Five lesser known facts about Lata Mangeshkar

On February 6, India lost a legend. India’s Nightingale and the Queen of Melody had a voice that touched millions of hearts across the world. With a career spanning more than seven decades, Mangeshkar’s first Hindi recorded song was ‘Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu’ in 1943 for the Marathi film ‘Gajaabhaau’. Her last recorded song was released in March 2019 titled ‘Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki‘.

Mangeshkar, whose birth name was Hema, was cremated on Sunday, with full state honours at Shivaji Park, Dadar in Mumbai. In attendance were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, among others. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan offered dua while Amitabh Bachchan Sachin Tendulkar, Ranbir Kapoor, Javed Akhtar, and other Indian stalwarts also paid their last tributes.

In addition to her powerful voice, Mangeshkar was known in the Indian film and music industry to be kind and generous. As tributes keep pouring in to honour her, Music Plus remembers five lesser-known facts about India’s Nightingale.

Mangeshkar’s protests led to the Filmfare awards introducing a Female Playback Singer category in 1959. Composer Jaikishan had requested the singer to perform the track ‘Rasik Balma’ at the Filmfare awards ceremony. Her refusal and protest encouraged the awards to introduce a category for Playback Singing, which Mangeshkar – the next year – became the first recipient of.

Lata Mangeshkar is the oldest (age 61) National Film Award winner for the Best Female Playback Singer. She bagged the award for the film ‘Lekin’, released in 1990. She won first for ‘Parichay’ in 1972 and then again in 1974 for ‘Kora Kagaz’.

She never listened to her songs. In an interview with Bollywood Hungama in 2020, she said, “Never! I never listen to my songs. If I did, I’d find a hundred mistakes in my singing. Even in the past, once I finished recording a song, I was done with it.”

A huge cricket fan, the doyenne famously celebrated India’s 1983 World Cup victory with a free concert. Disappointed with the Rs 25,000 winnings awarded to members of the Indian cricket team, Mangeshkar organised a fundraiser. Her efforts allowed each member to receive Rs 1 lakh.

After being reprimanded for teaching music to the other children on her first day of school, she never returned. She had brought her infant sister Asha with her when the teachers raised objections. Upset, she left. Eventually, she learnt the Marathi alphabet from house help.

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