Fondly termed as Didi and the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar rules a million hearts. One of the most popular playback singer in Bollywood’s history. She has sung for over 50 years for actresses fromÃ‚Â NargisÃ‚Â toÃ‚Â Kajol. She had recorded albums of all kinds (ghazals, pop, etc). Until the 1991 edition, when her entry disappeared, the Guinness Book of World Records listed her as the most-recorded artist in the world with not less than 30,000 solo, duet, and chorus-backed songs recorded in 20 Indian languages between 1948 and 1987. Today that number might have reached 40,000..!
Lata Mangeshkar (born on 28th September 1929), is the daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, (a theatre actor and classical singer) and Shevanti (Shudhamati). Her father started giving Lata singing lessons from the age of five, and she also studied with renowned singers Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan. Even at a young age she displayed a God-given musical gift and could master vocal exercises the first time.
When Lata Mangeshkar entered the film industry as a playback singer, she was rejected because in that era, singers like Noor Jehan and Shamshad Begum ruled the roost with their heavy nasal voices. Lata didi’s voice was considered too thin for that time. She acted in over eight films from the year 1942-1948 due to the sad demise of her father who passed away in 1942, leaving Lataji to fend for her family. With no success in these films, she debuted with playback singing for the Marathi film Kiti Hasaal (1942) but the song never saw the light of day as it was edited form the film.
However, in 1948, she got her big break withÃ‚Â Ghulam HaiderÃ‚Â in the filmÃ‚Â Majboor(1948), and 1949 saw the release of four of her films:Ã‚Â MahalÃ‚Â (1949),Ã‚Â DulariÃ‚Â (1949),BarsaatÃ‚Â (1949), andÃ‚Â AndazÃ‚Â (1949); all four of them became runaway hits, with their songs reaching to heights of what was until then unseen popularity. Her unusually high-pitched singing rendered the trend of heavily nasal voices of the day totally obsolete and, within a year, she had changed the face of playback singing forever. The only two lower-pitched singers to survive her treble onslaught to a certain extent wereÃ‚Â Geeta DuttÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â Shamshad Begum.
Her voice had a special versatile quality, which meant that finally music composers could stretch their creative experiments to the fullest. Although all her songs were immediate hits under any composer, it was the composersÃ‚Â C. Ramchandra andÃ‚Â Madan MohanÃ‚Â who made her sound her sweetest and challenged her voice like no other music director.
The 1960s and 1970s saw her go from strength to strength, even as there were accusations that she was monopolizing the playback-singing industry. However, in the 1980s, she cut down her workload to concentrate on her shows abroad. Today, Lata sings infrequently despite a sudden resurgence in her popularity, but even today some of Hindi Cinema’s biggest hits, includingÃ‚Â Dilwale Dulhania Le JayengeÃ‚Â (1995),Ã‚Â Dil To Pagal HaiÃ‚Â (1997), andÃ‚Â Veer-ZaaraÃ‚Â (2004) feature her legendary voice.
Lata Mangeshkar has been honored with innumerable awards but the one that truly deserves a special mention is that she is the only second singer in the non-classical category (after M.S Subbulakshmi) in India to have received the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna. She has received three national awards and eight Filmfare awards after which she stopped accepting awards in order to promote new talent. She continues to sing every now and then for Hindi movies and perform live. Truly a living legend, Lata Mangeshkar has a talent that is second to none.
Lata was not her original name. She was born as Hema but rechristened later as Lata after a famous character Latika from her father’s play Bhaaw Bandhan.
Lataji started singing at the age of five.
It is said that she moved India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears when she sang the song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, Zara Aankh Me Bhar Lo Pani.
Lataji believes that her voice suits actress Saira Banu’s the best!