It might be because I am a hardcore music fan that I am attracted to this amazing and famous personality, Lata Mangeshkar. Some who do not know much about her might be wondering while the whole of Asia mourns her. So, let me tell a tale….of the life of a legend.
Lata Mangeshkar was born as Hema Mangeshkar on 28th September 1929. Her father, Deenanath Mangeshkar was a classical singer and theatre actor while her mother, Shevanti Mangeshkar was Deenanath’s second wife. Shevanti was the younger sister of his first wife, Narmada, who had died. Her parents had named her as Hema at birth, but later renamed her as Lata after a female character from one of her father’s plays, Latika.
Mangeshkar was an Indian playback singer and composed music occasionally. Fondly called the Queen of Melody, Mangeshkar has recorded songs in over thirty six Indian languages and a few foreign ones, though mainly her songs revolved around Marathi, Hindi and Bengali. Some of her songs were sung in even English, Dutch, Russian and Swahili. She was awarded many honours, highest of which is the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour which she received in 2001. Also, in 1974, The Guinness Book of Records named Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in history stating that she had recorded "not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages" between 1948 and 1974.
Vinayak Damodar Karnataki, owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company helped her get started in a career as a singer and actress. From there on, everything went on like the flow of music. She sang many beautiful songs which are still remembered now and adored by her fans. Rangeela Re, Piya Tose Naina Laage Re and Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh are some of her famous songs.
From 1970s onward, she started staging concerts in India and overseas. Her first concert abroad was at the London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1974. During the 80’s and 90’s, she worked with many famous artists and their children, recording hundreds of songs.2001 was an eventful year for Lata Mangeshkar. She was awarded the Bharat Ratna in the year. She established the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune.
Apart from her singing career, Mangeshkar has also done many other things. She had produced four films, namely, Vaadal (Marathi), Jhaanjhar (Hindi), co-produced with C. Ramchandra, Kanchan Ganga (Hindi) and Lekin... (Hindi).
The sweet voice always warmed our hearts and soothed us whenever we heard her elaborate songs. On the fateful day of 8th January, 2022, our Queen of Melody tested positive for COVID-19. We were relieved and happy to know that there were only mild symptoms and that the Nightingale was taken off the ventilator by 28th January. But our happiness was short-lived. On 5th February, she was again put back on ventilator support as her health had decreased and was undergoing aggressive therapy.
Very sadly, Lata Mangeshkar passed away on 6th February 2022 from multiple organ failure at the age of 92. She had undergone 28 days of treatment for pneumonia and COVID-19.
Out of respect for the legend, the Government of India announced a two-day period of national mouning and that the Indian national flag would fly at half-mast from 6th to 7th of February. Her last rites and cremation were performed on the same day, with full state honors.
All in all, she had lived a very musical and inspiring life. Thousands of fans all around the world still love her and listen to her songs every day. It is this sensation, this world of music she has created that matters the most. Let it shine brightly through all of its days and flourish forever, bringing peace