Lata Mangeshkar

From Academic Kids

Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar (लता मंगेश्कर) (born September 28, 1929 Indore) is the most revered Indian singer, whose career has spanned six decades. Although she has sung non-filmi songs in various languages, she is chiefly known as a Bollywood Hindi playback singer. However, as of late, her voice has noticeably deteriorated.

Missing image
Lata Mangeshkar, during a stage performance.


Lata was born in Indore as the eldest daughter of Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar in a middle-class Maharashtrian family. Her father was a theatre-artist and singer. Music was a part of her family. Her siblings Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle also chose music as their careers.

Although she was born at Indore, Lata was brought up in Maharashtra. When she was 5 year oldLata started working as a child-artist in several of her father's performances. Once when her father was playing Arjun at a play at Solapur, she insisted on playing elder Narad, although she was only a 7-year old child then. Despite her father's protest, she played the role and impressed the audience with her great acting and singing skills.

1940s :Initial days in Bollywood

Lata wanted to be a singer in her childhoold. As a little kid, after watching Kundan Lal Saigal - starrer movie Chandidas, Lata declared that she would marry K L Saigal, when she grew up. Her first song for a movie was for the film Kirti Hasaal, which was produced by Vasant Joglekar. Her father didn't want her to sing for movies, and the song had to be dropped from the film. But her talent impressed Vasant very much, who later said - "She is an introvert. That's why she's not proud. But she reveals her pride in her singing."

After the death of her father (when she was still a 13-year old adolescent), Lata had to go through financial and emotional struggles. She didn't like acting very much, but the untimely death of her father and the need to earn money forced her to play cameo roles in many Hindi and Marathi films. Her first film as an actress was Pahili Mangalagaur (1942), in which she played younger sister to actress Snehprabha Pradhan. Later, she acted in many films including, Maaze Baal, Chimukla Sansar (1943), Gajabhau (1944), Badi Maa (1945), Jeevan Yatra (1946), Mand (1948), Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952). In Badi Maa, Lata acted with Noor Jehan and her younger sister Asha Bhosle. She sang for herself and did playback for Asha.

In 1945, maestro Ghulam Haider (who earlier discovered Noor Jehan) took Lata to the producer of a forthcoming movie starring actress Kamini Kaushal. He wanted the producer to give 16-year old Lata a chance to sing. The producer dismissed Lata's beautiful soft voice as too immature and girlish. Ghulam Haider was extremely annoyed and said - "Let me fortell today that this girl will soon put to shade everyone else including Noor Jehan. Producers and signers will fall at her feet begging her to sing in their fims." Today, most people will recongnize Ghulam Haider as a great fortune-teller.

In 1947, Vasant Joglekar got Lata to sing for his film Aapki Seva Mein. The songs composed by musician Datta Daavjekar established Lata as a leading playback singer in Bollywood. Lata reinforced her position with hit songs from the movie Majboor - Angrezi chhora chala gaya and Dil mera toda Haaye, mujhe kahinka na choda tere pyaar ne . However, Lata was still looking for that elusive hit, that would give the recognition she deserved.

In 1949, Lata got her big break with the song Aayega Aanewaala from the movie Mahal. The song was pircturized on Bollywood's screen goddess Madhubala and was composed by Khemchand Prakash. The film was a superhit. It was a turning point in careers of Madhubala and Lata. More hits follwoed and Lata became the most sought after playback singer.

Lata struck a rapport with the composers like Naushad and lyricists like Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Rajendra Krishna, 'Majrooh Sultanpuri etc.

1950s: Lata's popularity rises

1950s saw Lata becoming the favorite singer of composers like Shankar-Jaikishan, Sachin Dev Burman, Chitalkar Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Salil Chaudhary among others. However, she and composer O. P. Nayyar had great misunderstandings and O. P. Nayyar gave patronage to her sister Asha Bhosle.

Composer S D Burman and lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi got Lata sing Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye for Sazaa 1951. The team also recorded songs for Navketan Productions' House No. 44, in which Lata rendered the lovely Phaili hui hain sapnon ki baahein (Spread are the arms of dreams). Once when Bollywood musicians decided to go on strike, paralyzing all recording activity, S D Burman said "As long as there is Lata, I am safe". However, in 1957, Lata and S D Burman fell out and decided not to work together. They patched up later, in 1962.

