Lata Mangeshkar, one of the most popular Indian singers was born on September 28, 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Her father,
Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a reputed classical singer and a disciple of the Gwalior school of music. Lata Mangeshkar shared
music lessons from the age of 5 with her other sisters Asha, Usha and Meena with her father being her Guru (teacher). She
later also studied with Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan.
Lata Mangeshkar's talent was recognised from an early age itself. When her father died in 1942, Lata being the eldest
child became responsible for the financial needs of the family. Between 1942 and 1948 she acted in Hindi and Marathi films.
She sang her first song as a playback singer in the 1942 Marathi film Kiti Hasaal but the song was edited out.
Lata Mangeshkar sang her first Hindi song as a playback singer with Aap Ki Sewa Mein (1947). She went on to sing for
Ghulam Haider in Majboor and Padmini. Her success came to light in 1949 when she had superhit songs in Naushad's Andaaz, Shankar
Jaikishan's Barsaat and Khemchand Prakash's Mahal. By 1950 Lata had taken over Hindi films. Rajkumari, Amir Bai Karnataki
and Noor Jehan had ruled the music scene prior to that. In fact in early songs Lata Mangeshkar seemed to adopt the Noor Jehan
style but soon switched to her own style. Her high-pitched singing became the style that everyone liked. Of the existing singers
only Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum managed to hold their own. Her sister, Asha Bhonsle, also came up around that time and
the two sisters dominated the music scene for decades.
Lata's talent to sing all types of songs lead to great success. She sang with all the top male and female playback artistes
of her time. Lata sang under the baton of all the top composers except O. P. Naiyar. Who can ever forget her songs for C.
Ramchandra in Anarkali, Albela or Azad. She had many hit songs for Madan Mohan in movies like Anpadh, Woh Kaun Thee, Mera
Saayaa, Haqueequat and Heer Ranjha. The 1960s and 1970s saw Lata grow strongly. Pandit Ravi Shankar picked her to sing the
beautifully melodious songs from Anuradha. She sang many many beautiful songs for S. D. Burman in movies like Abhiman, Aradhana,
Bandini, Dr. Vidya, Guide, Jewel Thief, Paying Guest, Prem Pujari, Teen Deviyan, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Tere Mere Sapne and
Filmfare started giving out Best Playback Singer Awards in 1958 and Lata Mangeshkar won the first one handed out for Madhumati’s
song “Aa jaa re pardesi”.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, was visibly moved to tears by Lata’s rendition of the
non-filmy patriotic number “Aye mere watan ke logon jaraa aankh mei bhar lo paani, jo shaheed hue hain unkee jaraa
yaad karo quurbaani” (the song means o people of my country, fill your eyes with tears as you remember the sacrifices
made by the martyrs).
She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1969.
The leading music directors of the 70’s-80’s Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyan Ji Anand Ji and R. D. Burman
offered her their best songs in movies such as Bobby, Ek Dooje Ke Liye, Prem Rog, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Haath Ki Safaai,
Kora Kaagaz, Mere Hamsafar, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Zanzeer, Aandhi, Amar Prem, Anamika, Heera Panna, Jheel Ke Us Paar, Kinara,
Mehbooba, Parichay and Sholay.
She had her first major show in London's Royal Albert Hall which was followed by many more shows in UK and USA. In the
mid 1980s, Lata drastically cut down on her singing though she still had hits like Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Henna, Chandni, 1942
A Love Story, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Dil To Paagal Hai). With the new music
director A. R. Rahman, Lata sang exquisite songs such as So Gaye Hain (Zubeida), Jiya Jale (Dil Se) and O Paalanhaare (Lagaan).
Yash Chopra asked her to come back and sing for Veerzara the songs that the Late Madan Mohan had composed 30 years ago. She
sang each song beautifully for Veerzara, proving that Yash Chopra was correct to insist that the songs had to be sung by no
one other than Lata Mangeshkar.
Today, Lata has busied herself with The Master Dinanath Hospital which was established in the memory of her father. She
enjoys watching cricket. She has designed jewelry studded with diamonds which happens to be her favorite gem. Lata continues
her love and devotion to music even though she rarely sings in public. Her fans hope that she will find songs worthy of her
and return to sing occasionally.
She has had sung so many beautiful songs that it is impossible to list all of them. What you see here is just a sample
of all that she achieved.