India’s legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar is celebrating her 89th birthday today. Last year, our nightingale completed 75 years in the industry. She was only 13 years old when she recorded her song for the first time. It was back in the year 1942 and her first song was not in Hindi but in Marathi, called ‘Natali chaitraachi navalaai’ in the Marathi film, Pahili Mangalagaur.
From Madhubala to Madhuri Dixit, from Rekha to Kajol, Lata Mangeshkar lent her voice to actresses all generations. Her last recorded song was in 2015, in an indo-pak movie. Who else could have been a gracious front-running playback singer for 73 years? The Empress of playback singing has carved a niche that no one can ever touch. In that era, there was no female singer that could match the beauty of her voice, apart from her sister, Asha Bhonsle, of course. The two sisters unarguably ruled the industry and gave us songs to remember for a lifetime. Bahon mein chale aao, Ajeeb dastan hai yeh, Tere binda zindagi se, Tune oh rangeele, Yeh kahan aa gaye hum, Pyaar hua ikraar hua…the list is endless.
Singing came naturally to this nightingale, coming from a family of artists. Her father, Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a well-known Marathi theatre actor and a musician. He also ran a theatre company. It was her father who discovered the singer in Lata ji and encouraged her to pursue singing.
In the more modern times, she developed a good bond with Yash Chopra, the result of which was an array of unforgettable movies with mindblowing music. Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Kabhie Kabhie, Silsila have been etched in our hearts. While Lata ji is thoroughly missed, she remains forever alive in our hearts through her unmatched, supreme level of musical talent.
Here are some rare photos of the nightingale.