Lata recorded the popular Man dole mera tan dole (My mind swings, my body swings...) with the composer Hemant Kumar for the movie Nagin (1954). She went on to record many more songs with the same composer, including Kahin deep jale kahin dil.

Lata recorded many songs in late 1940s and early 1950s with the team of composer C Ramchandra and lyricist Rajendra Krishan. Some of their hits include Dheere se aaja from Albela (1951), Radha na bole from Azaad (1955)).

Lata and Rajendra Krishna also teamed up with the composer Madan Mohan to churn out some great ghazals includingYun hasraton ke daag (Adaalat (1958), Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko (Jailor) and Main to tum sang nain mila ke (Manmauji), Na tum bewafa ho (Ek Kali Muskarai). Lata and Madan Mohan created more beautiful ghazals in 1960s.

Lata sang some of the most beautiful songs for composers Shankar-Jaikishan and lyricists Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra. Jiya bekaraar hai (Barsaat 1949), Rasik Balma from Chori Chori (1956), the title song of Hariyali Aur Raasta (duet with Mukesh), Gumnaam hai koi (Gumnaam) penned by Hasrat were instant hits. Shailendra's Ajeeb Daastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna Preet Parai), Tum to dil ke taar chhedkar (Roop ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja), Kisi ne apna banake mujhko (Patita) were great hits as well.

Raj Kapoor always had the team of Shankar-Jaikishan, Hasrat, Shailendra, Mukesh and Lata for the music of his films - Barsaat, Anaadi etc. The songs of all his films were superhit. Raj Kapoor called Lata as an avtar of Hindu goddess Saraswati. Lata's romantic duets with the singer Manna Dey for Raj Kapoor's films were huge hits - Pyaar hua, Ikraar hua, Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, Dil ki girah khol do (Raat aur din 1967), Aaja Sanam, madhur chandani mein hum (Chori Chori) etc.

Shailendra and Lata also teamed up with composer Salil Chaudhary to produce great music in the Bimal Roy movies such as Madhumati (1958) and Parakh (1960). Once, Salil sang an emotional Bengali song on Bimal Roy's request. After the song was finished, Salil found that Lata had fainted. Later Lata told him - "I was so overcome that I coudn't control myself" Salil once said - "Almost all my songs that require a female voice have been sung by Lata. I've rarely felt the need to turn to someone else." Lata recorded some of her most memorable songs with Salil, including Raaton ke saaye, Chhoti si baat, O Sajna barkha bahaar aayee (Parakh) and Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati), Itna tu mujhse na pyaar badhaa (Chhaya, duet with Talat Mahmood, penned by Rajendra Krishna).

Lata met singer-actor Kishore Kumar at a Khemchand Prakash's recording under funny circumstances. Lata was going to Khemchand's studio and Kishore was also going to the same place. Lata thought that she is being followed by a man with bad intentions. It was only after reaching the studio, she realized that the man is going to sing a duet with her. Lata sang maximum number of duets with Kishore Kumar. (many people wrongly believe that it was Mohammad Rafi).Of course, Lata recorded many duets with Mohammad Rafi Mukesh and Manna Dey too. Her co-singer were all praise for her.

1960s: Lata is the playback queen

Lata's playback songs for Madhubala - Mohe panghat and Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya from the movie Mughal-e-Azam (1960) became huge hits. The songs were penned by Shakil Badayuni and composed by Nausahd. While recording Mohe panghat, Naushad told Lata - "I've created this song only for you. Nobody else can render this song."

In 1962, Lata sang the non-filmi patriotic song Aye mere watan ke logon at a function. Composer C Ramchandra's music was great and Poet Pradeep 's lyrics were moving, but it was Lata's voice that made the difference. The song moved Indian Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, to tears.

Lata proved her versatility when she sang the Middle-Eastern Islamic number Aye Dilruba (Roustam Sohrab 1963) for the composer Sajjad Hussain. The lyricist was Jan Nissar Akhtar, Javed Akhtar's father.

Hasrat Jaipuri, Shankar-Jaikishan and Lata teamed up to produce hits like Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par (Junglee 1961) among others. Lata and Shankar-Jaikishan also worked on Shailendra's lyrics to create lovely songs like Ruk ja raat thahar ja re chanda (Stop, O Night!; Wait, O Moon!) from Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Tumhen yaad karte karte from Amrapali (1966).

