Lata Mangeshkar: An Iconic Female Indian Singer, Composer, Lyricist and Playback Singer.

Lata Mangeshkar: An Iconic Female Indian Singer, Composer, Lyricist and Playback Singer. 

Lata Mangeshkar is an Indian singer who has recorded songs in over twenty-five languages and has sung songs whose tunes have been used in popular films. Hindi cinema, or Bollywood, has seen the rise of many female playback singers since the time of Lata Mangeshkar’s debut in 1944. Lata Mangeshkar is also a record producer and composer. She is best known as one of the most popular playback singers in India, especially for her work during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Many people view her as one of the greatest voices ever in any language because she had a range from low to high notes that was not found in many other singers. In 1992, she became the only living performer honored with a plaque at London’s Abbey Road Studios. She was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour by President Pranab Mukherjee on her 90th birthday on April 28, 2017.

Lata Mangeshkar

Early life

Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 27, 1929 in the small town of Pandharpur in the Maharashtra State of India. She was one of eight siblings and her family’s musical background began with her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar (popularly known as “Pandit Madhavrao”), a classical singer and classical music composer.

Her mother Asha Bhosle is also a playback singer. Lata Mangeshkar was inspired by her mother’s singing, at age five she started training in classical music as an ācārya (student).

Mangeshkar was raised mainly by her mother and elder sister Asha Bhosle because her father spent much of his time touring.

She had only one sibling that lived past early childhood – sister Usha Mangeshkar.

She attended a Marathi-speaking school for girls.


Early career and first playback

Lata Mangeshkar’s career in singing began when she was four years old. She started by singing songs for her father’s live radio show on the AIR. At the age of 6, she made her film debut with the song “Pee loon” in Ziddi (1948). Her first Hindi song was “Mera joota hai Japani” in C.I.D. 9095 (1955).

She played a woman warrior in Thirudeshwara Mahatyam (1956) who had to fight evil spirits, because she felt that her voice could be put to better use than just being a playback singer.

In 1959, Lata Mangeshkar became the only Indian artist to have her picture appear on the cover of TIME magazine.

Lata Mangeshkar

Success and first Hindi film


Lata Mangeshkar was born on 28th of September, 1929, in Indore. She made her singing debut at the age of 10 and first appeared on stage at 14. Mangeshkar has recorded songs in over 25 languages; she gradually shifted from Marathi and Hindi to more recent ones like Gujarati and Bengali. Although her strongest language is considered to be Hindi, she also sings in English, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Kannada, Malayalam and Assamese languages.

In 1944 Lata Mangeshkar had lent her voice for the first time for a film song “Tera Gham Jayegha Dost” under the music direction of S D Burman in the film Majboor. The song was composed by Lata’s brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar and written by Rajendra Krishan. This made her debut as a singer for Bollywood films.


Musical collaborations and first award

In a career spanning over five decades, Lata Mangeshkar has sung in various languages. Her work has covered genres ranging from traditional ghazals and bhajans to folk songs and hard rock numbers. She has done playback singing for Hindi movies, Bengali movies, Marathi movies, Kannada movies and Malayalam movies.

Lata Mangeshkar was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1967, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 1979 and the Bharat Ratna in 2017. In 1976 she sang a duet with Frank Sinatra on the song “My Way,” which is considered one of her most notable collaborations with a Western artiste.


Late period of career

Lata Mangeshkar has been singing since the age of six and her career has spanned over six decades.

In her later period, Lata Mangeshkar’s vocal-cords were affected and she had problems with her voice and for this reason she was not able to sing for a while. She then returned to playback singing in 2002 with “Bhool Bhulaiya” but it did not do well at the box office.


Awards and recognition

In her lifetime, Lata Mangeshkar has been awarded with the Padma Bhushan in 1969 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1999. She was also honoured with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour on April 28, 2017 by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Lata Mangeshkar is considered an iconic singer of India because she is one of the most popular female playback singers in Indian cinema. She has sung songs that have become major hits. Not only has she won many awards for her singing, but she was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score at the 1988 Oscars for “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire.


Legacy and death

Lata Mangeshkar has had a long, successful career. She has sung over songs in 25 languages and has been honored with India’s highest civilian awards by the Indian President on April 28, 2017.

However, her legacy is only half complete because she will not live to see what will happen next. She is set to die someday, but she does not know when that day will come. Her legacy of music will live on for many years or even centuries to come.

The Indian President said in his speech at her birthday party that Lata Mangeshkar “has given voice to the poetry of generations”. The President also gave Lata Mangeshkar the Bharat Ratna Award on her 90th birthday for “outstanding service” to the nation’s art and culture.



Lata Mangeshkar is one of the most popular and successful playback singers in the history of Indian cinema. She has recorded songs for over a thousand Bollywood films and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages, though primarily in Marathi and Hindi. In fact, she is the only singer to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, becoming the youngest recipient at the time, aged just 19.

She is a National Living Treasure awarded by the Indian government’s Sangeet Natak Akademi and a winner of five National Film Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards. She is also a recipient of a special award from the President of India.

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