Acclaimed singer Lata Mangeshkar breathed her last at Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai on Sunday. She was 92. The singer, called the Nightingale of India, was admitted to the hospital in January with Covid-19 and pneumonia.
Daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti Mangeshkar, Lata belonged to a musical family. Her father was a well-known Marathi musician and theatre artiste. She was first tutored by her father and later appeared as a child artiste in several of his plays.
Lata Mangeshkar recorded her first Hindi song called “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu” for the Marathi feature Gajaabhaau, which had released in 1943. Later, she went on to collaborate with some of the most popular names of the Hindi music industry, including the likes of Anil Biswas, Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad Ali and SD Burman among others.
She has lent her voice to songs in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and other regional languages. She has been honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan as well as several National and Filmfare Awards.
Born on September 28, 1929 in Madhya Pradesh, Lata Mangeshkar had music in her genes. Her father Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar was a Marathi musician and a theatre actor. During her lifetime, Mangeshkar worked with music greats from various generations as she delivered iconic numbers that remain relevant to this day. Known for her versatility, Mangeshkar dabbled in other film industries as well.
After Lata Mangeshkar moved to Mumbai,she was mentored by Master Vinayak, a filmmaker of the 1930s and Ghulam Haider. She went on to nurture a special relationship with composer Madan Mohan, with whom she delivered some of her most memorable songs. “I shared a special relationship with Madan Mohan, which was much more than what a singer and a music composer share. This was a relationship of a brother and a sister,” she said later, calling “Woh chup rahe” from Jahan Ara as their favourite collaboration.
She had a similar relationship with Yash Chopra, and their collaboration yielded such hits as Dhool Ka Phool, Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila and Dil Toh Pagal Hai. She also worked with Chopra’s son, Aditya, on Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. Perhaps, Dilip Kumar, whom she addresses as her older brother, said it best when he remarked, “None have been able to equal Lata’s refinement. It is very difficult for anyone to compete with her because she has invested so heavily in every person who cares for music – there’s such a lot of Lata Mangeshkar in everyone.”
Mangeshkar was conferred with three National Awards, and was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989. In 2001, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna for her contribution to the arts, thereby becoming the second vocalist to receive this honour apart from late Carnatic music giant M S Subbulakshmi. She was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan.
Apart from lending her voice to several popular tracks, Lata Mangeshkar has also been credited as a music director. She composed music for Mohityanchi Manjula (1963), Maratha Tituka Melvava (1964), Sadhi Manase (1965) and Tambadi Mati (1969).
Mangeshkar has also produced a handful of films such as Vaadal, Jhaanjhar, Kanchan Ganga and Lekin.
Lata Mangeshkar famously never married. She is survived by her four younger siblings — Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, Meena Khadikar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.