Fondly called the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar, Lataji to fans, died of Covid-related ailments. She began her career in 1942 and sang for seven decades. She has more than 30,000 songs including film songs, bhajans and patriotic vocals, to her credit.
Lata Mangeshkar is no more. Inarguably India’s most popular, and most respected, playback singer, Lataji has sung nearly 30,000 songs in a career spanning seven decades. The Iconic singer died in Mumbai on February 6. She was 92. Lata Mangeshkar was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai a few weeks ago after she suffered symptoms of pneumonia following a Covid-19 infection.
The achievements of Lata Mangeshkar cannot be listed easily. The admiration and respect she had among the people of the Indian subcontinent made her the voice of the nation. Her songs included pious bhajans, peppy romantic numbers, enthralling patriotic vocals, heart-breaking but cathartic ‘sad songs’ and more.
Without exaggeration, one can say that the death of Lata Mangeshkar clearly marks the end of an era. Just like her popular early contemporaries such as Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar also represented an era that saw India evolve into a plural but a culturally ambitious republic. She became the face and voice of Indian cinema, especially Bollywood (Hindi cinema), as a generation of actresses (from Madhubala, Nargis, Waheeda Rehman, Nutan, Meena Kumari, Saira Banu, Jaya Bhaduri, Hema Malini, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit) crooned in her magical voice.
Lataji: A god of music
India showered awards and recognitions on its favourite singer. Lataji received great honours such as the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Lata Mangeshkar sang in many languages, including Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali. Lata Mangeshkar was born in 1929. Her father is classical musician Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. Lata Mangeshkar has five siblings. Her sister Asha Bhonsle is an equally famous singer.
Ramesh Narayan, classical vocalist, composer and music producer, calls Lata Mangeshkar “the god of music”. Narayan remembers: “She was a Hindustani classical musician in the beginning. Her father Natya Sangeet musician and Hindustani classical vocalist introduced her to music at an early age and she followed in his footsteps. She was very much attached to guruji Pandit Jasraj. Her voice was inimitable. Many singers have tried to copy it but they have lost their original voice. No other musician can perfect a song in a single take like Lata Mangeshkar.
Her demise marked an end to a musical era and we all are blessed to be alive during her lifetime.”
Lata Mangeshkar worked with legendary music directors and composers of Indian cinema including SD Burman, Naushad, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Khayyam, Ilayaraja, Salil Chowdhury, A.R Rahman and Pandit Amarnath HusanLal Bhagat Ram, among others. Apart from Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi, Lataji sang memorable duets with the likes of SP Balasubrahmanyam, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu and Yesudas.