will wear the traditional Indian sari on this august occasion, as she does during all her stage performances. But instead of her signature Kanjeevaram saris, Uthup will sport the white and blue sari that the Mother used to wear.
“The saris are being designed by two top designers of the city”, said Uthup. The singer used to often sings the Mother’s favourite songs to her, like Abide with Me, O Happy Day and Amazing Grace.