Lata Mangeshkar is a renowned and respected Indian playback singer, and occasional music-composer.

Mangeshkar’s career started in 1942 and has spanned over seven decades. She has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages

Lata started acting in her father’s musical plays since the age of five and took lessons in classical music from maestros like Amanat Khan, Pandit Tulsidas Sharma and Aman Ali Khan Saheb later in life. She received no formal education and at the age of 13 had to take on the family’s financial responsibility after her father’s death; a family friend helped her get jobs as an actress in Marathi and Hindi Films.

Starting from Vaijayantimala till Preity Zinta, she has lent her voice to all leading ladies of Bollywood. Her first hit song came with the song ‘Ayega Anewala’ presented on-screen by actress Madhubala in the film Mahal in 1949. It is said that she moved India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears when she sang the song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, Zara Aankh Me Bhar Lo Pani.

Throughout her career she has worked as a singer, producer and music director and won Maharashtra State Government’s Best Music Director Award for the film Sadhi Manase with the song ‘Airanichya Deva receiving the best song award.

She received India’s highest award in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989 and is the second vocalist, after M. S. Subbulakshmi, to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.

Fun Fact

She was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in the world as she has recorded “not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages” between 1948 and 1974. Mohammed Rafi contested the statistics, and after 1991 the record was discontinued.

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Minutes by Lata Mangeshkar