Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo
Zaraa Aankh Mein Bhar Lo Paani
Jo Shahid Hue Hain Unki, Zaraa Yaad Karo Qurbani
Tum Bhool Na Jaao Unko, Isliye Suno Yeh Kahaani
Jo Shahid Hue Hain Unki, Zaraa Yaad Karo Qurbaani
Penned by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C. Ramachandra, this song is been made immortal by Lata Mangeshkar when she sang it at the Ramlila grounds in New Delhi in 1962, just a few months after the destructive Sino-Indian war. The then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was moved to tears hearing it and even today the song casts a patriotic spell on every Indian. Lata Mangeshkar, ‘The Nightingale of India’, already became the voice of the nation back during that era!
Lata Mangeshkar was born on 28th September 1929 in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, in a family belonging to the Gomantak Maratha Samaj (A Konkan speaking community from Goa). Her father was Deenanath Mangeshkar and mother was Shevanti Mangeshkar. Originally belonging to the Mangeshi town of Goa, Deenanath changed his surname from Hardikar to Mangeshkar only to identify his lineage with his home town.
Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a reputed classical singer and an eminent theatre personality. His first marriage was with Narmada and their first child, who was born shortly after the marriage was named as Latika. Deenanath lost both his wife and child at a very young age. He then again married his wife’s sister Shevanti, from whom he had five children, Lata, Meena, Asha, Usha and Hridaynath. He named his eldest daughter Lata, in the memory of his previously lost child. She was originally named as Hema. However, some others’ say that her name was derived from ‘Latika’, who was a character in her father’s play ‘Bhaan Bandhan’.
She started learning music from her father at the age of five. As a child actress she also acted in her father’s theatrical plays. Soon enough, Deenanath transformed his theatre company into a film company. His first movie ‘Krishnaarjun Yuddha’ fell flat at the box office causing immense financial losses to Deenanath. He started finding solace by consuming alcohol during this period. In April 1942, he had an unexpected death due to heart failure in Pune. He left his family completely insolvent and Lata Mangeshkar lost his father at a tender age of 13 only.
First Introduction to the World of Cinema:
The Mangeshkar family went through terrible financial crisis after Deenanath’s death. Being the eldest daughter in the family, Lata Mangeshkar had to put her step forward to ‘learn and earn’.
Deenanath’s old friend Vinayak Damodar Karnataki or popularly known as Master Vinayak provided his helping hand to Lataji to introduce her to the film industry. He gave her the first chance to act in his Marathi movie ‘Pahili Mangalaagaur’. She also sang the song ‘Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai’ for the same movie. In 1943, the Marathi movie ‘Gajaabhaau’, got her the first Hindi song ‘Maata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu’.
Shifting to Mumbai – 1945:
In 1945, Master Vinayak shifted his movie production’s base to Mumbai. The Mangeshkar family too shifted to the city.
The same year, she sang the song ‘Maata Tere Charno Mein’ and also acted along with her sister Asha in Master Vinayak’s first Hindi movie ‘Badi Maa’. Vasant Joglekar was another man who gave Lata Mangeshkar immense opportunities during the initial days. She sang quite a number of songs for Vasant Joglekar. ‘Paa Lagoon Kar Jodi’ from Joglekar’s 1946 release ‘Aap Ki Seva Mein’ was sung by Lata and it featured famous classical dancer, Rohini Bhate.
In 1946, Master Vinayak introduced Lata Mangeshkar to composer Vasant Desai during his second Hindi movie ‘Subhadra’.
Meanwhile, Lata Mangeshkar was already taking her ‘taalim’ from Ustad Amanat Ali Khan in Hindustani classical music.
Ghulam Haider – The First Big Break and Partition of India
One of the most noted music director of the contemporary period was Ghulam Haider, who was among the first personalities to identify and notice the potential of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. He introduced Mangeshkar to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who disapproved her voice and judged it as ‘too thin’ for the industry. Ghulam Haider still went on with his belief on Lata Mangeshkar and gave her the first big break of her life in-spite of the negativities.
