Living legend Lata Mangeshkar turned 87 on September 28.
Known as the Nightingale of India for her mellifluous voice, the veteran singer started her career in 1942 and it spanned over seven decades.
Mangeshkar has sung over a thousand Hindi songs, along with recording songs in over 36 regional and foreign languages.
She received the highest honour in Hindi cinema – the Dadasaheb Phalke Award – in 1989.
The singer was the second vocalist after M. S. Subbulakshmi to have been awarded India’s highest civilian award – the Bharat Ratna.
Her younger siblings – Asha Bhosle, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar – are equally famous singers as her.
On her birthday, BigWire brings you 10 impressive facts about Lata “didi” as she is loving called in the industry:
1. It was at the age of 13 that Lata Mangeshkar’s father Deenanath Mangeshkar died of cardiac arrest and the teenager had to enter the world of singing and acting to earn bread for her family.
She has acted in around 8 films between 1942-48.
2. It was Vasant Joglekar who gave her the first chance to sing in his Marathi film “Kiti Hasaal” in 1942. However, the song “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” was dropped from the film.
3. Lataji finally bagged a small role in Navyug Chitrapat Limited’s Marathi film “Pahili Mangalaagaur”. She also sang a song – “Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai” – in the film.
4. She was trained in Indian vocal classical under Ustad Amanat Ali Khan from the Patiala gharana.
But after he migrated to Pakistan post-Partition, Lataji continued her training under Amanat Khan Devaswale.
Her other tutor was Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s pupil Pandit Tulsidas Sharma.
5. Her real name was Hema Hardikar. It was her father who changed the surname to Mangeshkar, while Lata rechristened herself when she entered the Hindi film industry.
“Lata” is inspired from “Latika”, a popular character from her father’s play ‘Bhaaw Bandhan’.
6. To her major dismay, Lataji’s voice was initially rejected by most music composers of Bollywood as they alleged it was “too thin” to compete with the popular voices of Noor Jehan and Shamshad Begum.
7. Lataji dropped out from school at an early age since her teacher did not allow her to bring her 10-month-old sister Asha (Bhosle) with her.
8. Though she debuted in Bollywood with the song “Dil Mera Toda” from the film “Majboor” (1948), she shot to fame with the hit song from Mahal (1949) – “Aayega Aanewaala” – where she playbacked for actress Madhubala.
But the Gramophone Company Of India did not gave her the credit for the song since she was not popular at that time.
However, Madhubala was so impressed with her that she used to put in all her film contracts that Lataji will sing all her songs.
9. Veteran actor Dilip Kumar did not used to approve her vernacular accent. She made an effort to rectify it and learnt Urdu from a teacher named Shafi.
10. She is an ardent fan of singer-actor K L Saigal since childhood. She bought a radio when she was 18. But returned it immediately after the first news she heard on it was of Saigal’s death.
(Sources: Business Standard, ETC, TOI)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.