Lata's bhajan - Allah tero naam (Hum dono 1961), penned by Sahir Ludhiyanvi and composed by S D Burman's assistant Jaidev, became hugely popular among the masses. Lata also recorded many other popular songs with Jaidev, including Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye (Prem Parvat, lyricist: Jan Nisar Akhtar).

1960s also saw patching-up between Lata and S D Burman. The songs from Dev Anand's Guide (1956), penned by Shailendra were huge hits. The superb song picturized on Waheeda Rehman, Aaj phir jeene ki tammana hai, aaj phir marne ka iraada hai (Today I wish to live again, Today I've decided to die) and the duet with Kishore Kumar Gaata rahe mera dil, tu hi meri manzil (My heart sings you are my destination) became evergreeen hits. Shailendra, S D Burman and Lata again came together in Jewel Thief (1967). The songs Rula ke gaya sapna mera and Hothon pe aisi baat became very popular. The film also saw Mohammed Rafi and Lata coming together once again to sing Dil pukaare aa re. (Earlier, they had fallen out with other on the issue of payment of royalties). Lata also sang for the 1969 landmark movie, Aradhana, in which she recorded Kora Kaagaz tha yeh man mera with Kishore Kumar. The lyricist was Anand Bakshi and composer was S D Burman.

Lata also recorded many songs with composer Roshan (better known as Hrithik Roshan's grandpa). In 1966, Lata recorded soulful Rahein na rahein hum, mehka karenge (Mamta) for Roshan. The song was penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Again in 1967, Roshan and Lata turned lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi's words into songs for the film Bahu Begam. The song Duniya kare sawal to hum kya javaab de? became very popular.

The musician of duo Kalyanji-Anandji had earlier worked with Lata as the assistants of Shankar-Jaikishan. When they decided to compose music independently, they chose Lata as their lead female voice. The beautiful songs of the film Saraswati Chandra (1968) that were written by Indeevar are nice examples of music that the team created - Phool tumhe bheji hai khat mein (duet with Mukesh), Chandan sa badan, Chhod de saari duniya kisike liye. Kalyanji-Anandji worked with Lata to create many more beautiful songs like O mere mitwa (Geet).

Lyricist Anand Bakshi's most famous songs were sung by Lata. Their first hit together was Yeh sama from Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) - composed by Kalyanji-Anandji. When Kalyanji-Anadji's assistants, Laxmikant-Pyarelal ("LP") decided to go independent, Lata recommended them to producers and sang for their first film. In film Shagird(1967), Lata and LP displayed their versatility, when they created the bhajan Kanha aan padi main tere dwaar and the romantic Woh hain zara khafa khafa. The songs were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. In 1969, LP got Lata to sing the sensual Aa Jaanen Jaan (Intadam 1969, lyricist: Rajendra Krishna), where Lata proved that she can also sing sexy numbers like Asha Bhosle. The team of Anand Bakshi, LP and Lata became very popular and produced many hits in late 1960s and 1970s. Their songs, Saavan ka mahina, pavan kare sor (duet with Mukesh) from Milan(1967) and Bindiya Chamkegi (Do Raaste (1969), the title song of Aan Milo Sajna became very popular.

Lata also recorded the hit Baharon mera jeevan bhi savaron for composer Khayyam and lyricist Kaifi Azmi in the movie Aakhiri Khat (1966). Khayyam also recorded many other songs with her. Kaifi Azmi and Madan Mohan worked together in few movies like Heer-Ranjha, where they got Lata to sing beautiful songs like Milo na tum to hum ghabraayein.

However, 1960s of Bollywood music will be remembered for the ghazals that Lata sang for composer Madan Mohan and lyricist Raja Mehendi Ali Khan - Aapp ki nazron ne samjha from Anpadh (1962), Lag ja gale from Woh Kaun Thi (1964), Nainon mein badra chhaye, Mera saaya saath hoga from Mera Saaya (1966) etc. Madan and Lata also worked with other lyricists like Kaifi Azmi and Rajendra Krishna. Even O. P. Nayyar once said while giving an interview in Dubai - "I don't knowwhether Lata was created for Madan or Madan was created for Lata. But there has never been a composer like Madan, nor has there been a singer like Lata".