In 1948, she sang ‘Dil Mera Toda’ for the movie ‘Majboor’ under the music direction of Ghulam Haider. Another famous song sung by Lata Mangeshkar for Ghulam Haider would be ‘Bedard Tere Pyar Ko’ for the movie ‘Padmini’ in 1948. Years later, Lata Mangeshkar herself also admitted that ‘Bedard Tere Pyar Ko’ was one of her favourites from Haidar’s compositions.
Soon enough, the after effects of the Partition of India did hit the industry at Bombay as well. Lataji’s mentor Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Ghulam Haidar and the then popular singer Noor Jehan left Mumbai for Pakistan. Lata Mangeshkar considered Noor Jehan to be an accomplished singer and often followed her style of singing during the initial days. However, Lata Mangeshkar was deeply moved by the departure of Ghulam Haidar – who is still credited for inventing and introducing the most gifted singer to the world.
In absence of Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Lataji re-started her musical training under Pandit Tulsidas Sharma and Amanat Khan Devaswale.
‘Aayega Aanewaala’ – The Historic Song on Madhubala:
‘Aayega Aanewala’ – The song that made history! The song made both Lata Mangeshkar and Madhubala reach the sky high limit from where there was no looking back. Composed by Khemchand Prakash, this master piece was also recorded in the most unique manner.
In 1949, Ashok Kumar produced the movie ‘Mahal’, directed by Kamal Amrohi. On-screen Madhubala didn’t give any lip sync to the song and instead it keeps on playing at background while Madhubala from unreachable distance continues to draw Ashok Kumar under her magnificent spell. The era was deprived of any dubbing or editing devices and hence, the song was recorded in a unique manner considering the need and requirement on screen.
Lata Mangeshkar was asked to approach the microphone gradually from a distant corner of the large recording room while singing the song. This was done to synchronise the sound of the song with Madhubala’s distant appearance and apparitions on screen. Both the process of recording and the picturisation of the song during the non-technical era were outstanding!
The film ‘Mahal’ along with the song ‘Aayega Aanewala’ were grand successes.
All India Radio – The First Announced Playback Singer of India:
The success of ‘Aayega Aanewala’ brought in many historic changes. Neither Gramophone records nor Radio Stations at the All India Radio practiced the habit of crediting the name of the playback singers while playing any song on-air. In 1949, when ‘Aayega Aanewaala’ was played on- air, thousands of queries were sent to the All India radio offices asking for the name of the playback singer. The bewildered officers at the All India Radio, blown away with the response from the listeners, finally had to give in and they announced Lataji’s name on radio. She was the first playback singer who was credited on-air, setting a trend for the rest to follow.
1950s – A Progressing Decade and The First Filmfare Award For Playback Singing in India:
The 1950s came– And Lata Mangeshkar was already working with music directors like Sajjad Hussain, Salil Chowdhury, Madan Mohan, Naushad, Khayyam, Usha Khanna, Roshan, C. Ramchandran, Hemant Kumar, Shankar-Jaikishan and other notable jewels of the music industry.
Ichak Daana, bichak daana,
Daane upar daana, ichak daana,
Chajje upar ladki naache,
Ladka hai deewana, ichak daana
While reading the above lyrics can anyone stop himself/herself from humming along? This whimsical, jolly and playful song was written by Hasrat Jaipuri and composed by Shankar-Jaikishan for Raj Kapoor’s ‘Shree 420′. Lata Mangeshkar sang the song along with Mukesh. While listening to the song, it still brings a smile on every face. ‘Pyar Hua Iqraar Hua Hai, Pyar Se Phir Kyun Darrta Hai Dil’ featured on Raj Kapoor and Nargis became a symbolised composition for evolving lovers in the generations to come. Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey’s duet became the most evergreen song which is immortalised in the hearts of millions. ‘Ramaiyya Vastavaiyaa’ is another memorable song of Lataji with Mukesh and Manna Dey from the same movie.
