Lata Mangeshkar turns 91: Anecdotes from the legend’s life

Lesser known stories about the iconic playback singer

Culture

September 28, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

Lata Mangeshkar turns 91: Anecdotes from the legend’s life

Lata Mangeshkar has long been a household name not just in India but in several countries around the world (Photo: Facebook/Lata Mangeshkar)

Known as the Nightingale of Bollywood and fondly called Lata Didi (elder sister), Lata Mangeshkar turns 91 today. Even while her melodies echo around the world, she has kept her personal life away from the spotlight.

Having sung songs in more than 35 Indian languages for over half a century, Lata Mangeshkar has long been a household name not just in India but in several countries around the world. For more than 73 years now, Mangeshkar has regaled music listeners with her mellifluous voice. Popular film magazine-Stardust, called it ‘the Mangeshkar monopoly.’

She was born on September 28, 1929, to classical singer and theatre artist Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Her father started teaching her music at an early age. By the time she was five, Lata was seen participating as an actress in plays written by her father. Her siblings – Meena, Asha, Usha, and Hridaynath – are all accomplished singers and musicians.

Though she started her career in 1942 with the song Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu in a Marathi film named Gajaabhaau, her first major break was with the song Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora for the Hindi film Majboor in 1948. From there, Lata did not have to look back again.

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar was the first Indian artiste to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London (Photo:Facebook/Lata Mangeshkar)

In a career spanning nearly eight decades, Lata Mangeshkar is the singing voice for a bevy of Bollywood leading ladies. She has sung over 25,000 songs in over 1000 Hindi and 36 regional films. Over the years, she has sung for actresses from Madhubala to Priyanka Chopra. Best known for her versatile voice quality, she has recorded albums of all kinds from ghazals to pop music.

Lata Mangeshkar was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989. A recipient of Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian award) in 2001, Padma Bhushan (India’s third highest civilian award) in 1969 and Padma Vibhushan (India’s second highest civilian award) in 1999.

The Indian government honoured her with the ‘Daughter of the Nation’ award on her 90th birthday, last year, in September 2019.

On the occasion of her birth anniversary, here is a collection of lesser known stories from the artiste’s life.

Acting career

After he father’s death in 1942, she tried her hand at acting until 1948 and acted in eight films. 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 from the film.

Global fame

The legendary singer’s fame goes far beyond Indian shores. In 1974, she became the first Indian to perform in the Royal Albert Hall, London. She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by six universities, including the New York University.

France conferred its highest civilian award (Officer of the Legion of Honour) on her in 2007.

Honorary products

In 1999, the perfume Lata Eau de Parfum was launched by film financier Bharat Shah
(Photo:latamangeshkar.com)

In 1999, the perfume Lata Eau de Parfum was launched by film financier Bharat Shah, which went on to become the first product endorsed by the singer.

She also designed for an Indian diamond export company called Adora. The collection was called Swaranjali and five pieces from this collection were auctioned at Christie’s, a popular British auction house in London.

Political career                 

In 1999 she was nominated as a Member of Parliament. However, due to ill health, the noted singer could not attend the sessions in Rajya Sabha which drew a lot of criticism.

The controversies died with the revelation that she did not take any salary or perks like a house in Delhi during her term.

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