Kuchh Paakar Khona Hai Kuchh Khokar Paana Hai
Jeevan Ka Matlab Toh Aana Aur Jaana Hai
Do Pal Ke Jeevan Se Ek Umr Churaani Hai
Zindagi Aur Kuch Bhi Nahi Teri Meri Kahani Hai
Listening to a mesmerizing voice sum up the essence of life in these verses, transporting you to a sublime world. The person whose soulful voice is etched in our hearts is legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.
Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar passed away on February 6, 2022, at the age of 92. She had an illustrious career spanning seven decades and is known as the Nightingale of India, Queen of Melody, and Voice of the Millennium. She has sung in over 36 Indian languages and made a difference to singers and composers all around the world.
She was born in Indore to Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, a Marathi and Konkani classical musician, and a theatre actor. She was the eldest of five siblings and after her father’s death strived to take care of her family. She struggled to get a chance in the Hindi film industry at first. Ghulam Haider gave her first major break when she recorded Dil Toda Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhoda for Majboor (1948). Her rise to stardom and the consistency of her career stand as the testament to a legendary life.
The Person Behind The Singer
The status of the greatest playback singer never stopped Lata Mangeshkar from being a humble thinker. Biographers describe her as a hardworking personality who struggled to learn the nuances of music and language to perfect her art.
Her personal life and singing oeuvre were enriched by the diversity of lyricists and composers from different regions and backgrounds. Her simplicity and humility made everyone love and respect her.
She chose her individuality and lived life on her own terms. She fully understood her self-worth which is reflected in her demand that she be credited for her songs and royalties be paid to her and other singers.
“There can be no second Lata Mangeshkar, the singer, try as anyone might.” –Shubha Mudgal
Recognizing the Playback Singer
Female playback singers were just like the other nameless background technicians behind the films before Lata Mangeshkar arrived at the scene. The film records would use the character name of the actress as the singer.
However, after listening to Aayega Aanewala from Mahal (1949) people could not resist not knowing the real name behind such a melodious voice. With Lata Mangeshkar, female playback singers started to gain the recognition they deserved.
Yatindra Mishra, the author of Lata: The Sur-Gatha, says that playback singing needs to be studied too. Singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd Rafi created a whole song combining the lyrics and rhythm in their own style.
“Violin, piano, trumpet, organ, clarinet may also be present to give a special effect, and it was amid this that the style of Raga and the smallest of variations used by Lataji turned a song into a mesmerising melody.”