She also sang for Sachin Dev Burman in movies like ‘Sazaa’ in 1951, ‘House No. 44′ and the famous ‘Devdas’ in 1955. ‘Phaili Hui Hai Sapno’ from ‘House No. 44′, ‘O Jaane Waale Ruk Jaa’ from ‘Devdas’ are some noted tracks by S. D. Burman for Lata Mangeshkar. Lata Mangeshkar, once in an interview claimed that, if the recording of any song pleased S. D. Burman, then he gladly gifted a ‘Paan’ to her, which Lataji always accepted happily. However, after 1957, due to some troubled friction between the singer and the composer, they didn’t work together for a long time till 1962.
In 1958, Salil Chowdhury’s ‘Aaja Re Pardesi’, earned Lata Mangeshkar, her first Filmfare Award for playback singing which still wasn’t distinguished and separated into male and female categories. ‘Aaja Re Pardesi’ was a part of Bimal Roy’s ‘Madhumati’.
The Filmfare Awards didn’t have any category for playback singers until 1958. The track ‘Rasik Balma’ from the 1956 release ‘Chori Chori’ won the Filmfare Award for being the Best Song of The Year. Lata Mangeshkar denied to sing the song live showing her protest against the non-inclusion of any category for playback singers in Filmfare in 1956. However, in 1958, the category for playback singers were introduced in Filmfare for the first time (without differentiating it into separate male and female category) and Lata Mangeshkar was the first singer to win a Filmfare Award for Playback Singing in India.
‘Pyar Kiya To Darrna Kya’ – The Legendary Song:
In the 1960s, Lata Mangeshkar was given the song of ‘Jab Pyar Kiya To Darrna Kya’ by composer Naushad for the most grand and pompous film ever made in the history of Bollywood, ‘Mughal-E-Azam’. The song was again filmed on Madhubala at Sheesh Mahal and was the first sequence which was shot in colour format in Indian Cinema.
The absence of latest upgraded recording technology, again made the composer record the song in a very unique way. Lataji was asked to record the song in a studio bathroom to bring the effect of echo! ‘Pyar Kiya To Darrna Kya’ still remains as one of the most popular songs that bear the words of rebellion against the social obligations towards love.
‘Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal’ was another track from the movie by Lata Mangeshkar that turned a lot of heads around. All the songs of ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ was based on ‘raag’ and classical music.
In 1960s, she sang some other legendary songs like ‘Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh’ from the movie ‘Dil Apna Preet Parai’ for Shankar Jaikishan.
In 1962, she earned her second Filmfare Award for the song ‘Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil’ from ‘Bees Saal Baad’ composed by Hemant Kumar.
The Unforgettable Melodies of 1960s:
Aapki Nazaron Ne Samjha
Pyar Ke Qaabil Mujhe
Dil Ki Aye Dhadkan Theher Jaa
Mil Gayi Manzil Mujhe
The extra ordinary aroma that Lata Mangeshkar added to this song with her voice remains incomparable till date. This is one of the outstanding works by composer Madan Mohan, which was executed by Lata Mangeshkar. The duo continued to give out exceptionally excellent compositions like, ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ from ‘Woh Kaun Thi?’ and ‘Tu Jaahan Jahaan Chalega’ from ‘Mera Saaya’ to name a few.
She went back singing songs for S. D. Burman by this time and recorded songs like ‘Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai’ , ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’, ‘Piya To Se’ from ‘Guide’ and ‘Hothon Pe Aisi Baat’ from ‘Jewel Thief’.
She also sang a few devotional songs for S. D. Burman’s assistant Jaidev, when he turned into an independent composer. For Dev Anand’s ‘Hum Dono’, Lataji sang the ultimate devotional song ‘Allah Tero Naam’. Pandit Jasraj once commented that he had tears streaming down his cheeks after hearing this song.
