Known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, Lata Mangeshkar has left behind a treasure trove of songs vocalized in her mellifluous voice, sung across a career that lasted for over 70 years. Her solos and immortal duets with Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Mukesh, along with a legion of other prominent Indian singers, are among Hindi cinema’s most memorable songs.
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the Nightingale of India:
- Lata Mangeshkar belonged to a family of performers. Her father ran a theatre company, and Lata grew up with a love of music. The aim of the sisters (Lata and Asha Bhosle) when they took up singing was to carry forward their father’s legacy.
- Lata recorded the first song of her career “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” in 1942 for a Marathi movie ‘Kiti Hasaal’. But unfortunately, the song was removed from the film’s final cut.
- She once fainted while recording a song with music composer Naushad.
- Lata Mangeshkar once said while speaking to Bollywood Hungama that she does not listen to her own songs as if she did, she would find a hundred faults in her singing.
- In Lata’s words, the best music director she worked with and with whom she had a special bond was Madan Mohan.
- She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) in 1999. She described her tenure as an unhappy one and claimed she was reluctant to be inducted.
- She holds the honor of being the first-ever Indian to perform in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, London.
- The government of France conferred her with the Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2007, which is the country’s highest civilian award.
- In her long career, Lata worked with the greatest of Indian composers and music directors, but she never worked with O P Nayyar.
- She recorded her last song ‘Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki’, which was composed by Mayuresh Pai, as a tribute to the Indian Army and nation. It was released in 2019.