Published: 07th February 2022
What The FAQ: As we bid adieu to Lata Didi, let's recall her 7-decades-long career
A look back at the illustrious life of Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar whose voice will forever remain in the hearts of all Indians
Legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar passed away yesterday, February 6, leaving behind a rich tapestry of melodies that captivated people for over seven decades. We take a look back at her life, her greatest hits, her long list of accolades and some facts that you might not have known about her. For instance, did you know that she was not named Lata when she was born? She was actually named Hema but was then renamed by her parents after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays. Read on to know more about the eternal Queen of Melody.
What was her early life like?
Music was always in Lataji's family as her father himself was a classical singer and theatre actor. Some of her earliest lessons in singing were given by her maternal grandmother who taught her Gujarati folk songs commonly sung during garbas. But her first music lesson was from her father who also involved her as an actor in his musical plays.
Her first foray into singing for movies.
After Lataji's father passed away when she was just 13, Vinayak Damodar Karnataki, a close family friend, took care of her career and got her started as a playback singer. Her first song Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari for the film Kiti Hasaal (1942) unfortunately did not make the final cut. Her first Hindi song was Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu for the Marathi film Gajabhau (1943). Among her earliest hits came in the year 1949 when she sang Aayega Aanewaala for the movie Mahal and Uthaye Ja unke Sitam for the movie Andaz. From then on, there was no looking back.
Who were the people she worked with in the industry?
Lataji voiced the musical parts for every major leading lady across generations, from Nargis and Waheeda Rahman to Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta. She lent her voice to compositions by famous music directors like Naushad Ali, Madan Mohan, SD Burman and AR Rahman, to name just a few.
What were some of her greatest hit songs?
Although a definitive list of her greatest songs is impossible to put down, some of her most loved songs include Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo, Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna from Guide, Lag Ja Gale from Woh Kaun Thi?, Tere Bina Zindagi Se koi Shikwa from Aandhi, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya from Mughal-e-Azam, Lukka Chuppi from Rang De Basanti, the title song from Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Pyaar Hua Iqrar Hua from Shree 420, Hum Tum Ek Kamre Me Band Ho from Bobby, Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho from Aasha, Jiya Jale from Dil Se, Tujhe Dekha Toh yeh Jana from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and O Paalanhare from Lagaan. This is, of course, only a peek inside. There are literally thousands of melodious ones in Lataji's famed records.
What were some of the awards that she received during her lifetime?
If you are a Bharat Ratna, it is almost a given that you would have received every possible award in your field. Lata Mangeshkar won the Padma Bhushan in 1969, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1989, the Padma Vibhushan in 1999 and the Bharat Ratna two years later. She was also the first-ever recipient of the Maharashtra Ratna in 2001. She was a three-time recipient of the National Film Award for playback singing. She won so many Filmfare Awards that from 1970, she gave up the award to promote new talents. She received honorary Doctorates of Letters from eight universities, including New York University. The list does indeed go on for the Voice of the Millennium and a once-in-a-lifetime talent.