Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar: Biography

India’s legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar passed away at the age of 92 on Sunday at 8.12 am. The veteran singer was hospitalised at Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital after she tested positive for COVID-19 in early January.

Lata Mangeshkar was undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital. Her niece informed to the media that she has mild symptoms and has been kept in ICU only for precautionary reasons considering her age.

A week ago, the doctors also informed that her condition was getting better. However, today the legendary Indian playback singer passed away, leaving a void in everyone’s heart.

Lata Mangeshkar was born in September 28, 1929 in Indore. Her contribution to the Indian film and music industry is massive, as both a singer and a music director. She has recorded songs in over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over thirty-six Indian and a few foreign languages. She is one of India’s most respected playback singers and has even had Dadasaheb Phalke award bestowed on her in 1989, by the Government of India.

Apart from that, she has also received the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, for her contribution to the nation. She was the second vocalist to receive the honour after M. S. Subbulakshmi.

Lata’s father, Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a noted Marathi stage personality popularly known as Master Dinanath. Being the eldest of five siblings, Lata took it her responsibility to look after her brothers and sisters. She was introduced to music at an early age and recorded her first song at age 13 for a Marathi film Kiti Hasaal. Even though her song did not make the final edit, she did not give up and practised harder to later succeed in life.

Lata and her siblings belong to the Gwalior Gharana, hence, her training started at the age of five by her father. She has also been taught by the finest maestros such Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan.

As a teenager she struggled a lot to support for her family and become a playback singer in the 1940’s Hindi film industry. However, after Lata recorded her first hit song “Uthaye ja unke sitam” in Andaz (1949), her life changed for good. From that point onward, she was approached by every music director to sing as a playback singer for every major leading lady in Bollywood. She has voiced the musical parts for B-Town actresses of several generation such as from Nargis and Waheeda Rehman to Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta.

Among her concert performances, Lata also came up with a war time rendition of the poet Pradeep’s patriotic song “Ae mere watan ke logo,” which moved the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears.

In 1999, Lata was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, two year before she was honoured with the Bharat Ratna award.

Lata Mangeshkar’s sister Asha Bhosle is also a noted playback singer.

In 1974, the Guinness Book of Records ranked her as the most recorded artiste in history. She had reportedly sung over 25,000 songs between 1948 and 1974.

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