India, the country known for its diverse and rich culture, has lost a precious and extremely talented artist today, Lata Mangeshkar. She was 92 years old and was one of the most revered and well-known vocalists who inspired generations of artists in the whole world for almost a century. She was diagnosed with Covid-19 and was admitted to Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital last month after suffering from severe symptoms of pneumonia.
Lata Mangeshkar was born on the 28th of September 1929 to Deenanath Mangeshkar, a Marathi and Konkani musician, and his wife Shevanti in Indore. Deenanath Mangeshkar was a classical singer and theatre actor. Her mother, Shevanti (later renamed Shudhamati), was a Gujarati woman.
She was the eldest of five siblings.
Lata Mangeshkar was only five-years-old when her father Pt Deenanath Mangeshkar started giving her singing lessons and that’s how her musical journey began. Her father, Pt Deenanath Mangeshkar was a well-known Marathi theatre artiste and Hindustani Classical vocalist. She even participated in her father’s plays, but destiny had other plans for her.
At the age of 13, when she was just about to start her music career, she lost her father. Being the eldest among her five siblings, the responsibility of the family fell upon her, and she took the challenge head-on. She started singing in films and became the sole bread-earner of her family.
Master Vinayak was her family’s close friend and was the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company. He took care of her family and helped her to become an actor and a singer. Her first song was Vasant Joglekar’s Marathi film Kiti Hasaal (1942), but it did not make the screen. She sang a few songs for some Marathi films but later moved to Mumbai in 1945. It’s here that she began training under Ustad Aman Ali Khan of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana.
She worked hard to support her siblings — Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
She didn’t marry. Today, all her five siblings are renowned artists and have even collaborated on several projects.
Lata Mangeshkar has won several awards and honours, including India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievements (1999), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1989), Maharashtra Bhushan Award (1997), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001), Legion of Honour (2007), ANR National Award (2009), three National Film Awards and 15 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards. She has also won four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards.
She was laid to rest at Shivaji Park maidan with full state honours on Sunday evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM Uddhav Thackeray, Shah Rukh Khan, Asha Bhosle, Sachin Tendulkar, Devendra Fadnavis, and several other high-profile personalities of the political, music and Bollywood industry attended the music legend’s funeral and paid their last respects to the departed soul.
Two days of national mourning has been announced by the Prime Minister with the Maharashtra government observing a public holiday on Monday.
Just like the lyrics of her famous song, ‘Meri Aawaaz hi pehchaan hai’, her voice would always echo in the ears of the people of the nation forever as legends never die.