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A voice that will live forever
The ‘Nightingale of India’, ‘Voice of Millenium’ and ‘Queen of Melody’ Lata Mangeshkar left everyone with moist eyes on 6th February 2022. It was also the day of ‘Saraswati puja visarjan’. People believed that Goddess Saraswati took her favorite child with her. Every music lover is in vain of such humongous grief of losing such a magnificent personality. Let us throw some light on her life and some unknown aspects.
Story behind her name
Lata Mangeshkar was born on 28 September 1929 in Indore as the eldest child in a Maharashtrian Brahmin family. She was given the name ‘Hema’. Her father Deenanath Mangeshkar was a Marathi, Konkani musician and a renowned personality himself. Her mother was the second wife of his father after the death of the first one. In Goa, Mangeshi was the native town of this family. Lata’s paternal grandfather was a priest there. Her father adopted their surname ‘Mangeshkar’ from his village. In his father’s play, ‘Bhaav Bandhan’, a character was named ‘Latika’. So, little Hema was now renamed as ‘Lata Mangeshkar’.
Singing entered her life-
While narrating a story, Asha Bhosle told that - “Lata di was fond of me. She used to take me everywhere. She could not leave me for a while. She also took me to her school on her first day. Teachers told her that bringing siblings is not allowed in school. We both came back crying. Our father saw us and said that we need not to worry because our father will teach us music himself”.
The Mangeshkar family got a huge setback when Deenanath Mangeshkar passed away. Lata was only 13 at that time. Her father’s close friend and owner of a movie company ‘Navyug Chitrapat’, Vinayak Karnataki helped the family and also shaped the music career of Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata got her first song "Naachu Ya Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari" in a Marathi movie Kiti Hasaal in 1942. Due to some reasons this song was not put in the film. Lata also acted in Marathi film 'Pahili Mangalagaur' in 1942. In the very next year, she also debuted in the arena of Hindi songs by ‘Mata ek sapoot ki duniya badal de’ in a Marathi movie Gajaabhaau.
Mangeshkar family shifted to Mumbai in 1945 with the Navyug company. She started learning Hindustani classical music from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhindibazaar gharana. After 3 years, Vinayak Karnataki died and Gulaam Haider became her new torch bearer. Haider met Sashadhar Mukherji who was making the film Shaheed in 1948 and asked him to give chance to Lata’s singing. But Mr. Mukherji tagged her voice ‘very thin’. Haider became very angry and warned him that in the upcoming years, producers and directors will fall on Lata’s feet for singing. Few years ago, Lata Mangeshkar called Mr. Haider, her ‘godfather’ who showed complete faith in her singing talent.
Lata’s first watershed moment came in her life with the song ‘dil mera toda’ in the film Majboor. The song gave limelight to Lata Mangeshkar.
When Dilip Kumar disapproved Lata’s voice
Once, actor Dilip Kumar showed dissatisfaction with Lata’s voice for singing Urdu lyrics. So, she realized the requirement to take Urdu lessons from a teacher called ‘Shafi’ for the betterment of singing Hindi songs that contained Urdu lyrics. She sang multiple songs in multiple films with various music composers. ‘’Dil hoom hoom kare’ of Bhupen Hazarika’ was a superhit song with the highest collection in 1993.
In 1949 her song ‘aayega aanewala’ in the film ‘Mahal’ became a major hit.
After this, she didn't turn back. She bagged her first Filmfare award as playback singer in 1949 for song ‘aaja re pardesi’ in the film Madhumati.
Lata’s devotional songs-
The 1950s, 1960s and later all the decades were decorated by the melodious voice of Lata Mangeshkar. She also released an album of Mirabai’s bhajans with help of her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
Lata has also sung 185 songs in Bengali language also. She also tried her hand in directing music for some famous Marathi films namely Mohityanchi Manjula, Sadhi Manase in the 1960s. She also produced some movies including Hindi films ‘Kanchan Ganaga’ and ‘Lekin’.
Lata was poisoned- In the book ‘Lata Mangeshkar in her own voice’ by Nasreen Munni Kabir, there is an incident when Lata Mangeshkar was poisoned. In 1962, one day she started feeling a sharp stomachache and vomiting. Doctor diagnosed that she was given slow poison possibly by her servant. She went through treatment for a long time and recovered successfully.
She was taking treatment for COVID-19 and pneumonia for 28 days. She left the world due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. She took her last breath in Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai.
Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar-
She has received the highest civilian award of India, ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2001. She also got Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Dada Sahab Phalke award, Maharashtra Bhushan Award and the list goes on. Madhya Pradesh government, Maharashtra government initiated the ‘Lata Mangeshkar Award’ in her respect. She was also a member of Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005.
Some lesser-known facts of Lata Mangeshkar-
She didn’t eat pickles because she didn’t like it. But she never stayed away from ice-creams or chillies.
She once fainted while recording a song by composer Naushad due to hot summers in Mumbai.
In 1974, The Guinness Book of world record quoted her as ‘most recorded artist’ in history with more than 25,000 songs. This fact was contested by Moh. Rafi claimed his songs to be more than 28,000. Now, latest editions claim that Lata ji has sung more than 30,000 songs.
She sang the song ‘ae mere watan ke logon’ on 27th January 1963 which brought tears in the eyes of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
Lata Mageshkar never listened to her own songs otherwise she would find faults in her songs.