Lata Didi’s passing away on 06 February,2022, has created a void in our national life very difficult to fill for a long time to come. Rich tributes have been paid to this versatile artist and a great human being for her contribution to our national ethos.
Born as the eldest daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, an equally illustrious singer & a Marathi stage artist, on 28 September,1929 ,Lata started singing under the guidance of her father when she was just five.She acted in Marathi plays in her childhood.
In 1945 she took methodical training in singing for one year. Her main assets were her melodious voice and the training she got from her father.He had given her the tanpura and the notebook of classical compositions and most of all, his blessings. Lata entered the field of playback singing in 1941 ,with the film “Khajanchi”. In1948 Ghulam Haider invited her to Panjab and gave her work in his films.This made her famous.
She has sung more than 50,000 songs in 36 languages.She has lent her voice for more than 2,000 films She has presented her stage- shows in U S A, U K & Australia.Lata has also produced some Marathi films and a Hindi film “Lekin”, based on Rabindranath’s short story named Hungry Stones. Lata has provided background music to two Marathi films “Pawnakathcha Dhondi” and “Tambadi Mati “ under a pseudonym ‘Anandghan’. Her three sisters-Asha Bhosle,Usha Mangeshkar, Meena Khadikar and a brother Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar are all singers.
Lata got both-public as well as Govt recognition. She was awarded the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna. She was undoubtedly the most popular singer of the 20 th century. In her time P L Deshpande, the famous Marathi writer had said that he did not know whether the God existed or not, but he was definite about the existence of voice of Lata.
The best tribute to her was paid by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan thus: Lata was like the Taj Mahal, one of the world’s wonders. Her immortal voice & tune will be remembered as long as “Ai Mere Vatan Ken Logon “ remains a part of Beating Retreat programme of our Republic Day Celebrations,as this patriotic song sung by her replaced ,”Abide With Me”, one of Gandhiji’s favourite hymns.
May her soul rest in peace!