In 1960s, S D Burman's son, Rahul Dev Burman also made his debut as a composer. He recorded many beautiful songs with Lata in late 1960s - Kya janoon sajan (Baharon Ke Sapne 1967), Ni sultana re, pyar ka mausam aaya (Pyaar Ka Mausam 1969, duet with Rafi) etc.

1970s: Lata is ageless diva

In her 40s, Lata was still the first choice of composers to sing for damsels in their 20s.

1971 saw release of much delayed Meena Kumari-starrer Pakeezah. The film had music by Ghulam Mohammed. The Kaifi Azmi song, rendered by Lata - Chalte Chalte became an overnight superhit. Other songs too, were great hits - Inhi logon ne le lina dupatta mera, Chalo dildar chalo (duet with Rafi).

Lata also recorded many beautiful songs in the last films of S D Burman. Dev Anand's direcoral debut, Prem Pujari, flopped but the songs penned by Neeraj and sung by Lata were hits - Rangeela re, Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye etc. The hit songs from Sharmilee 1971, penned by Neeraj, included Khilte hain gul yahan, Aaj madhosh hua jaaye re (duet with Kishore Kumar) and Megha chhaye aadhi raat. S D Burman got 44 year old Lata to sing for young Jaya Bachchan - Piya bina, piya bina, kya jeena and Nadiya kinare, Teri bindiya re (Abhimaan 1973, duet with Rafi). All these songs were written by Majrooh.

Lata also recorded the memorable songs for Salil Chaudhary - Raaton ke Saaye ( Annadata 1971), title song of Chhoti Si Baat (1974). In 1974, Lata also recorded a bhajan of Meerabai, Saanware Rang Rachi with her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

The Bollywood Music scene in 1970s was dominated by composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal ("LP") and Rahul Dev Burman ("Pancham"). Pancham and LP were fans of Lata and recorded a large number of songs with her and Kishore Kumar.

Lata sang a large variety of songs for R D Burman - the intricate classical song from Amar Prem 1971, Raina Beeti Jaaye (lyricist: Anand Bakshi), the frothy Dilbar dil se pyaare from Caravan (1971) and the sensual Bahon mein chale aao (both songs written by Majrooh Sultanpuri). Lata and Pancham worked together for many film albums, including Kati Patang (1970) and Sholay (1975). Lata, Kishore Kumar, R D Burman and lyricist Gulzar came together in film Aandhi (1975) to produce some of the most soulful duets coming out of Bollywood - Tere bina zindagi se, Tum aa gaye ho and Is mod se jaate hain. The team went on to record many more lovely songs. The tragedy song from the film Mehbooba - Mere Naina Savan Bhado (also sung by Kishore) is a great example of the rapport that Lata shared with Pancham.

Lata, Anand Bakshi and LP worked together for many film albums, churning out hits like including Mehboob ki Mehendi, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki etc. LP also gave music in Raj Kapoor's Satyam Shivam Sunderam (1978), in which Lata's rendering of the title song impressed everybody.

In 1976, Lata recorded songs for composer Khayyam and lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi for the film Kabhi Kabhie (1976). The title song (also sung by Mukesh) was a superhit. Lata and Khayyam came together once again, this time with lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar, for the movie Shankar Hussain (1977), where they recorded the hit song Aap yun faaslon se.

1980s: Lata gets selective

In 1980s, Lata cut down on her singing to allow new younger talent to come up. In 1982, the team of Lata, Jan Nisar Akhtar and Khayyam worked on the music of the movie Razia Sultana, where she rendered the beautiful Aye dil-e-naadaan.

Ravindra Jain, the blind composer was given a big break, when Raj Kapoor asked him to give music for Ram Teri Ganga Maili. Ravindra got Lata to sing the beautiful songs in the movie including Sun Saiba Sun.

Ramlaxman was another new composer, whose favorite singer was Lata Mangeshkar. He and Lata worked together in many Rajshri Productions movies, including Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum aapke hain kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. Maine Pyaar Kiya1989 was Salman Khan's first film and set a record of sorts. The movie was declared superhit and the songs sung by Lata and S. P. Balasubramaniam were declared superhit as well - Dil Deewana, Kabootar ja ja, Aaja shaam hone aai and the title song. In fact, a large credit for the success of the film went to its songs. Ramlaxman and Lata also worked together.

