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Lata Mangeshkar

    Lata Mangeshkar is called the 'Melody Queen'. She is even called as the 'Nightingale of India'. She has sung nearly 30,000 songs. For this achievement her name has been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. She has sung songs in almost all Indian languages.

    Lata's family hails from Mangeshi, a small village in Goa. Lata's father is Dinanath Mangeshkar and her mother is Shevanti called as Srimathi. Dinanath became a singer at the age of 14. He joined a music troupe called Kirloskar Sangeeth Mandali. As he had to travel along with the troupe he took the family also with him. Dinanath was with the troupe for four years. Then he started his own company, Balwant Sangeeth Mandali, when he was 18.

    Lata was born on 28th September 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The child was named Hema. At home her father used to call her Hridaya. Later on, the family members started calling her Lata. She was the eldest daughter of the family. She learnt classical music, first from her father, and then joined Ustaad Amaan Khan to learn and tone her skills. For some time Pandit Tulsidas Sharma, who was a disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali was her tutor too.

    Lata was a born artist and within a short span of time she mastered classical music. It is surprising to know that she gave her first performance in classical music at the age of nine. She could have become a great classical singer, but the charm and appeal of playback singing attracted her much.

    Her father had died in 1942 and the burden of supporting the family fell on Lata. She acted in some Hindi and Marathi films to ease the economic problems of the family. But she was very particular to become a playback singer and the chance came in the year 1942. Sadashiv Nevrekar, a music director gave her a chance to sing in 'Kiti Hasal', a Marathi film. She sang her first Hindi song for the Hindi film 'Aap Ki Sewa Mein' for which Datta Davjekar was the music director. In fact, when she was seeking a chance to sing in the film 'Shaheed' in 1948, she was rejected for the reason that her voice was too mild. Many people thought that her voice was like that of Noor Jehan but she soon developed her own style. She hired a tutor to learn Urdu to its perfection. Lata sang Urdu songs as well.

    Lata has composed music for a few films too. She did not use her real name for it but used the name Anand Dhan. She has been the music director for Ram Ram Pavhuney, Manjuda, Maratha Tituka Medwava, Sadhi Mansey and Tanhdi Mali-all are Marathi films. Many people do not know that Lata has produced films too. In 1953 she produced a Marathi film 'Wadad' and that was her first film as a producer. The same year she produced a Hindi film 'Jhaanjar'. Afterwards she produced two Hindi films of her own 'Kanchaan' in 1955 and 'Lekin' in 1988.

    Lata's high-pitched singing rendered the heavy basy nasal voices of the day obsolete. Maoy singers disappeared from the scene except the great singer Shamshad Begum. After a few years, her sister Asha Bhosle joined her and the two sisters were the queens of Indian playback singing till the 90's. She had another sister called Usha Mangeshkar and brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar.

    Lata is a successful singer because she has a meticulous way of singing. First she tries to understand the story line of the film, and then she understands the situation in which the heroine sings the songs and finally modulating her voice. She does her work-playback singing. When the film is screened it appears that the heroine herself sings the song and not Lata.

    Lata has sung under all music directors of the Hindi film world except O.P. Nayyar and with almost all playback singers. Lata is infact a rare artist who has realized her search for excellence. Her hard work has paid her rich dividends. She has sung many ghazals too. Over Royalty issue, she stopped singing in R.K. Films for some time.

    Lata is a lover of sports - especially Cricket, Football and Tennis. She is much interested in photography. She is a very good cook too. She is a Phalke Award winner in 1984 and has been conferred the Bharat Ratna in 2001 - the highest civilian award of India. Recognising her extraordinary talent, the Government of Madhya pradesh has instituted the “Lata Mangeshkar Award”, in 1984, which is given to some deserving winner every year.

    When Lata's name figured in the Guinness Book, there was a controversy that it was a false entry, for Md. Rafi, the playback singer had sung more number of songs than Lata. In 1999 Lata was nominated to Rajya Sabha.

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