Golden Era

Lata Mangeshkar – Biography (Part I)

Little Lata, came home after watching K.L.Saigal’s ‘Chandidas’ directed by Nitin Bose and declared that she would marry Saigal Saab when she grew up. Here begins, Hindi filmdom’s most enduring love story. Between Lata Mangeshkar and Hindi film music. A story of passion , commitment and sincerity . A story that has taken on the awesome dimensions of legend .A story that has charmed and enchanted millions all over the for more than five decades …

Probably no other single person is recognized as the largest contributor to film music . no one else is synonymous with power and magic of Hindi film music , whose mesmeric reign continues to amaze critics and devotees alike.

Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar could little have predicted that the eldest of his offspring would be named ‘the Nightingale of India’ . ‘The undisputed and indispensable queen of India’s playback singing’ as Time magazine avers . ‘The Living Legend’… The ‘Phenomenon’…

When seven year old Lata played Narad, to her father’s Arjun, despite his protests that he was so much older, already she was showing sings of maturity and sobriety that would remain her trademark characteristics, when she had

Don’t worry Baba, I’ll manage. I am , not your daughter for nothing.

On that momentous evening in Sholapur, little Lata brought the house down with her acting and singing . Glimpses of brilliance that would light up celluloid like a meteor. Despite detesting acting, Lata played several cameo parts in Hindi and marathi films including Pahili Mangalagaur (1942), Maze Baal (1943) , Badi Maa (1945 ), Subhadra (1946 ) Chimukla Sansar (1943) , Gajabhau (1944 ) ,Jeevan Yatra (1946 ), Mand (1948 ), Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952 ). Domestic responsibilities compelled Lata to act, after her father’s untimely death. In her first film Pahili Mangalagaur, she played actress Sneprabha Pradhan’s sister.

In Badi Maa, starring Noor Jehan, Lata acted, sang for herself and for younger sister Asha. Financial hardships, her own artistic struggles notwithstanding, Lata has never lost sight of the priceless value of humility and hard work. As her father and guru has impressed on her “Never be carried away by your success”. This lesson has stayed with Lata throughout her life .. She wholeheartedly throws herself into every song, opening up the inner meaning of the lyric, building a bridge to that musical godhead. And yet this phenomenal talent, this divine benediction has never clouded her balance, mature temperament . Arrogance is said to be the ruin of genius. But not this genius , as Waheeda Rehman so rightly points out –

Lataji never thinks of her self as THE Lata Mangeshkar. She has always done her job to the best of her abilities and then never looked back’. Here than her lifetime’s span of music from one who has shaped ,defined and stamped with her indelible identity the from course of hindi film music.

Thirteen year old, Lata recorded her film song for Vasant Joglekar’s Kirti Hasaal. Pt Dinanath was not too pleased with her daughter ‘s decision to sing for hindi films. Later Joglekar said ‘she has tremendous self- confidence. She is also an introvert. That is why she is not proud. But she reveals her pride in her singing’. And perhaps it is this pride that prompted Majrooh Saab to say

It isn’t as though she always got great lines to sing. She was given the same standard of lyrics as others. It is the magic of her voice that elevates the songs that she sang. Magic in her voice, pride in her singing has elicited comment and admiration from her numerous friends, admirers and colleagues.

End of Part I

Part II – Rendevous with Mysteros
Part III – but, It’s the art that followed her…


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