Lata Mangeshkar END OF AN ERA

  • 12 Feb - 18 Feb, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Obituary

Her optimism amid personal struggles was inspirational. Her voice? Unforgettable. Lata Mangeshkar, legendary Indian singer, had died at age 92. The songstress died of “multi-organ failure after more than 28 days of hospitalisation post Covid-19”, Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai, her doctor Pratit Samdani told reporters last Sunday.

Mangeshkar was born in a Maharashtrian family in 1929, the eldest daughter of Deenanath Mangeshkar, a Marathi and Konkani musician, and his wife Shevanti in Indore. Her father, Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer and theatre actor. Lata was named Hema at her birth. Her parents later renamed her Lata after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays. She was the eldest child in the family. Meena, Asha, Usha, and Hridaynath, are her siblings; all are accomplished singers and musicians. Lata had music in her genes. Her father was a popular crooner of his time. She received her first music lesson from her father. At the age of five, she started to work as an actress in her father's musical plays.

In 1942, when Mangeshkar was 13, her father died of heart disease. Master Vinayak, the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of the Mangeshkar family, took care of them. He helped her get started in a career as a singer and actress. Since then, there was no looking back for Mangeshkar. Hits and awards kept pouring in as she released one song after another. One of her first major hits was Aayega Aanewaala, a song in the movie Mahal (1949), composed by music director Khemchand Prakash and lip-synced on screen by actress Madhubala.

The Indian playback singer and occasional music composer is widely considered to have been one of the greatest and most influential singers in South Asia. Her contribution to the music industry in a career spanning seven decades gained her honourific titles such as the Nightingale of India, Voice of the Millennium and Queen of Melody.

Her melodious voice earned her many awards and accolades throughout her career. In 1989 the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was bestowed on her by the Government of India. In 2001, in recognition of her contributions to the nation, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. France conferred on her its highest civilian award, Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, in 2007. In 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in history, stating that she had reportedly recorded "not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages" between 1948 and 1974.

The entertainment industry of South Asia mourned Mangeshkar’s death, from top executives to stars from her father's era to stars of her own era.

Actor Adnan Siddiqui expressed sorrow over Mangeshkar's passing away. "Irreparable loss to the music world. Grew up on her unforgettable melodies. Nightingale of India, the void you have left can never be filled," the actor shared.

Meesha Shafi wrote, "Supreme reigning voice of a century. RIP, Lata Mangeshkar."

Shehzad Roy added, "A legend Lata Mangeshkar left us. One can’t express in words the extent of her talent. Bob Marley was born today. Feeling overwhelmed."

While Ali Zafar shared a video of his take on one of Mangeshkar's tracks. “Words cannot define a legend like Lata Mangeshkar Ji. Only music can perhaps whisper to her everlasting greatness," the singer added, "Re-sharing a humble tribute. May God bless her soul in eternal peace."

Bollywood also mourned their songstress’s death all over social media.

Taking to Instagram, Anushka Sharma wrote, “‘God speaks through beautiful voices’. Sad, sad day for India as our nightingale leaves her mortal body. Lata Ji’s voice has immortalised her forever. She will live in our hearts through her music. My deepest condolences to her family, friends and fans. RIP Lata Ji.”

Commenting on the singer’s prolific work, Kajol wrote, “If we play her songs one by one, we could hear her for a month and never hear the same song again. Prolific and profound. I mourn with the rest of the country for our nightingale.”

Mangeshkar fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived… with dignity, strength and honour. She will remain victorious and unforgettable thanks to her outstanding talent.

– Editorial Desk