Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85

Updated: September 28, 2014 09:23 IST

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar is one of the very few people with whom many generations can connect. Her soulful voice, which is undoubtedly sweeter than honey, has been part of the Hindi film industry for over seven decades, leaving us hungry for more

Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
Legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar has been the voice behind many actresses across millennium. She is one of the very few people with whom many generations can connect. Her soulful voice, which is undoubtedly sweeter than honey, has been part of the Hindi film industry for over seven decades, leaving us hungry for more.

As the Nightingale of India turns 85, we take a pictorial look at her personal and professional life.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 28, 1929, in a Marathi-speaking family in Indore. Her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer and theatre actor, while her mother Shevanti was a homemaker.

The eldest child in the family, Lataji has three younger sisters – Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar – and a brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
After her father's death due to heart disease in 1942, thirteen-year-old Lata was forced to earn a living for the entire family. She took to singing and acting to make ends meet.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
She sang her first song - Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari - for Vasant Joglekar's Marathi movie Kiti Hasaal (1942). Sadly, the song was dropped from the final cut of the movie.

However, she was offered a small role in Navyug Chitrapat's Marathi movie Pahili Mangalaagaur (1942), in which she sang the song Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
Lataji took Indian classical music lessons from Ustad Amanat Ali Khan but later started training under Amanat Khan Devaswale after Ustad Amanat Ali Khan migrated to newly formed Pakistan after partition.

She also trained under Pandit Tulsidas Sharma, who was a pupil of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
With the film industry dominated by singers like Noor Jehan and Shamshad Begum who had heavy nasal voices, Lataji faced rejection as her soft voice was labeled too high pitched and thin by many.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
She got her first major break with the song Dil Mera Toda from the movie Majboor (1948) but her first major hit was Aayega Aanewaala from the movie Mahal (1949), which was picturised on Madhubala.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
During the 1950s, Lataji carved a niche for herself as an acclaimed singer in the Hindi film industry and her career took a turn for the better.

During this phase, she collaborated with successful composers like S D Burman, Naushad Ali, Salil Chowdhury, Madan Mohan, and lent her voice to songs to movies like Baiju Bawra (1952), Shree 420 (1955) and Devdas (1955).

She won a Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song Aaja Re Pardesi from Madhumati (1958).

However, in the 1950s Lataji had a rift with S D Burman and the two didn't collaborate until 1962.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
There was no looking back for Lataji, who went on to sing hits like Jab Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya from Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi (1960).

As India fought China in 1963, Lataji brought tears to the eyes of then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with her songAiye Mere Watan ke Logon.

She then lent her voice to R D Burman's Bhoot Bangla (1965) and Pati Patni (1966), and also recorded several popular songs like Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai, Gata Rahe Mera Dil and Hothon Pe Aisi Baat for S D Burman.

During this period Lataji recorded duets with Manna Dey, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and bagged her second Filmfare Award for Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil from the movie Bees Saal Baad (1962).
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
In the 1970s, Lataji sang Chalte Chalte and Inhi Logon Ne from Meena Kumari's last film Pakeezah. These two songs are among Indian music's most beloved classics.

She recorded many famous songs for R D Burman, but the highlight of the period was the song Beeti Na Bitai from Parichay, picturised on Jaya Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar. Lataji won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song in 1973.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
In the 1980s, Lataji sang songs for hit movies like Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989) and Maine Pyar Kia (1989).
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
In the year 1990, Lataji launched her own production house and produced Gulzar's movie Lekin... (1990)

She went on to win her third National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song Yaara Sili Sili from Lekin…. Coincidentally, the song was composed by her younger brother Hridaynath.

During this phase, Lataji sung with almost every chart-topping singer like Sonu Nigam, S P Balasubrahmanyam, Udit Narayan, Hariharan, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Roop Kumar Rathod and Gurdas Maan.

She worked with A R Rahman and Jagjit Singh in the 1990s and lent her melodious voice to almost every Yash Chopra film.

The songs of Hum Apke Hain Kaun…! (1994) and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) were among her biggest hits of this time.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
As the millennium changed, Lataji's star only got brighter.

Pukar (2000), Mohabbatein (2000), Zubeidaa (2001), Rang De Basanti (2006) and Lagaan (2001) all have their best songs written Lataji's name all over them.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
Lata Mangeshkar has received many accolades and honours including Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001) and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (1993).
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
The Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in history in the year 1974. This was contested by Mohammed Rafi, who was claimed to have sung more songs than her.

However, in the year 2011, Asha Bhosle was officially acknowledged as the most recorded artist in music history by Guinness, thereby surpassing Mangeshkar.
Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: Song of the Nightingale @ 85
Here's wishing Lataji a very happy 85th birthday and a great year ahead.

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