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Lata Mangeshkar Biography

Posted On June 13th, 2015 By Celebrity Biographies

Lata Mangeshkar Biography

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar better known as “Nightingale of India” is one of the most respected playback singers in India. She started her singing career in the year 1942 and the glorious journey of hers still continues. Lata Mangeshkar even received the Bharat Ratna Award, which is India’s highest civilian honor, in the year 2001 for her priceless contribution to the music industry for more than half a dozen decades.

Born on September 28, 1929, Lata Mangeshkar is the daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar who was a theater actor and classical singer and to mother Shevanti also known as Shudhamati, who was Deenanath’s second wife. Initially, Deenanath’s family name was Hardikar but he later changed it to Mangeshkar, to identify themselves with their native town of Mangeshi, in Goa, India. Lata Mangeshkar’s parents originally named her “Hema” but after playing the famous character of “Latika” in her father’s play “Bhaaw Bhandhan” she was later addressed as “Lata”. She is the eldest of all her siblings followed by Meena, Asha, Usha and Hridaynath in that order.

Lata Mangeshkar took her early lessons from her father. She started singing from a tender age of 5. She gained the knowledge of music from the most renowned singers of that time, like Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan and later from Pandit Tulsidas Sharma. Lata Mangeshkar’s father died of a heart disease when she was just 13 years old. After his death, Master Vinayak (Vinayak Damodar Karnataki), the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of Mangeshkar family helped Lata get started with her singing and acting career.  In the year 1942, Vinayak gave her a small role in Navyug Chitrapat’s Marathi movie “Pahili Mangalaa-gaur“.  In that movie, Lata san a song composed by Dada Chandekar, called “Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai”. However her first Hindi song “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu” was in year 1943, in a Marathi movie called “Gajaabhaau“.

It was in the year 1945, that Lata Mageshkar moved to Mumbai, and started taking Hindustani classical lessons from Ustaad Amanat Ali Khan. However following the partition of India, Amanat Ali Khan migrated to Pakistan, so it was not viable to take any more lessons from him. So she continued her lessons under the guidance of Amanat Khan Devaswale and Pandit Tulsidas Sharma. Master Vinayak passed away in 1948 and the music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer and gave her first major break with the song “Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora” from the movie “Majboor”. This was after, when Lata Mangeshkar was rejected by producer Sashadhar Mukherjee who was then working on the movie “Shaheed” and he cited the reason for rejection that her voice is “too thin”. Agitated Ghulam Haider claimed that one day, producers and directors will fall on Lata’s feet and beg her to sing in their movies. Even in the year 2013, Lata Mangeshkar said that “Ghulam Haider is truly my Godfather. He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent.” In the year 1949, Lata Mangeshkar gave her first first major hit with the song “Aayega Aanewaala”, in the movie “Mahal”. The song was composed by music director Khemchand Prakash and lip-synced on screen by the very beautiful and talented actress “Madhubala”. After that, Lata Mangeshkar became a sensation and Ghulam Haider’s words came true. Everyone wanted Lata to sing for their movies. She has worked with the biggest music directors of India, and sung duets with the best of singers. Lata Mageshkar, in a span of seven decades, has sung songs for over thousand Hindi/Bollywood films and sung in 36 different Indian and foreign languages, although primarily in Hindi and Marathi.

In these glorious seven decades, Lata Mangeshkar was honored by multiple awards including Bharat Ratna (India’s Highest Civilian Award), Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989), Maharashtra Bhushan Award (1997), NTR National Award (1999), ANR National Award (2009), Three National Film Awards, and 12 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards and 4 Filmfare “Best Female Playback Singer” awards. In order to let fresh talent come forward she even gave up her Filmfare Best Female Playback in 1969 which was indeed very unusual gesture. In the year 1993, she was presented with “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Filmfare. The state governments of two Indian states “Madhya Pradesh” and “Maharasthra” have instituted a Lata Mangeshkar Award in honor of Lata Mangeshkar.

All has not been so well in her life though. Padma Sachdev who used to regularly visit Lata’s recordings revealed in her book named “Aisa Kahan Se Laaoon” about a very sad incident where Lata was being given slow poison in the year 1962, which deteriorated her health and she was bed-ridden for 3 months. It was a close brush with death as she became very weak due to this incident. The cook who used to work at home, suddenly left after this incident, without taking wages. It is said that this cook used to work with some influential people of Bollywood back in the days. Perhaps, the success of Lata Mangeshkar was too much to handle for some competitor and they took such a step. Bollywood famous lyricist “Majrooh Sultanpuri”, used to visit Lata at her home on daily basis. He used to taste the food first and only examining it, he used to let Lata eat that food. He would then recite poems and stories to her to keep her in good spirits by humor.

In the year 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in the history, stating that she had reportedly recorded “not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages” between 1948 and 1974. i.e. 25,000 songs in a span of 26 years. Some claimed that she has sung somewhere around 50,000 songs in her singing career but many believe it was exaggerated. This entry was later removed from The Guinness Book of Records due to lack of any documentary proof. The total proven recorded songs came out to be 5025 by the year 1991. To this Lata Mangeshkar herself stated that she does not keep a record of the number of songs recorded by her, and that she did not know from where Guinness Book editors got their information from. At present, this record according to The Guinness Book of Records, is held by Lata Mangeshkar’s younger sister, “Asha Bhosle”, who has been credited for recording up to 11,000 solo, duet and chorus-backed songs and in over 20 Indian languages since 1947, which is major feat for any singer.

On 27th January 1963, when India lost to China in the Indo-China war, Lata Mangeshkar sang the patriotic song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon Zara Aankh Me Barlo Pani” in the presence of the first Prime Minister of India, “Jawaharlal Nehru”. It is said that she moved him to tears when she sang the song.

Lata Mangeshkar has always been a simple, down to earth, gem of a person. Her trademark white sari draped casually and melodious voice defines the star she is. Apart from music, Lata Mangeshkar is really fond of perfumes and diamonds. She has even earned a privilege of having a permanent gallery reserved for her at Lord’s stadium from where she can enjoy the game of cricket whenever she gets time. She is undoubtedly the queen of playback singing for last seven decades and she has set a benchmark for generations to come. She is truly, “The Nightingale of India”.


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