Updated: February 6, 2022 10:59:39 pm
Legendary singer and Bharat Ratna recipient Lata Mangeshkar passed away on Sunday in Mumbai. Known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, she has left behind a treasure trove of songs vocalised in her mellifluous voice, sung across a career that lasted for over 70 years. Lata, considered one of the greatest Indian playback singers, will live on through her melodies. Her solos and immortal duets with Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Mukesh, along with a legion of other prominent Indian singers, are among Hindi cinemas most memorable songs.
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the Nightingale of India:
1. Lata Mangeshkar was born in a family of performers
Lata Mangeshkar belonged to a family of performers. Her father ran a theatre company, and Lata grew up with a love of music. The aim of the sisters (Lata and Asha Bhosle) when they took up singing was to carry forward their father’s legacy. In an old interview with Stardust, she recalled the immediate reason for her vocation. She said, “It so happened that once my father asked his shagird (disciple) to practice a raag while he finished some work. I was playing nearby and suddenly a note of the raag that shagird was rendering, jarred. And the next minute, I was correcting him. When my father returned, he discovered a shagird in his own daughter.”
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2. Lata Mangeshkar’s first song was removed from the film
Lata recorded the first song of her career “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” in 1942 for a Marathi movie called Kiti Hasaal. But unfortunately, the song was removed from the film’s final cut.
3. Lata Mangeshkar once fainted while recording a song
Lata once fainted while recording a song with music composer Naushad. She revealed the same in an interview with Firstpost and said, “We were recording a song on a long hot summer afternoon. You know how Mumbai gets in summer. During those days, there was no air conditioning in the recording studios. And even the ceiling fan was switched off during the final recording. Bas, main behosh ho gayi (So I fainted).”
4. Lata Didi never listened to her own songs
Lata Mangeshkar once said while speaking to Bollywood Hungama that she does not listen to her own songs as if she did, she would find a hundred faults in her singing.
5. Her favourite music director was Madan Mohan
In Lata’s words, the best music director she worked with and with whom she had a special bond was Madan Mohan. She said in a 2011 collector’s item calendar called Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet, “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 listed ‘Woh chup rahe’ from Jahan Ara as their favourite collaboration with him.
6. Lata Mangeshkar served as a Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha
Lata had a brief tenure as an MP (Member of Parliament) from 1999 to 2005. She had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) in 1999. She described her tenure as an unhappy one and claimed she was reluctant to be inducted.
7. Lata’s fame extends way beyond Indian boundaries
Lata was not just an Indian singing legend. The lovers of her melodious voice could be found all over the world. She holds the honour of being the first-ever Indian to perform in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, London. The government of France conferred her with the Officer of the Legion of Honour in 2007, which is the country’s highest civilian award
8. Lata Mangeshkar once held a Guinness world record
The 1974 edition of The Guinness Book of Records had listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist. But the claim was contested by Mohammed Rafi. The book continued to list Lata’s name but also mentioned Rafi’s claim. The entry was removed in 1991 until 2011, in which Guinness put Lata’s sister as the most recorded artist. Currently, Pulapaka Susheela holds the honour.
9. Lata never worked with OP Nayyar in her career
In her long career, Lata worked with the greatest of Indian composers and music directors, but she never worked with OP Nayyar.
10. Lata Mangeshkar last recorded a song in 2019
Lata Mangeshkar recorded her last song ‘Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki’, which was composed by Mayuresh Pai, as a tribute to the Indian Army and nation. It was released on March 30, 2019.
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