Lata Mangeshkar

The Guinness Book of World Records listed Lata Mangeshkar – the legendary Bollywood singer as the most-recorded artist in the world with not less than 30,000 solo and duet songs. Today, the number might have increased and reached 40,000. The grand old lady recorded in 20 Indian languages between 1948 and 1987.


Lata Mangeshkar’s entry in Bollywood was ridden with many difficulties. Before she was accepted by music-directors, she was rejected by many of them. At that point of time, Shamshad Begum and Noor Jehan were dominating the film industry, and their individual style of singing and their type of voices were in vogue for the heroines of that era.


Lata Mangeshkar was born in Indore in 1929. Her father, Dinanath Mangeshkar owned a theatre company, and in his own right he was a classical singer. Lata was tutored by him from the age of five. She was also trained by singers: Aman Khan and Amanat Khan. It is said that Lata was God-gifted with inborn talent; she could grasp a vocal exercise by listening to it – only once.


In 1942, Lata Mangeshkar’s father passed away – leaving the family in a difficult financial state. The brunt of earning majorly fell upon Lata.


Between 1942 and 1948 she began acting in Hindi and Marathi films, in order to bring some income for her family. These were very hard times for all of them as Lata Mangeshkar looked for singing assignments – going from pillar to post.


As a playback singer, Lata Mangeshkar’s first song was in the Marathi film Kiti Hasaal in 1942, but, unfortunately, the song was edited out!


From 1948 onwards – the young girl began to get success. Her first break came in the films: Majboor (1948), Mahal (1979), and Andaz (1979). Now the singer had established herself as all her songs became runaway hits.


If the veteran singer’s professional graph is to be seen, it was the highest, especially, from the years between 1960’s to 1980’s – this was the period when her career went from leap to leap to reach the peak.


Initially, it was the composers C. Ramchandra and Madan Mohan who majorly brought out the sweetest effect – their compositions enhanced the natural magic in her voice. Initially, Lata was influenced by the style of Noor Jehan, but later she followed her own way of rendering.


Her later films were Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), and Veer-Zaara (2004).


Lata Mangeshkar has won many prestigious awards. Among those are: Padma Bhushan in 1969, Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1989, Padma Vibhushan in 1999, Bharat Ratna in 2001. In 2008, ‘One Time Award for Lifetime Achievement’ was awarded to her to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of India’s Independence.


In the years 1972, 1974, 1990 – the singer received National Film Awards for Best Female Singer for her songs of the films: Parichay, Kora Kagaz and Leikin, respectively.


Lata Mangeshkar has received numerous Filmfare Awards from 1958 onwards.


Apart from the above awards, International recognition has followed her from Toronto, Texas, Guyana and Suriname.


Today, at the age of 86, she has stopped singing – but her voice is timeless, and no one can replace the Queen. She is a Queen beyond all queens!


It is true that Lata Mangeshkar has remained as the reigning star for the longest time in the history of Indian light vocal music. She will be remembered as the most renowned female playback singer in the Indian film industry.


Lata Mangeshkar lives in Mumbai-India.

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