Born on the 29th of September, in the year 1929, Lata Mangeshkar is one of the most renowned playback singers in the field of Indian music. Mangeshkar’s career in the field of music started around the 1940s and has spanned over a period of seventy years.
Lata Mangeshkar was born into a Gomantak Maratha (Maratha – speaking) family, in the Princely state of Indore, a part of the Central Indian Agency (which is now a part of Madhya Pradesh). She was born to Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, her father and Shevanti (Shudhamti), her mother. Her father was both a Classical musician and theatre actor. Her mother, was born in a place known as Thalner, in Maharashtra. She was the second of Mangeshkar’s father, Deenannath Mangeshkar. Deenanath changed the family’s last name to Mangeshkar, which was previously known as Hardikar. He did so in order to provide recognition to his family name with his native town, Mangeshi, in Goa.
Mangeshkar started to take her preliminary lessons in music from her father. When she was about five years old, she began to work as an actor in the musical plays (Sangeet Natak in Marathi) directed by her father. On the very first day of school, she started to tutor other children in the class by teaching them songs.
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In the year 1942, when Mangeshkar was about 13 years old,her father died suffering from a heart disease. Later, after the death of her father, Master Vinayak (Vinayak Damodar Karnataki), the owner of the Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of the Mangeshkar family, took care of Mangeshkar and her family. Not only did he help the family financially, but also helped Lata to start her career as a playback singer and actor.
Mangeshkar gradually started to create a renowned position for herself in the musical field. She sang the song “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” for the famous Marathi movie Kiti Hasaal (1942) which was directed by Joglekar. The famous musician Sadashivrao Nevrekar composed the music for this movie. However, to Lata’s misfortune, the song was removed from the movie’s music album in the final cut.
Later, Vinayak offered Lata a chance to expose her talents. Lata was given a small role in the Navyug Navyug Chitrapat’s Marathi movie Pahili Mangalaa-gaur in the year 1942. She sang the song “Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai”. The famous musician Dada Chandekar composed music for this movie.
Later in the year 1945, Mangeshkar moved to the Mumbai city as Master Vinayak’s company headquarters was moved there. From then on, she started to take lessons in the Hindustani Classical music from the legend Shri Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhendibazaar Gharana.
Gradually, she got many opportunities to sing in the Bollywood film industry. She was offered a chance to sing in a Vasant Joglekar’s Hindi movie “Aap Ki Seva Mein” in the year 1946. She sang the song “Paa Lagoon Kar Jori”, which was composed by the musician Datta Davjekar.
Vinayak also offered chances for Mangeshkar to act in films other than singing. Mangeshkar and her sister were given an opportunity to act in minor roles in his debut Hindi language movie, “Badi Maa” in the year 1945. In this movie, not only did Lata act but also sang. She sang the divinely Bhajan “Maata Tere Charnon Mein.” Later, she was introduced to the then famous music composer Vasant Desai. This introduction took place during the recording of Vinayak’s second Hindi movie, Subhadra, in the year 1946.
In the year 1948, Master Vinayak passed away. After his demise, the music composer Ghulam Haider tutored her as a singer. Mangeshkar was introduced to the producer Sashadhar Mukherjee. This famous producer was working then, on the movie Shaheed, in the year 1948. Despite Haider’s recommendation, Mukherjee rejected Mangeshkar for he felt that her voice was too thin. However, Haider was unmindful of Mukherjee’s opinions and offered her a colossal break with the song “Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora” from the movie Majboor in the year 1948. This song became her first ever biggest breakthrough film hit. Lata’s reverence for her Guru Haider is very much evident when she declared, “Ghulam Haider is truly my Godfather. He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent”, in an interview on her 84th birthday in the year 2013.
Not only was Mangeshkar a great singer, but also a great music composer. In the year 1955, she composed music for the Marathi movie “Ram Ram Pavhana. In the year 1960s, she composed music for movies under the pseudonym, Anand Ghan. Few of the movies are as follows: 1960 – Ram Ram Pavhana, 1963 – Maratha Tituka Melvava, 1963 – Mohityanchi Manjula, 1965 – Sadhi Manase and 1969 – Tambadi Mati.She was awarded the “Best Music DirectorAward” by the Maharashtra State Government for the film “Sadhi Manase”.
There are numerous awards to her credit and this woman continues to sway the masses away with her blessed musical talents.