Lata Mangeshkar: Voice of Indian cinema falls silent

India mourns its most successful singer


February 6, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Lata Mangeshkar: Voice of Indian cinema falls silent

Lata Mangeshkar, the legendary female singer of India died at the age of 92 in a hospital in Mumbai (Photo: PTI)

Lata Mangeshkar, the legendary singer reserving a spot in the hearts of every Indian through her song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon” passed away after prolonged illness in Beach Candy Hospital in Mumbai.

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The influential singer and music composer of Bollywood has sung over 30,000 songs in her career spanning over 70 decades. She was listed by Guinness World Records as the most recorded singer. She was a cultural icon who made her name not just in her country but on a global level as well. She was the first Indian to ever sing at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, London. 

Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 28, 1929, to Deenanath Mangeshkar, a Marathi and Konkani musician and theatre actor and his wife Shevanti Mangeshkar as ‘Hema’. Later her name was changed to Lata inspired by one of the characters of her father’s play ‘Latika’. She received her early teachings from her father, maternal grandfather and several maestros like Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan. 

After her early practice, she got her first playback performance at the age of 13 after her father’s demise due to an illness. Her first film recording was for a Marathi film called Kiti Hasal (1942) and she also acted in a Marathi film, Pahli Mangalagaur. In 1946, she recorded her first song for the movie Aap Ki Seva Mein, which was directed by Vasant Jogalekar. In the movie she sang a total of three songs in the movie namely, Ab Kaun Sunega Meri Man Ki Baat, Ek Naye Rang Me Duje Umang Me and Pa Lagoon Kar Jori Re Shyam. In 1945, Mangeshkar had an early hit in the song Aayega Aanewala from the film Mahal, starring Madhubala. From there, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice and career soared to the greatest of heights.

She sang raga-based compositions by Naushad in films like Baiju Bawra (1952), Mother India and Mughal-E-Azam, Shankar-Jaikishan’s melodic hits in Barsaat (1949) and Shree 420 (1955). In the 1950s and 1960s, she had worked with a few of the most notable music composers of the generation. She also worked with Anil Biswas, Madan Mohan, SD Burman, C Ramachandran, Khayyam, Rahul Dev Barman and many others. The singer also recorded her songs with a few of the greatest male playback singers such as Mukesh, Kishore Kumar,  Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey. 

In 1963, she performed the famed song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon at the National Stadium, New Delhi in presence of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The song was sung two months after the Indo-China War (1962) commemorating the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. The song was written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C Ramachandran. The song was so moving that Mangeshkar once recalled “At first I was nervous, thinking I have committed some mistake. But when I met Panditji (Nehru), I saw tears in his eyes. ‘Lata, tumne aaj mujhe rula diya’,” the singer said during an event in Mumbai held to mark the 51st anniversary of the occasion. Nehru reportedly said after the performance, “Those who don’t feel inspired by Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon don’t deserve to be called Hindustani.” Over the course of her career, Mangeshkar has sung well over 30,000 songs and in 1974, her name was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded voice in history. 

In 1969, she received Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civil awards in the country followed by the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1989 and Padma Vibhushan, another distinguished civilian award in 1999. In 2001 she received the Bharat Ratna. She won the National Award as Best Female Singer on three occasions, in 1973, 1975 and 1991. She also won multiple Filmfare awards such as Filmfare Special Awards in the years 1995 and 2004. She also received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. She has total of 4 Filmfare Best Female Singer for the years 1959, 1963, 1966 and 1970. 

Mangeshkar’s passing away  is being mourned across the world. India has declared two-day national mourning, while Maharashtra government declares Monday as a public holiday in her memory. 



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