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The life & legacy of Lata Mangeshkar as she turns 91

Sep 28, 2020 09:09 IST

Known as the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar is one of the best singers of the Hindi film industry.  Lata who began her musical career in 1942 is today not only Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in the world but has sung in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages. Lata has given her voice to over a thousand Hindi films and was among few of the highest-paid singers of her time. 

Born on September 28, 1929, in Indore, Lata was actually named  Hema & was the eldest among five children, also renowned singers. Her father Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar an accomplished classical singer and stage actor renamed her Lata, after he got inspired by a character in one of his plays. Lata Mangeshkar is the elder sister of singers Asha Bhosle, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, and Meena Mangeshkar. 

Lata who started acting in her father’s musical plays since the age of five took lessons in classical music from maestros like Amanat Khan, Pandit Tulsidas Sharma and Aman Ali Khan Saheb. 

Lata Mangeshkar did not complete her education. She lost her father Pandit Dinanath, when she 13 years old and had to over the financial responsibilities of her family. 

Lata Mangeshkar made her singing Bollywood debut in the 1940's but she was soon rejected from many projects because her voice was too high-pitched and thin.  Lata even tried acting in as many as eight films due to the family's economic hardships 

Lata became famous after 1948's Ghulam Haider's Majboor became a superhit, followed by 1949's Mahal, Dulari 1949, Barsaat 1949, and Andaz 1949 all turned out to be big hits. Her unusually high-pitched singing rendered the trend of heavily nasal voices & changed the face of playback singing forever.


Though she never got married, the news of her links ups & fights often made it to the headlines. 

Lataji's relationship with S. D. Burman soured between 1958 and 1962 and the duo refused to work with each other because of a difference of opinion with Mohammed Rafi over the issue of royalty. 

Within her family, while there were no fights, Lata ji was often compared to her sister Asha Bhosle and often made it to the headlines for who was on the number one spot. 

Lata's Guinness Record made it to headlines in 1974 after Mohammed Rafi contested the statistics of her award as the most recorded artist in history. 

The Melody queen also hit the headlines when Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika's wife revealed that the duo had had an affair.  

Awards and Honors

Lata in her illustrious career as a playback, Music Composer or Producer has been awarded numerous awards and honors for her contribution to the Indian Cinema.  Lata was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1969, Dadasaheb Phalke Award 1989, Padma Vibhushan IN 1999, Maharashtra Bhushan Award 1997, NTR National Award 1999, and ANR National Award 2009. She was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's Highest Civilian Award in 2001. She HAS also won 3 National Film Awards and 12 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. Lata was also awarded Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.