Laxmikant-Pyarelal- A Partnership of 700 Songs:
Lata Mangeshkar’s association started with Laxmikant Pyarelal back in the early 1960s and it continued till late 1990s. They gave out wonderful memorable songs like ‘Sawan Ka Mahina’, a duet with Mukesh, for the movie ‘Milan’, the light romantic track ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar’ from the movie ‘Shagird’ (topped the annual radio chart of Binaca Geetmala in 1968), ‘Bindiya Chamkegi’ and ‘Chup Gaye Saare Nazaren’ from ‘Do Raaste’ and many more.
Laxmikant-Pyarelal also made her sing her first cabaret song ‘Aa Jaane Jaa’ for the movie ‘Intaquam’. It was irregular and unconventional for Lata Mangeshkar, as most of the cabaret songs during the era were sung by her sister, Asha Bhosle. However, in-spite of Lataji’s doubts , Laxmikant-Pyarelal were convinced of her potential and they synchronised the composition of the song to suit Lataji’s style and preference.
‘Aap Mujhe Ache Lagne Lage’ from ‘Jeene Ki Raah’ in 1969, composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, earned her the third Filmfare Award for the Best Playback Singer.
The Era of 1970s – The First National Award:
In this decade, she continued singing for the legendary music directors like S. D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Naushad and Ghulam Mohammed. Songs like ‘Piya Bina’ from ‘Abhimaan’ and ‘Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan’ from ‘Sharmilee’ composed by S. D. Burman still resides in our heart. ‘Milo Na Tum To Hum Ghabraaye’ from ‘Heer-Ranjha’ and ‘Iss Reshmi Pazzeb Ki Jhankar’ from ‘Laila-Majnu’, composed by Madan Mohan were big hits during the time.
Kamal Amrohi’s ‘Pakeezah’ was another ground breaking movie that released in 1972. ‘Chalte Chalte’ and ‘Inhi Logo Ne’ composed by Ghulam Mohammad from ‘Pakeezah’ deserve special mention.
1970s also mark a strong association of Lata Mangeshkar with the musical maestro R. D. Burman. Known for his ‘out of the box’ compositions with a western touch, R. D. Burman produced some outstanding compositions with a classical stroke to the songs with Lata Mangeshkar. ‘Raina Beeti Jaaye’ and ‘Bada Nat Khat Hai Yeh’ from ‘Amar Prem’ are two heart touching songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar for R. D Burman in 1972.
He also made her sing some unconventional tracks like ‘Chadhti Jawani Meri Chaal Mastani’ or ‘Dilbar Dil Se Pyare’ for the movie ‘Caravan’.
Can anyone ever forget the evergreen tracks from ‘Aandhi’? Gulzar’s ‘Aandhi’ faced a ban from the Government during the State of Emergency. However, the tracks from the movie were super hits and all of them did hit the chart busters. ‘Tum Aa Gaye Ho’, ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa’, ‘Is Mod Se Jaate Hain’, all duets with Kishore Kumar and composed by R. D. Burman, were huge hits and the tracks are still widely played on radio stations.
In 1973, ‘Beeti Na Bitai Raina’ composed by R. D. Burman from Gulzar’s ‘Parichay’ earned Lataji, her first National Award for Best Female Playback Singer. She won her second National Award in 1975 for ‘Roothe Roothe Piya’ from ‘Kora Kaagaz’ composed by Kalyanji-Anandji.
‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram’ – A Daring Proposal from Raj Kapoor
Raj Kapoor’s directorial venture ‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram’ was one of the chart toppers in 1978. Lata Mangeshkar sang the title track from the movie composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. The movie showcases a simple and ordinary girl gifted with a golden and beautiful voice. Raj Kapoor wanted Lata Mangeshkar to play the role of the lead actress in the movie , which of course, she cordially denied. However, the track is still one of the highly played and appreciated songs across the nation.
