Born on September 28, 1929, Lata didi, as she is fondly addressed, has sung in over 36 languages. On her special day, we replay her last exclusive interview, which gives insights into her one-in-million persona...
Lata Mangeshkar. Two words that encapsulate seven decades of music and a golden volumnious chapter in Hindi music. Lata has been an intrinsic part of the national consciousness just like, perhaps, the Taj Mahal. Her songs of love and loss, hope and happiness, strife and success, have helped generations heal and deal with a spectrum of intricate human emotions. Distilled and unblemished, her voice springing from the inner recesses of a consecrated artiste has made Lata the stuff of legends…
A muse who enthused a hundred mentors and inspired a million melodies, she will continue to be heard so long as the sun and stars conform to the diktats of gravity. Lata’s tryst with music began when she was just five. As a teenager, she turned breadwinner to a family that became a victim of misfortune. “This year in October, I complete 75 years in the film industry. My father (noted musician Dinanath Mangeshkar) passed away in April 1942 and in October the same year I started working,” she looks back. Young Lata began as an actor and Pahili Mangalagaur (1942) with Shahu Modak was her first film followed by Chimukla Sansar (1943) and Maajhe Baal (1944). “I was around 13-14. So I’d get roles of the hero’s or the heroine’s sister. But I didn’t like acting. Applying make-up, laughing and crying on order wasn’t something I enjoyed. I was happiest singing,” she smiles. And sing she did only to achieve a position nothing short of deification.
After winning awards repeatedly for years, in 1969, she gracefully declined to accept them and asked establishments to no longer nominate her. Instead she urged them to encourage her peers and juniors. The last time Lata Mangeshkar sang for a Hindi film was in 2011 when she crooned Tere hasne se in the film Satrangee Parachute. At the age of 87, she’s not interested in playback anymore.
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