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.
I am anguished beyond words. The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people. pic.twitter.com/MTQ6TK1mSO
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.
Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hain, Gar Yaad Rahe…and how can one forget such a voice!
Deeply saddened by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji, my sincere condolences and prayers. Om Shanti 🙏🏻
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.
Lataji ..our national treasure no more ..her voice lit up our lives , gave us solace when we were sad , gave strength when we were low..Thank you Lataji and RIP🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/Z2yLedcNdw
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) February 6, 2022
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.
My earliest memories of music are of my father playing songs from movies like Aandhi, Sargam, Noori & Guide. These soundtracks have never dropped off my list of favourites.Along the way I added movies like Karz, Kabhi Kabhi, & Asha. There will never be another #LataMangeshkar RIP
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 6, 2022
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.
Received the sad news of Lata Mangeshkar ji’s demise. She remained the most beloved voice of India for many decades.
Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans.
My condolences to her family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/Oi6Wb2134M
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.
Heartbroken, but blessed to have known & loved this incredible soul…Lataji holds a place in our hearts that will never be taken by anyone else. That’s how profoundly she has impacted our lives with her music.
May she rest in peace & light up the heavens with her brightness 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/HjgIQyE7mo
— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) February 6, 2022
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.
देश की शान और संगीत जगत की शिरमोर स्वर कोकिला भारत रत्न लता मंगेशकर जी का निधन बहुत ही दुखद है। पुण्यात्मा को मेरी भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि। उनका जाना देश के लिए अपूरणीय क्षति है। वे सभी संगीत साधकों के लिए सदैव प्रेरणा थी।
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) February 6, 2022
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.
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) February 6, 2022
The singer was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan awards, as well as several National and Filmfare Awards.