Every artist on this earth, whether he or she is a signer, an actor, a dancer, a painter, or any kind of an artist, has and will face rejection. Lata Ji also experienced such incidents in her life. One such notable one being when Gulam Haider, Lata Ji’s mentor, took her to the famous Producer Sashadhar Mukherjee so he can give her a chance to sing a song in his movie. Mukherjee however rejected her and claimed that Lata Ji’s voice was way too thin to be an attractive voice for songs. On this Ghulam Haider was greatly offended and told Mukherjee that soon there would be a time when Producers will fall at Lata’s feet and beg her to sing in their movies. Indeed such incidents occurred later in Lata Ji’s career when she was worshiped by the industry and the masses as well.
Lata Ji always claimed that Gulam Haider was her Godfather. He was the one who believed in her and got her the break which led her to be the famous Lata Mangeshkar we all know and love. The first big hit that Lata Ji gave us was the song ‘Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora’ for the movie ‘Majboor’.
In the early days of her career, it was perceived that Lata Ji imitated the singing style of Late Madam Noor Jehan. She took Urdu lessons for a while in order to improve her Hindi/Urdu accent. She was a very hardworking and dedicated person who always came up with a solution to her problems. Over time, she would fine tune and develop her own style.
The eldest child to Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti, Lata Mangeshkar was born on 28 Sep 1929. Belonging to a reputable and staunch artistic family, her father was titled Pandit for being a foremost expert in Indian Classical Music and Theatrical arts.
Lata Ji’s name itself is evident to her father’s love for theatre as she was born with the name “Hema” that was later changed to Lata, inspired by a character in Pandit Deenanath’s play.
Lata Ji began her musical training at the age of 5. Her father took the responsibility of training her and also involved her in his theatrical plays in order to groom her skills. Before the young Lata Mangeshkar could make her debut in the film industry, her father passed away.
Still, undeterred and more passionate than ever, Lata Ji made her debut in 1942 with the help of her father’s friend, she sang a song for a Marathi film which was later dropped, and also made her entrance as an actress in a Marathi film ‘Pahili Mangalaa-gaur’ for which she also performed songs. The foot in was slow and difficult. The pressure must have been insane. Latan ji was carrying the family mantle and the sole bread winner.
The following year, 1943, Lata Mangeshkar gave her first Hindi song ‘Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu’, which was again for a Marathi movie, then moved to Mumbai in 1945 where she started taking Hindustani classical music training from Ustad Aman Ali Khan, making her Hindi cinema debut with the bhajan song ‘Maata Tere Charnon Mein’. The rest as they say is history.
How does one even quantify the achievements of a lifetime superstar?
In the year 1969, Lata Ji was rewarded with the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, and the third-highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan. Followed countless more awards, it got to a stage very early on where Lata Ji was now humbly refusing awards in favour of supporting new talent. She believed that new artists should be encouraged. Almost half a century ago… In the year 1974, Lata Ji’s name was added to the list of Guinness World Record for the highest number of songs sung by an artist. The number they came up with was about 25000 songs. The only competition was from Mohammed Rafi who’s numbers were a bit higher, 28000 songs! After the passing of Rafi sab in 1980, Lata Mangeshkar’s name was metaphorically etched in stone for the highest number of songs with the numbers surpassing 30000!
In her long Illustrious Musical Career, Lata Ji also directed, produced supported in the industry. She has collaborated with many famous artists in her career which led to many memorable songs of the latter century. The artist list includes Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, and even with her younger sisters Asha and Usha.
Lata Mangeshkar Ji, 91 years of life, and 78 years of magic and memories you blessed us with in the world of cinema and music. We are forever grateful to you for your substantial contribution… and hum your songs daily!
Happy Birthday, Lata Ji! We wish you good health, happiness and more good health! Thank you for contributing to the world of music and touching so many souls.