‘Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum’- The Booming Season of Songs:
Yash Chopra’s 1981 release ‘Silsila’ had some outstanding tracks in its store. ‘Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum’ was a solo of Lata Mangeshkar with Amitabh Bachan reciting a nazm along with the music. The song is still one of the most played songs and is regarded as one of the most cult compositions by music director Shiv-Hari.
‘Mere Haathon Mein’ from ‘Chandni’ was another composition by Shiv-Hari that topped the chartbusters throughout the year of 1989. Moreover, the music of the film did set new records in the music industry.
In 1989, another release ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ was a musical blockbuster! Lata Mangeshkar sang almost 7 tracks from the film that includes, ‘Dil Deewana’, ‘Kabootar Ja Ja Ja’, ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Aaya Mausam Dosti Ka’, ‘Aaja Shaam Hone Aayi’.
In 1991, she rendered ‘Yaara Seeli Seeli’, composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, her brother, for the movie ‘Lekin…’ which was made under her own production banner. The film earned five National Awards including earning the National Award for the Best Playback Singer for Lata Mangeshkar.
Evidently, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice can also be heard in Yash Raj Movies’ theme title music.
In 1993, Lata Mangeshkar sang ‘Dil Hoom Hoom Kare’ for Bhupen Hazarika. The song again took off the chartbusters and broke all the records of that year.
In 1994, she sang for ‘1942: A Love Story’, which was R. D. Burman’s last, before his demise.
‘Maye Ni maye’, ‘Didi Tera Devar Deewana’, ‘Mujhse Juda Ho Kar’, ‘Mausam Ka Jadoo’, ‘Pehla Pehla Pyar’ from ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ were all chartbuster hits in 1994.
1995 witnessed the biggest blockbuster of all times ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’. ‘Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye’ was the solo track of Lata Mangeshkar where she emoted the emotions of a playful and cheerful girl aptly through her voice. The song along with others like ‘Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam’, ‘Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna’, ‘Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko’ from ‘DDLJ’ were blockbuster super hit songs.
In 1997, Yash Chopra’s another release ‘Dil To Paagal Hai’ had almost 8 songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by Uttam Singh. ‘Dil To Paagal Hai’ was a musical super hit. All the songs were hugely appreciated and are still played widely all over.
In 1998, Uttam Singh again composed for ‘Dushman’. ‘Awaaz Do Humko’, and ‘Pyar Ko Ho Jaane Do’ from ‘Dushman’ were again two soulful hits by Lata Mangeshkar.
A.R. Rahman: A Legendary Partnership:
‘Jiya Jale’ from ‘Dil Se’ started this partnership and produced evergreen tracks like ‘Khamoshiyaan Gun Gunaane Lagi’ from ‘One 2 ka 4’, ‘So Gaye Hain’ from ‘Zubeidaa’, ‘O Paalanhaare’ from ‘Lagaan’ and many more.
Most of the songs that came out for Lataji from A. R. Rahman’s bag have been of classical and devoted genre. Some of the compositions would bring an essence of peace and solace to the listeners.
‘Ishwar Ya Allah, Yeh Pukar Sun Le, Ishwar Ya Allah, Hey Daata’ from ‘Pukar’ was another composition of Rahman by Lata Mangeshkar for which she made an appearance on screen in the movie as well.
‘Lukka Chupi’ from ‘Rang De Basanti’ would be another trademark song by the duo that would be engraved in the hearts of the listeners forever.
Regional Lingual Successes By The Legendary Singer:
Lata Mangeshkar sang numerous songs in Marathi language composed Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Sudhir Phadke, Vasant Prabhu and others.
She also sang Kannada songs like ‘Bellane Belagayithu’ and ‘Ellare’ for music director Lakshman Berlekar in 1967 for the movie ‘Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna’.
She sang her first Malayalam track, ‘Kadali Chenkdadali’ for composer Salil Chowdhury in 1974 for the film ‘Nellu’.
