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Lata Mangeshkar mainly sings Hindi music in Hindi.
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Lata was born in Indore, Madhya Pradesh into a middle-class Maharashtrian family. She was the firstborn child and daughter of Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar and his second wife Shudhmati Mangeshkar. Her father was a theater actor and classical singer. Her siblings are Hridayanath Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar. All of the siblings, except Meena, chose music as their careers. Although she was born at Indore, Lata was raised in Maharashtra. When she was 5 years old, Lata started working as an actress in several plays known as "sangeet nataks"in which her father was performing. Her father also began giving her singing lessons when at that age. Dinanath's recitals, his tutelage of various students and his practice of music all left an impression on Lata. Ironically, according to Lata, her father forbade the listening to or singing of any Hindi film music, except K. L. Saigal's songs.

Lata Mangeshkar's first cinematic song was for the film Kiti Hasaal (1942), produced by Vasant Joglekar. However, her father disliked the idea of any of his daughters singing for movies and so the song was dropped from the film. Lata's father died while she was 13 of heart disease in 1942.

Lata didn't like acting very much, but the death of her father and financial need forced her to play cameo roles in many Hindi/Urdu and Marathi films. Her first role was in Pahili Mangalagaur (1942), where she played the younger sister to actress Snehprabha Pradhan. She went on to act in many more feature films including, Maaze Baal, Jeevan Yatra (1946), and Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952). In Badi Maa, Lata acted with Noor Jehan and her younger sister Asha Bhosle. She sang for herself and did playback for Asha.

In 1945, maestro Ghulam Haider took Lata to meet producer S.Mukherji who was planning to make a movie starring actress Kamini Kaushal. He wanted the producer to give 16 year old Lata a chance to sing. The producer dismissed Lata's voice, annoying Ghulam Haider who said "Let me fortell today that this girl will soon put to shame everyone else including Noor Jehan. Producers and directors will fall at her feet begging her to sing in their films."

In 1947, Vasant Joglekar employed Lata to sing for his film Aapki Seva Mein. The popular songs composed by musician Datta Daavjekar established Lata as a leading playback singer in Bollywood. She reinforced her position with hits from the movie Majboor - Angrezi chhora chala gaya, Dil mera toda Haaye and, mujhe kahinka na choda tere pyaar ne.

In 1949, Lata got her big break with the song Aayega Aanewaala from the movie Mahal. The song was for Bollywood's screen goddess Madhubala and was composed by Khemchand Prakash. The film was a hit and proved to be a turning point in the careers of Madhubala and Lata. The other major movie that made an impact was Raj Kapoor's "Barsaat" with music by Shankar-Jaikishan and hits such as 'Jiya beqarar hai' and 'Chhod gaye baalam.'

Lata (in the compilation "Lata In Her Own Voice") credits famed maestro Anil Biswas as her tutor in voice and breath control. Anilda got her started with the 'Anokha Pyaar' numbers like 'Yaad rakhna chaand taaron is suhani raat ko'.

Husnalal Bhagatram were the music directors that Shankar Jaikishan drew inspiration from. With a typical folksy Punjabi beat and rhythm, their numbers were embellished with either peppy or soulful poetry. Other songs include 'Chup Chup khadi ho', 'Chale jaana nahin' and 'jo dil mein khushi ban kar aaye' Lata numbers from the Rehman-Suraiya starrer 'Badi Bahen.' The music for this film was from Husnalal Bhagatram. Suraiya got her own hits to sing in this film ( Tum mujhko bhool jaao, Tere nainon ne chori kiya, etc. ) while the three Lata numbers were picturized on a secondary actress. Other Lata hits for this duo were 'Saajan ki oat leke', 'Dil leke dil diya hai', 'sainyan tori baiyyan mein' and 'Kya haal hai huzoor ke dil ka'.

The 1950s saw Lata become a favorite singer of composers like Shankar Jaikishan, Sachin Dev Burman, C. Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Hemant Kumar and Salil Chowdhury amongst others.

Composer Sachin Dev Burman, lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and Lata created many songs together including Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye (Sazaa, 1951) and Phaili hui hain sapnon ki baahein (House No. 44).

Lata and composer Hemant Kumar came up with hit song. The movie was Nagin and the been tunes from that film are still recognized today. Man dole mera tan dole, Jadugar saiyyan, Mera dil yeh pukaare aaja, Oonchi oonchi deewaaren and other songs were rendered by Lata. Another song, Chhup gaya koi re, from the film Champakali that she sang for Hemant Kumar was moving. Another popular song was 'Vande Maataram' that she sang for Hemantda in Anandmath? She went on to sing many hits for him in the 60's - for films like Anupama, Bees Saal Baad, Kohraa, Bin Baadal Barsaat, Rahgir, Khamoshi, etc.

