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If you talk about music in India, it’s very unlikely that the conversation won’t divert to the singlemost entity of Indian music – Lata Mangeshkar. Having recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi movies and over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages, Lata Mangeshkar is undoubtedly the most celebrated singer of the nation.
Born on September 28, 1929, Lata Mangeshkar’s career began when she sang the song “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” which was composed by Sadashivrao Nevrekar for Vasant Joglekar’s Marathi movie ‘Kiti Hasaal’ (1942), but the song was dropped from the final cut. Her first Hindi song was “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu” for the Marathi film, ‘Gajaabhaau’ (1943).
Following the partition of India in 1947, Lata Mangeshkar started to learn classical music under Amanat Khan Devaswale. Pandit Tulsidas Sharma, a pupil of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, also trained her.
Dinanath Mangeshkar, her father, owned a theatrical company and was a classical singer, a disciple of the Gwalior school, and gave her singing lessons from around the age of five. In her family were brother Hridaynath, a music director, and sisters Meena, Asha (Asha Bhosle) and Usha.
The first milestone in her career came when she crooned the classic “Aayega Aanewala” from ‘Mahal’ in 1949. The song became a cult in itself and Lataji was an overnight star. The song was composed by music director Khemchand Prakash and lip-synced on screen by actress Madhubala.
On 28 November 2012, Lata Mangeshkar launched her own music label LM Music with an album of bhajans. She sang along with younger sister Usha on the album.
In 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.
There hasn’t been anyone in the Indian music industry who doesn’t bow down to the greatness Lataji is. The musical gifts she has got from the almighty has made us, the Indians proud. She is the only second music personality to have been awarded the Bharat Ratna.
There isn’t a single actress who doesn’t dream to be voiced by Lataji. Her devotion to music, her magic with the ‘sargam’ and her whole life which is so engrossed in the ‘sur-taal’ has made her one of the most respected personalities all over the world.
On her 86th birthday, we salute this ‘Nightingale of India’ and wish and pray that her magic continues to enthrall us for many more years to come.
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