“It was not really the external influences that made me a singer. Music was within me. I was full of it,” said the singer in an interview. She is one of the most famous and well known Indian playback singers and song directors. She has recorded songs in over a thousand films in Indian cinema today. She has contributed her talents in more than thirty-six regional languages.
Lata Mangeshkar was born in September 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh to Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and his wife Shevanti. Deenanath was a well known Marathi classical singer and theatre actor. Lata was the oldest child in the family, from the four siblings. Right since the time she was 5 years old, she had been trained by her father in classical singing. At the young age of 13, she recorded her first song. She also started working in her father’s plays from a young age. In the 1940s, when Lata was a teenager, she struggled to support her family as a struggling performing artist and singer. In 1949, Mangeshkar recorded the song “Uthaye ja unke sitam” for the movie “Andaz”, she became a hit all over the country. This was her Eureka Moment. After this song was released, she became a musical sensation. She was offered many more singing assignments for various movies. Her hard work and determination were finally paying off. She was bearing the fruits of her dedication to the field of music and vocal arts.
One of her first major hits was the song “Aayega Aanewaala,” in the movie Mahal in the year 1949 composed by music director Khemchand Prakash and lip-synced on screen by actress Madhubala. She also contributed greatly to other movies such as Barsaat (1949), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), and Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). She had been criticised for her accent in many of her songs, mainly in Hindi and Urdu. However, shave gave a prompt answer to the critics by immediately taking Urdu lessons and improving her pronunciations.
One of the most notable achievements of her career is the patriotic song, “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo”, which is said to have put Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru into tears. In 1974, she also was mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most recorded artist in history.
Apart from music, she has also contributed to the Bollywood industry by producing films such as Kaanchan Ganga in Hindi and Vaadal in Marathi.
Lata Mangeshkar has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award and Padma Vibhushan, one of the highest civilian awards. From this story, we can understand the importance of Art in our lives- how all forms of art have enriched our lives and touch our hearts. We also understand the importance of following your passion, for what you believe in. Lata Mangeshkar was, is and will always continue to be an inspiration for not only those in the field of music, but also people from every nook and corner of the world following their hearts and building their own empires.