A popular song of the early 50s by Lata, Durrani and chorus was the Lara lappa Lara lappa song from the film Ek Thi Ladki composed by musician Vinod. The song became so popular that the actress of the film, Meena Shorey, on whom the song was picturized became known as the Lara lappa Lara lappa girl.

Many of Lata's popular songs were recorded in the 1940s and the 1950s with the team of composer C. Ramchandra and lyricist Rajendra Krishan. Songs from this trio include - yeh zindagi usiki hai, mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai, jaag dard ishq jaag, o aasman waale - all from the musical blockbuster hit Anarkali; Radha na bole na bole, Kitna haseen hai mausam, aplam chaplam - all from Azaad ; Shola jo bhadke, Dheere se aaja ri akhiyan mein, Bholi soorat dil ke khote, Dil dhadke nazar sharmaaye, Mere dil ki ghadi kare - all from Albela. In addition, Lata and Amirbai Karnataki rendered the westernized song 'Gore gore o baanke chhore' for C Ramchandra in the film Samadhi. Lata went on to render songs for C Ramchandra, right from Mehfil mein jal uthi shama (from the film Nirala), the romantic O nirdayee preetam (from the film 'Stree') to the nostalgic Dil ki duniya basake sanwariya and mere man ka baawra panchi (both from 'Amar Deep) numbers and the Balma anadi man bhaaye classical composition from the film 'Bahuraani'.

Lata and Rajendra Krishan also teamed up with the composer Madan Mohan to create various ghazals including Yun hasraton ke daag (Adaalat, (1958), Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko (Jailor), Main to tum sang nain mila ke (Manmauji), and Na tum bewafa ho (Ek Kali Muskarai).

Lata sang some of her best known songs for the team of composers Shankar Jaikishan and lyricists Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra. Jiya bekaraar hai (Barsaat, 1949), Rasik Balma (Chori Chori, 1956), the title song of Hariyali Aur Raasta (duet with Mukesh), and Gumnaam hai koi (Gumnaam), all penned by Hasrat, were hits. Shailendra's Ajeeb Daastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna Preet Parai), Tum to dil ke taar chhedkar (Roop ki Rani Choron Ka Raja), and Kisi ne apna banake mujhko (Patita) were popular as well. Raj Kapoor always had the team of Shankar-Jaikishan, Hasrat, Shailendra, Mukesh and Lata for the music of his films. Lata's romantic duets with the singer Manna Dey for Raj Kapoor's films were popular - Pyaar hua ikraar hua and Yeh raat bheegi bheegi.

Shailendra and Lata also teamed up with composer Salil Chowdhury to create music for Bimal Roy movies such as Madhumati (1958) and Parakh (1960). Once, Salil Chowdhury sang an emotional Bengali song at Bimal Roy's request. After the song was finished, he found that Lata had fainted. Later Lata told him - "I was so overcome that I couldn't control myself". Lata recorded some of her most memorable songs with Salil Chowdhury, including Raaton ke saaye, Chhoti si baat, O Sajna barkha bahaar aayee (Parakh), Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati), and Itna tu mujhse na pyaar badhaa (Chhaya, duet with Talat Mehmood, penned by Rajendra Krishna).

Lata's playback songs for Madhubala - Mohe panghat and Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya from the movie Mughal-e-Azam (1960) -- became hits. The songs were penned by Shakil Badayuni and composed by Naushad.

In 1962, Lata sang the non-film patriotic song Aye mere watan ke logon at a function. The composer was C. Ramchandra and the lyricist was poet Pradeep. The song moved Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to tears.

Lata proved her versatility when she sang the Middle-Eastern number Aye Dilruba (Roustam Sohrab, 1963) for the composer Sajjad Hussain.

Hasrat Jaipuri, Shankar Jaikishan and Lata continued to create hits like Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par (Junglee, 1961). Lata and Shankar-Jaikishan also teamed up with lyricist Shailendra to create songs like Ruk ja raat thahar ja re chanda (Dil Ek Mandir, 1963) and Tumhen yaad karte karte (Amrapali, 1966).

Lata's bhajan Allah tero naam (Hum dono, 1961), penned by Sahir Ludhiyanvi and composed by Sachin Dev Burman's assistant Jaidev, became popular. Lata also recorded other songs with Jaidev, including Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye (Prem Parvat).

