"When I was barely eight, my father, who was also my guru, had told me, 'Fear only your own self. Ask yourself whether what you are doing is right and if the answer is yes, then move ahead without a second thought'. I have followed his mantra to this day." - Lata Mangeshkar
Indian ace singer Lata Mangeshkar is popularly called as the Nightingale of India. Her contribution to the Indian music industry is unconventional. She is the most respected singer in India today. When the era was ruled by the heavy basy nasal voices of singers like Rajkumari Dubey, Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai, Shamshad Begum, Noorjehan, Geeta Dutt, Ambalewali, & Suraiyya, Lata's sweet and high pitched voice rejoiced the audience.
Lataji started her singing career in 1942 and now with age of 77, she is still entertaining the audiences. Today she is one of the living legends in Indian film industry. She has ruled the music industry over five decades. Lataji owns around 250 trophies and 150 gold discs along with several Filmfare awards, National awards, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Bharat Ratna and many other awards. Bharat Ratna (Indian jewel) is the highest civilian award of India.
She is the only Asian who has received the Platinum Disc of EMI London. She was also honored with the Honorary Citizenship of the USA, Houston, Texas, USA in 1987. Lataji also has honored with the Honorary Citizenship of The Republic of Suriname, South America in 1980. She is most respected for her dedication towards music. Another legendary singer Kishore Kumar once charged 1 Rupee less than her to respect her dedication and sincerity. Lataji always seeks perfection in her singing.
Lataji born in a musical family in Sikh Mohalla, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. Her father Dinanath Mangeshkar was a classical singer as well as he was owner of a theatrical company called Balwant Sangeet Mandali. Lataji took her first singing lessons from her father at the age of five. Lataji is elder amongst her siblings. She has three sisters (Asha, Usha, Meena) and one brother (Hridaynath). Her sister Asha, now known as Asha Bhosle is also a renowned singer.
Lataji's father died in 1942, so the financial responsibility of family came to Lataji. Just after eight days of her father's death, Lata gets ready to sing and act in Marathi film Pahili Mangalagaur. She was only 12 when she sung for the film. During 1942 to 1948, Lataji acted in around 8 films.
Lata Mangeshkar made her debut as playback singer with the Marathi film 'Kitti Haasaal' in 1942. But the song was later edited out from the film.
Lataji's first Hindi song was in film Gajabhau (1943). Gajabhau was also Vinayak Rao's Marathi film. Rao gets impressed by Lataji's voice and signed her as a staff artist. Being a member of Rao's company, Lataji's monthly salary was of Rupees 60. In 1945, Rao's company shifted to big city Mumbai and also Lataji along with company moved to Mumbai.
In Mumbai she gets trained under Amanat Ali Khan Bhindibazarwala. But later when Pakistan gets created, Amanat Ali moved to Pakistan. Thereafter she was also a student of Ustad Amanat Khan Devaswale. She was also trained by Tulsidas Sharma.
Lataji made her debut as singer in Hindi movies with the film Aapki Sewa Mein (1947). But it didn't push her as a prominent singer. After the death of Vinayak Rao, Lataji went to Ghulam Haidar who was a friend of her guru (teacher) Amanat Ali. Haider got impressed with Lataji's singing talent and took her to Subodh Mukherjee. Subodh Mukherjee rejected her saying that her voice is very thin and doesn't suits heroines of that time. At that time many singers present were of with heavy basy and nasal voice. Lataji's sweet voice was different from those singers.
Although Mukherjee not believed in her, but Haider believed strongly in her. On the same day he took her to Bombay Talkies. Reaching at Bombay Talkies Lataji sung the same song that she had sung infront of Subodh Mukherjee, where she got selected to sing a song in film 'Majboor'. Lataji admits that a song from Majboor was her major break.
Followed by it she had given hits in films like Barsaat, Andaaz, Dulari, Badi Behen and Mahal. Since then she never looked back. She changed the industry. Her tonal quality pushed music directors to try their creativity. In late 1950's Lataji's sister Asha Bhosle also joined her and the two sisters ruled the industry through 90s. She has also made entry to the Guinness Book of Records for recording most number of songs in the world.
Lataji sang with all the top composers of the day like R. D. Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and Kalyanji-Anandji. But the two composers who really curved her career were C. Ramchandra and Madan Mohan. Ramchandra made her sound sweetest, while Madam Mohan challenged her voice like no other music director. She also worked with today's music directors like A R Rahman. She worked with A R Rahman for 'Dil Se (1998)'.
Lataji also sung in recent films like Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Mohabbatein, Machis, Dil Se and Veer-Zaara.
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