She sang various tracks for the southern musical maestro Ilayaraja. ‘Aaraaro Aaraaro’, ‘Valai Osai’ are some of the songs she rendered for him. She also sang for Ilayaraja when he composed for the Hindi movie, ‘Lajja’. ‘Kaun Dagar Kaun Shahar’ was her solo track from ‘Lajja’.
She rendered numerous Bengali songs for R. D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury and Hemant Kumar as well.
The Infamous Royalty Row:
In the 1960s, Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi engaged themselves in a row over issues related to royalty. Lataji demanded a share of half from the 5% share of royalties that were granted to selected composers. However, Mohammad Rafi disagreed to her views and the fall out resulted into their not singing together for years.
All the duets that were planned during the era were cancelled abruptly as the two singers denied singing with each other. The row continued for years until music director Jaikishan arranged for peace between them.
It is said, that even Raj Kapoor disagreed with Lata Mangeshkar and she stopped singing for him as well. However, later, Lata Mangeshkar had her way in this issue and the producers, composers had to bow down in front of her demands.
Lata Mangeshkar- As A Music Composer:
The singing genius Lata Mangeshkar’s talent is not just restricted to one arena. The Nightingale of India has composed music too. In the year 1955 for the very first time she composed music for a Marathi film titled ‘Ram Ram Pavhane’ and later in the 1960s, under the pen-name of Anand Ghan, she composed music for different Marathi movies like ‘Ram Ram Pavhana’ in 1960, ‘Maratha Tituka Melvava’ and ‘Mohityanchi Manjula’ in 1963, ‘Sadhi Manase’ in the year 1965 and ‘Tambadi Mati’ in 1969.
Lata Mangeshkar has also won Best Music Director Award given by the Maharashtra State Government for the movie ‘Sadhi Manase’ and the song from the same film ‘Airanichya Deva Tula’ won the award for the Best Song of the Year.
Lata Mangeshkar- The Producer:
Lata Mangeshkar has also produced four films – 3 Hindi films and 1 Marathi film. She produced Marathi film ‘Vaadal’ in 1953. The Hindi film ‘Jhaanjhar’ in 1953 was produced by her along with C. Ramchandra as the co-producer. ‘Kanchan’ in 1955 and ‘Lekin’ in 1990 are the other two Hindi films produced by her.
Bharat Ratna & Other Awards:
Lata Mangeshkar was presented with the ‘Bharat Ratna’ (Highest Civilian Award in India) in 2001 by the Government of India. She was also awarded with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 1969 and 1999 respectively. She received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989, Maharashtra Bhushan Award in 1999, NTR National Award in 1999. Her name was found in the Guinness Book of World Records for being ‘The Most Recorded Artist in History between 1948 to 1987’.
Unknown Facts About Lata Mangeshkar:
- Lata Mangeshkar sang for her first International Concert at The Royal Albert Hall, London. The graph of her voice recorded so far by them through a computer shows her voice to be absolutely ‘perfect’.
- Lataji holds six Honorary Doctorate Awards from various Universities from all over the world!
- Apart from singing, her most addictive passion is Photography.
- She always sings barefoot while recording for any song.
- She can sing in 3 octaves which is very rare in the industry!
- Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray and Bimal Roy are her favourite directors.
- She loves literary works of Tolstoy and Chekov.
- After India Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Aruna Asaf Ali and M. S. Subulakshmi, Lata Mangeshkar is the 5th only Indian woman to receive the Bharat Ratna.
- A perfume named as ‘Lata Eau de Parfum’ has been launched in 1999, which consists of a variety of fruit scents that are her personal favourites.
- Lataji has been the first Indian Artist to sing at a Toronto charity event and the million dollars generated through the event were all donated by her generously.
- It is said that Lataji chews a lot of chillies and chewing gums to keep her voice fit!
- In 2012, Lata Mangeshkar inaugurated her own music label LM MUSIC which consists of devotional songs sung by her and her sister Usha Mangeshkar.