‘Nightingale of India’ is the sobriquet deservingly earned by great playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. Having occasionally composed and produced music, this great female singer is one among the great icons that the city of Mumbai has seen. So, now the question worth pondering about is, why is this singer considered an icon in the ‘City that never sleeps’? To answer this question, here is then presenting to you basic facts about her that needs to be known.
a. Who is Lata Mangeshkar?
Most respected’ would be the best way to describe this gifted playback singer. She was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke and Bharat Ratna awards in 1989 and 2001 respectively. In addition, she has also won the prestigious Padma Bushan and Vibhushan in 1969 and 1999 respectively. During her illustrious career, she has sung over 1000 Hindi films songs. Furthermore, she has also sung songs in varied regional languages including her mother tongue Marathi.
b. Where was Lata Mangeshkar born?
28th September 1929’ was when this great Indian playback singer was born. She was conceived in the then princely state of Indore located in Central India. Furthermore, her father was a Goan, and belonged to the ‘Gomantak Maratha’ community while, her mother was a Gujarati. She has in total 4 siblings which includes 3 sisters and one brother, and they are: Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar, and Hridaynath Mangeshkar. All four siblings (along with Lata) have contributed to the growth of the Indian music industry in a big way.
c. What was Lata Mangeshkar first song?
It was the song ‘Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora’ written by Nazim Panipati and composed by her mentor Ghulam Haider for the 1948 film Majboor, that became Mangeshkar’s first song that she recorded.
d. What was the first major success of Lata Mangeshkar?
The classic ‘Aayega aanewala’ composed by Khemchand Prakash from the 1949 Hindi film ‘Mahal’ was ‘Melody Queen’s’ first hit. It was the success of this song that ultimately helped her enter the Hindi music industry. In fact, the 1950’s saw her rise to prominence (after a few years of struggle) with great composers such as Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad, and SD Burman all willingly working with her, that too after facing rejections for few years. It was on 27th January 1963, while the Sino-Indian war was at its peak that she publically at a function sung the patriotic song ‘Aye Mere Waton Ke Logon’, which had such an effect on then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was also present that he had tears in his eyes. Furthermore, it was right until the late 90’s and early 2000’s, that this brilliant singer enthralled a majority of Indians with some beautifully rendered songs, before she retired gracefully to give young talented artists a fair chance.
The fact that all her songs starting from the 1950’s still feel fresh and extremely soulful when listened today, only illustrates why Lata Mangeshkar has often been referred to as the ‘Voice of the Nation’.