Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar hailed as the “Nightingale of India”, passed away at the age of 92 at Mumbai’sBreach Candy Hospital on Sunday. The legendary singer was ill for a while now and was admitted to the hospital in January after testing positive for Covid-19.
The tragic news of her demise was first confirmed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The nation is mourning the loss of India’s most distinguished music icon. Several luminaries, including President of India Ramnath Kovind, PM Modi, paid their tributes to Lata Mangeshkar and remembered her rich legacy and her contribution to the world of creative arts.
Though we know the legendary singing stalwart by the name Lata Mangeshkar, her birth was not the same. Born to Marathi-Konkani musician Deenanath Mangeshkar and his wife Shevanti on September 28, 1929, Lata Mangeshkar’s original name was Hema Mangeshkar. She was the eldest among her four siblings – Meena Khadikar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar – who are all renowned singers and musicians.
However, later Hema’s name was changed to Lata by her father. Reportedly, the name was based on a character named Latika in a play where Deenanath Mangeshkar was working. Deenanath Mangeshkar was an actor and musician of Marathi theatre, and when he was working in the Marathi play ‘Bhavbandhan’, he liked the name of a female character in the play, Latika, so much that he changed his daughter’s name to Lata.
The full name of the legendary singer was Kumari Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar, as her father’s name was also included in it. She never married, along with her sister Usha Mangeskar who also remains unmarried. On the other hand, the other two sisters, Asha Bhosle and Meena Khadikar are married.
Lata Mangeshkar started singing from a young age, whose family adopted the family name Mangeshkar after their Goa’s native town Mangeshi. She began as an actress in her father’s Marathi musical plays when she was just five years old. In 1943, she sang her first Hindi song in Marathi film ‘Gajaabhaau’ – ‘Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu’.
Three years later, in 1946, Lata Mangeshkar sang ‘Paa Lagoon Kar Jori’, her first song in a Hindi-language movie by Vasant Joglekar – ‘Aap Ki Seva Mein’. Mangeshkar’s last song was for a film – ‘Jeena Hai Kya’ for ‘Dunno Y2… Life Is A Moment in 2015. She had recorded the song at her own studio.
The contribution of Lata Mangeshkar to Indian music is unparalleled. In a span of over seven decades, Lata Mangeshkar has earned her many sobriquets, including that of “Queen of Melody”, “Swar Kokila”, “Nightingale of India”, etc. She was considered to be one of the most powerful voices of Indian music, singing more than 50,000 songs in her lifetime.