Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

Lata Mangeshkar no more: Some little-known facts about the ‘Nightingale of India’

Born 'Hema Mangeshkar' on September 28, 1929, her contribution to Indian music has spanned seven decades, earning her many monikers, including that of 'Queen of Melody'.

Lata Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar death, singer Lata Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar songs, Lata Mangeshkar legacy, Lata Mangeshkar facts, Lata Mangeshkar family, Lata Mangeshkar singing career, Lata Mangeshkar tributes, Lata Mangeshkar health, Lata Mangeshkar news, indian express newsThe legendary singer passed away on Sunday morning in Mumbai. (Photo: PTI)

Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, hailed as the ‘Nightingale of India’, passed away at the age of 92 in Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital on Sunday, February 6, 2022. She had been ailing for a while now, and was admitted to the hospital in January upon testing positive for Covid-19; she was also diagnosed with pneumonia.

The news of her demise was confirmed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari — one that has overwhelmed the nation. Tributes have been pouring in on social media ever since, with people remembering her rich legacy, her rousing voice and everything else that she leaves behind.

Lata Mangeshkar was born ‘Hema Mangeshkar’ on September 28, 1929. Her contribution to Indian music has spanned seven decades and earned her many monikers, including that of ‘Queen of Melody’. She was considered to be one of the most powerful voices of Indian playback singing, lending it to many leading actors through the years.

Mangeshkar has sung in over 36 Indian languages and some foreign languages as well, though predominantly, it was in Hindi and Marathi that we heard her the most.

Her list of awards is unending, and among them, she received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989 and the Bharat Ratna award — India’s highest civilian honour — in 2001. She is only the second vocalist, after M S Subbulakshmi, to receive this honour. Not only this, France also conferred on her its highest civilian award, the ‘Officer of the Legion of Honour’, in 2007.

Prior to this, in 1974, the singer became the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Born in Indore, she was the eldest daughter of Deenanath Mangeshkar, who was a Marathi and Konkani musician, and his wife Shevanti. Mangeshkar has four siblings as well: Meena Khadikar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

She received her first lesson in music from her father, and at the age of five, she started working as an actor in his musical plays — ‘sangeet natak‘ — in Marathi. Her family had adopted the surname ‘Mangeshkar’ to identify with their native town Mangeshi in Goa.

When she was merely 13, Mangeshkar’s father died of a heart disease, after which, her career as an actor and singer started. She was helped by Master Vinayak (real name: Vinayak Damodar Karnataki), the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company. She recorded her first Hindi song, ‘Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu‘ for the Marathi feature Gajaabhaau, which was released in 1943.

Two years later, in 1945, she moved to Mumbai with Master Vinayak’s company. There, she would take lessons in Hindustani classical music from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana. When Vinayak died in 1948, music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer, and even introduced her to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who dismissed her voice and called it “too thin”. This irked Haider, who is said to have prophesied that one day, film producers and directors would “fall at [her] feet” and “beg her” to sing for them.

Many years later, in September 2013, the singer declared Haider to be “truly [her] Godfather”.

Her singing was once likened to another acclaimed singer Noor Jehan, but over the years, Mangeshkar developed her own style. In 1949, she gave one of the major hits of her career with ‘Aayega Aanewala‘ from the movie Mahal (1949).

She dominated the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, working with leading music directors like Anand-Milind, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Anu Malik, Aadesh Shrivastava and A R Rahman, to name a few.

In the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, she lent her voice to many famous Yash Chopra films like Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Darr (1993), Yeh Dillagi (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Mohabbatein (2000), Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (2002), Veer-Zaara (2004), etc.

The singer was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan awards, as well as several National and Filmfare Awards.

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First published on: 06-02-2022 at 11:25:57 am
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