1960s also saw patching-up between Lata and S D Burman. The songs from Dev Anand's Guide (1965), penned by Shailendra, were hits. The song picturized on Waheeda Rehman, Aaj phir jeene ki tammana hai, aaj phir marne ka iraada hai (Today I wish to live again, Today I've decided to die) and the duet with Kishore Kumar Gaata rahe mera dil, tu hi meri manzil became evergreen hits. Shailendra, S D Burman and Lata came together again for Jewel Thief (1967). The songs Rula ke gaya sapna mera and Hothon pe aisi baat became popular. The film also saw Mohammed Rafi and Lata coming together once again to sing Dil pukaare aa re. (Earlier, they had fallen out with other on the issue of payment of royalties). Lata also sang for the 1969 movie, Aradhana, in which she recorded Kora Kaagaz tha yeh man mera with Kishore Kumar.

Lata also recorded many songs with composer Roshan (now better known as Hrithik Roshan's grandpa). In 1966, they recorded a song penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri - Rahein na rahein hum, mehka karenge (Mamta). In 1967, Roshan and Lata worked with the lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi for the film Bahu Begam. The song Duniya kare sawal to hum kya javaab de? became popular.

The musical duo Kalyanji-Anandji had first worked with Lata as the assistants of Shankar-Jaikishan. When they decided to compose music independently, they chose Lata as their lead female voice. The songs of the film Saraswati Chandra (1968), written by Indeevar, are examples of music that the team created. The most popular songs of the movie included Phool tumhe bheji hai khat mein (duet with Mukesh), Chandan sa badan, and Chhod de saari duniya kisike liye. Kalyanji-Anandji worked with Lata to create many more songs like O mere mitwa (Geet). Kalyanji-Anandji also composed lyricist Anand Bakshi's first hit song with Lata, Yeh sama (Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965). Anand Bakshi's most famous songs were sung by Lata.

When Kalyanji Anandji's assistants, Laxmikant Pyarelal ("Laxmi-Pyare") decided to go independent, Lata recommended them to producers and sang for their first film. In the film Shagird (1967), Lata and Laxmi-Pyare displayed their versatility, when they created the bhajan Kanha aan padi main tere dwaar and the romantic Woh hain zara khafa khafa. The songs were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. In 1969, Laxmi-Pyare got Lata to sing the sensual Aa Jaanen Jaan (Intadam, 1969), penned by Rajendra Krishna. The team of Anand Bakshi, LP and Lata became popular in late 1960s and 1970s. Their songs include Saavan ka mahina, pavan kare sor (Milan, 1967, duet with Mukesh) Bindiya Chamkegi (Do Raaste, 1969), and the title song of Aan Milo Sajna.

Lata recorded Baharon mera jeevan bhi savaron for composer Khayyam and lyricist Kaifi Azmi in the movie Aakhiri Khat (1966). Kaifi Azmi and Madan Mohan worked together in movies like Heer-Ranjha. Together with Lata, they produced songs like Milo na tum to hum ghabraayein. Lata sang many ghazals for the team of composer Madan Mohan and lyricist Raja Mehendi Ali Khan. Some of these include Aapp ki nazron ne samjha (Anpadh, 1962), Nainon mein badra chhaye, and Mera saaya saath hoga (Mera Saaya, 1966). Madan Mohan and Lata also worked with other lyricists like Kaifi Azmi and Rajendra Krishna. Even O. P. Nayyar, who had a bitter relationship with Lata once said, while giving an interview in Dubai:"I don't know whether Lata was created for Madan Mohan or Madan Mohan was created for Lata. But there has never been a composer like Madan Mohan, nor has there been a singer like Lata."

In 1960s, S D Burman's son, Rahul Dev Burman, also made his debut as a composer. He recorded many songs with Lata in late 1960s, including Kya janoon sajan (Baharon Ke Sapne, 1967) and Ni sultana re, pyar ka mausam aaya (Pyaar Ka Mausam, 1969, duet with Rafi).

1971 saw release of much delayed movie Pakeezah, starring Meena Kumari. The film had music by Ghulam Mohammed. The Kaifi Azmi song Chalte Chalte, rendered by Lata, became a hit. Other songs such as Inhi logon ne le lina dupatta mera and Chalo dildar chalo (duet with Rafi) also became popular.

