Lata Mangeshkar - Voice Queen

Lata Mangeshkar is India’s most well known playback singer. She has sung in all the major Indian languages. Lata Mangeshkar was born in on September 28, 1929 in Indore. Her father was Dinanath Mangeshkar and her mother was Shudhmati. She had a younger brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar,and  three younger sisters named Asha (Bhosle), Usha and Meena. Her father Dinanath was an  classical vocalist. It is said that Lata made her acting debut at the age of five in a play in which her father was participating.

Lata’s early film career was characterized by numerous changes in direction, false starts, and a general unsteadiness. It was not at all clear that she was destined to be a successful singer.

This was the year that the film “Kit Haaal” was release. This was the first film that Lata recorded for; unfortunately her song would be cut and not make it to the finished version. More traumatically for the young Lata, is that this was the year that her father died of a heart attack.

Lata was only 13 years old when her father died, but as the oldest child, responsibility fell upon her to help take care of her families financial needs.

The period in the early 40's did not look promising for Lata. Her thin voice was very different from the heavier voice quality that was in vogue . She received numerous rejections. It was not until 1947 that she was able to get a toehold in the industry by singing “Pa Lagoon Kar Jori Re” in the film “Aap ke Sewa Main” (1947). Lata sang several songs in other films over the next few years, but her first big hit was in 1949 with “Aayega Aanewaala”.

There is no doubt that the partition played a role in Lata’s rise to fame. During the partition, there was a disruption when many directors, producers and artists left Bombay, while others migrated to India from Lahore. One of the most notable artists to leave India, was Noor Jahan, who was the undisputed queen of the filmsong at the time.

As the 1950’s began, Lata was firmly established as a film singer. Music directors she sang for included such greats as Shankar-Jaikishan, and Anil Biswas. During this period, “Mahal”, “Barsaat”  and “Ek Thi Ladki”   were just some of the famous films that used her voice.

Lata also worked with most of the major music directors in this period. Her work with, both S.D. Burman and R.D. Burman were very fruitful.

However Lata’s reign was not always a smooth one. There was the well known professional rivalry with her sister Asha Bhosle. For some years she would not sing with Mohd. Rafi due to a long standing dispute over royalties. During the peak of her career, she had a tremendous political clout within the film industry and is known to have exercised this freely.