Lata also worked with the children of composers she had earlier worked with. Apart from Sachin and Rahul Dev Burman, other good examples are: Chitragupta and his sons Anand-Milind, Roshan and his son Rajesh Roshan, Sardar Malik and his son Anu Malik. Rajesh Roshan's first film Julie had some lovely romantic numbers sung by Lata - Bhool gaya sab kuchh (duet with Kishore Kumar) and Yeh Raatein Nai Puraani.

Lata was awarded with the Padma Bhushan in 1989.

1990s: Lata is a living legend

By 1990, people had recognized Lata as a living legend. She was the idol of every Indian girl, who inspired to be a singer. In 1990, Lata launched her own production house. Her first (and the only) movie as a producer - Lekin - flopped. But the music (composed by her brother, Hridaynath) was appreciated well. The haunting song Yaara seeli seeli, written by Gulzar is one of the best songs that Lata every sang.

In 1990s, Lata also recorded many non-filmi songs, including ghazals with Jagjit Singh. One such nice ghazal is Dhuan banake fiza mein, recorded in 1992.

The songs that Lata recorded for Ramlaxman in the Rajshri Productions film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun were superhit. Madhuri Dixit says about Didi tera devar deevana - "I just couldn't match with her coy 'ada's".

Lata also sang for all Yash Chopra films, including Dil To Pagal Hai.

But the new composers like A. R. Rahman, Jatin Lalit and Uttam Singh still considered it an honor to work with Lata. Lata says - "The problem with new composers is that they respect me very much and don't dare correct me when I go wrong in singing a line. I don't want to sing much now, but, I just can't refuse when people like A. R. Rahman come to me with a tune."

A. R. Rahman has recorded quite a few hit songs with Lata, including the famous Jiya Jale from Mani Ratnam's Dil Se. The song was picturized on Preity Zinta.

Lata the person

In her heydays, Lata's mastery over pitch and scale was amazing. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan once said about Lata - "She never sings off-key". Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, said about her "It isn't as though she always got great lines to sing. It's the magic of her voice that elevates the lyrics."

But more than her magical voice, it was Lata's humility that made her favorite singer of all the composers, lyricists, actors and producers in Bollywood. Noor Jehan, whom Lata used to imitate in her early years as a singer says - "People say Lata ji considers me as a phenomenon. I would say that's her humility. Lata ji is Lata ji. No singer, like her has ever been born." Actress Waheeda Rahman, whose most songs were sung by Lata, once said - "Lata never thinks of herself as The Lata Mangeshkar. She does her job to best of her abilities and never looks back."

Lata is a very good-humored person and her favorite actor is Aamir Khan. When Aamir was criticized for singing an 'item' number Aati kya Khandala in the movie Ghulam, Lata said in an interview - "I am pleasantly surprised. He has sung very well."

It is said that Lata and her sister Asha didn't go well with each other in their heydays, but now they have patched up. Lata owns a flat in London and both the sisters can be often found vacationing in London.

Lata has received four Filmfare Awards, the Platinum Disc of EMI London and many other awards.

Also on January 25th 2001 she received the Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civilian award.

Singing style

Lata has displayed versatility in her singing. An example of her upbeat, playful numbers is Ae Phansa from Bobby. Examples of her sad songs are Aankhiyon Ko Rehne De of the same movie or Mohabbat Ki Jhuthi of Mughal-e-Azam.

However she has done some great runs too; like in Thoda Resham Lagta Hai from the movie Jyoti. Lata hits every note, every run and every breath on key. It has been one of her best songs. One of the tracks where her voice has been at its sweetest is the Mughal-e-Azam soundtrack; another is Mohabbat Ki Jhuthi.

Lata has been an influential force in playback singing. The singers have come after her haven't been able to capture the listener's hold the way she has. Lata has a way of making a song her own. In her later years, Lata's voice has weakened, nevertheless she has been able to give good performances. The Mujhse Dosti Karoge soundtrack, where she sings some of her old songs is done beautifully. The Latest being of the film Veer Zaara, songs composed by late Madan Mohan, where Lata Mangeshkar's voice virtually sprays magic.

See also

External link

hi:लता मंगेश्कर


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