Lata Mangeshkar, also known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, was one of the most versatile singers in the Indian film industry. Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 28, 1929, to classical singer and theatre artist Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Her father started teaching her music at an early age.
It’s been a year since the nightingale of India left her mortal abode. However, Lata Mangeshkar left a musical legacy for music lovers across language and regional barriers.
Lata Mangeshkar started her career in the 1940s. Her first major break was with the song ‘Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora’, for the movie ‘Majboor’ in 1948. The song became her first big breakthrough film hit, and after that, she recorded ‘Uthaye ja unke sitam’ for ‘Andaz’ and Aayega Aanewala for ‘Mahal’ in 1949, which sealed her destiny forever.
In the 1950s, she delivered one hit after another. ‘Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua’ from ‘Shree 420’ (1955) is till date, one of the most romantic songs of all time. ‘Man Dole Mera Tan Dole’ from ‘Naagin’ (1954) while ‘Jahan Main Jaati Hoon’ and ‘Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mein Hum’ from ‘Chori Chori’ (1956) are some brilliant songs from the decade. ‘Aaja Re Pardesi’ from ‘Madhumati’ (1958) won her accolades, while ‘Yaad Kiya Dil Ne’ from ‘Patita’ (1953) is one of her best songs.
In the 60s, when the industry was moving towards colour and superstars of the generation, Lata Mangeshkar’s career also found new heights. ‘Jo vada kiya wo nibhana padega’ from ‘TajMahal’ (1963) and ‘Aaja Aayi Bahaar’ from ‘Rajkumar’ (1964) are two of the most iconic songs in the history of Indian cinema. Tujhe jeevan ki dor se from ‘Asli Naqli’ (1962), Lag Ja Gale Ki from ‘Woh Kaun Thi?’ (1964) and Dil jo na kah saka from ‘Bheegi Raat’ (1965) are brilliant songs, but were dwarfed by songs like Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna and Piya Tose Naina Laage Re from ‘Guide’ (1965) and Pardesiyon Se Na Ankhiyan Milana plus Ye Samaa Samaa Hai Pyar Ka from ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ (1965).
There was also the classic movie ‘Aradhana’ (1969) that had the famous Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj Hai Tu and Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera, immortalised by Lata Mangeshkar. During this era, Lata Mangeshkar released her patriotic single ‘Ae mere watan ke logo’, which is etched in everyone’s mind.
Known to be a soulful singer, Lata Mangeshkar showed her fun side with ‘Chadti Jawani Meri Chaal Mastani’, Dilbar Dil Se Pyare and Kitna Pyara Wada Hai in ‘Caravan’ (1971) and her sad side in Raina Beeti Jaye from ‘Amar Prem’ (1972). On the other hand, she proved her versatility with Tere Bina Zindagi Se and Tum Aa Gaye Ho Noor Aa Gaya (Aandhi, 1975), making the 70s one of the most epic decades for Bollywood music.
Shunning the predominant tone of disco music, Lata Mangeshkar gave some of her best songs of this decade. Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum and Dekha Ek Khwaab from ‘Silsila’ (1981), Tune o rangeele kaisa jaadu kiya from ‘Kudrat’ (1981), Mere Naseeb Mein in ‘Naseeb’ (1980), Main Solah Baras Ki in ‘Karz’ (1980), hum bane tum bane ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’ (1981) are some of them.
The songs of ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…!’ (1994), including Didi Tera Devar Deewana, Ye Mausam Ka Jaadu, Maye Ni Maye, Joote Dedo, Paise Lelo, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Lo Chali Main, Dhiktana proved she can sing almost anything! There were also the hits of ‘Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai’ (1998), including Madhosh Dil Ki Dhadkan, Is Dil Mein Kya Ha.
Her final era of playback singing in the 2000s saw her leave on a high note with massive hits like Humko Humise Chura Lo, Aankhein Khuli from ‘Mohabbatein’ (2000), O Paalanhaare from ‘Lagaan’ (2001) and the massive title song of ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001).
She continued the hit-making with every song of ‘Veer Zaara’ (2004), including Tere Liye, Yeh Hum Aa Gaye Hain Kahan. Her last superhit was for A. R. Rahman with Lukka Chuppi from ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006).
Taking a cue from her songs, we can say Lata Mangeshkar will be remembered down the ages as she sang, ”Meri Awaz hi Pehechan hai, Gar Yaad Rahe.”