Lata Mangeshkar: Some Lesser-Known Facts

  • Lata’s birth name was ‘Hema’ 

Lata Mangeshkar was born in 1929 to Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar (a Marathi and Konkani musician) and his wife Shevanti. At birth, she was named ‘Hema.’ But then she was renamed ‘Lata’ after ‘Latika’, a character from one of her father’s plays ‘Bhaaw Bandhan.’ 

  •  Lata’s career started as an actress 

Lata’s career as an artiste began when she was but a child. At the age of five, she started acting in her father’s musical plays that were then called Sangeet Natak in Marathi. Simultaneously, she received her music lessons from her father. 

  •  Lata dropped out from school on her first day 

Her first day at school turned out to be her last day as she was restricted from bring her younger sisters along with her. 

  • Lata’s first concert performance was at the age of 9 

She was nine years old when she was on a tour in Solapur with her father’s theatre company. There, she overheard people requesting her father for a song performance. She requested her father to join him on stage and they performed together. 

  • Lata faced rejection for having ‘too thin’ voice 

In 1948, a young and budding singer Lata faced rejection from producer Sashadhar Mukherjee as he dismissed her voice saying it was “too thin.” 

  •  When Lata’s singing was appreciated by Noor Jehan 

During the initial days of her singing career, Lata was once asked to sing in front of the then melody queen Noor Jehan. Young Lata sang Raag Jaijaiwanti and later ‘Jeevan hai bekar bina tumhare’ from movie Wapas. After she finished singing, Noor Jehan had told her to keep practicing for she would one day be a very good singer. 

  •  Lata was honored with France’ highest civilian award 

Lata was conferred by France with its highest civilian awards, the Officer of the Legion of Honour in 2007. 

  •  Lata has recorded songs in as many as 36 languages 

In her musical career, Lata Mangeshkar has recorded songs in at least 36 languages including Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Kannada, etc. 

  •  Lata’s career in music direction 

Lata Mangeshkar had a brief career in music direction in the 1960s. Under the pseudonym ‘Anand Ghan’ she had composed music for five Marathi films. ( 


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