Lata also recorded many songs in the last films of Sachin Dev Burman. Dev Anand's direcoral debut, Prem Pujari was not successful, but the songs penned by the poet Neeraj and sung by Lata were hits - Rangeela re and Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye. The songs from Sharmilee (1971), also penned by Neeraj, included Khilte hain gul yahan, Aaj madhosh hua jaaye re (duet with Kishore Kumar), and Megha chhaye aadhi raat. S D Burman got 44-year-old Lata to sing for young Jaya Bachchan in the movie Abhimaan (1973) - Piya bina, piya bina, Nadiya kinare, Teri bindiya re (duet with Rafi). All these songs were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Lata also recorded memorable songs for Salil Chaudhary in 1970s, including Raaton ke Saaye (Annadata, 1971) and the title song of Chhoti Si Baat (1974). In 1974, Lata also recorded a bhajan of Mirabai, Saanware Rang Rachi with her brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

The Bollywood Music scene in 1970s was dominated by the composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal ("Laxmi-Pyare") and Rahul Dev Burman. R D Burman and Laxmi-Pyare were fans of Lata and recorded a large number of songs with her and Kishore Kumar. Most of these songs were penned by either Anand Bakshi or Majrooh Sultanpuri. Lata sang a variety of songs for R D Burman, including the classical song from Amar Prem 1971, Raina Beeti Jaaye, Dilbar dil se pyaare from Caravan (1971), and Bahon mein chale aao. Lata, Kishore Kumar, R D Burman and lyricist Gulzar came together in the film Aandhi (1975) to produce duets such as Tere bina zindagi se, Tum aa gaye ho and Is mod se jaate hain.

Lata, Anand Bakshi and Laxmikant-Pyarelal worked together for many films, creating songs including Mehboob ki Mehendi and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. Laxmi-Pyare also gave music in Raj Kapoor's Satyam Shivam Sunderam (1978), in which Lata sang the title song.

In 1976, Lata recorded songs for composer Khayyam and lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi for the film Kabhi Kabhie (1976). The title song (also sung by Mukesh) is considered a classic. Lata and Khayyam recorded many more songs, including Aap yun faaslon se (Shankar Hussain, 1977).

In 1980s, Lata voluntarily cut down on her singing to allow new younger talent to come up. In 1982, Lata once again worked with Khayyam for the movie Razia Sultana, singing the song Aye dil-e-naadaan. Aye dil-e nadan was sung by Bela Sulakhe.

Ravindra Jain, the blind composer who was given a big break by Raj Kapoor in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, got Lata to sing popular songs like Sun Saiba Sun.

Ramlaxman was another new composer who worked with Lata in many Rajshri Productions movies, including Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum aapke hain kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) was Salman Khan's second film and set a record of sorts. The songs sung by Lata and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam became popular - Dil Deewana, Kabootar ja ja, Aaja shaam hone aai and the title song.

In late 1970s and early 1980s, Lata worked with the children of composers she had earlier worked with. Apart from Sachin and Rahul Dev Burman, Lata worked has worked with Chitragupta and his sons Anand-Milind, Roshan and his son Rajesh Roshan, and Sardar Malik and his son Anu Malik. Rajesh Roshan's first film Julie had some numbers sung by Lata, including Bhool gaya sab kuchh (duet with Kishore Kumar) and Yeh Raatein Nai Puraani.

Lata was awarded with the Padma Bhushan in 1969.

In 1990, Lata launched her own production house. Her first (and the only) movie as a producer -- Lekin -- flopped, but the music (composed by her brother, Hridaynath) was well-appreciated. "Yaara seeli seeli", written by Gulzar, is considered to be one of the best songs that Lata has ever sung.

In 1990s, Lata also recorded many non-film songs, including ghazals with Jagjit Singh. One such ghazal is Dhuan banake fiza mein, recorded in 1992. The songs that Lata recorded for Ramlaxman in the Rajshri Productions film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun were hits. Lata also sang for all of the Yash Chopra films, including Dil To Pagal Hai.

A. R. Rahman has recorded a number of songs with Lata, including Jiya Jale (from Dil Se, danced by Preity Zinta) and Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagin(from One Two ka Four).

In 1999, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India.

Lata has continued to perform in later years. She sings some of her old songs on the Mujhse Dosti Karoge soundtrack. A more recent example is in the film Veer Zaara-Tere Liye with Roopkumar Rathod, with songs composed by late Madan Mohan. She has also sung a few songs for movies like Page 3, Bewafaa and Rang De Basanti.

Lata the person
Lata owns a flat in London. She and her sister Asha Bhosle can be often found vacationing in London.

Lata has received four Filmfare Awards, the Platinum Disc of EMI London and many other awards. Noor Jehan, whom Lata allegedly imitated in her early years as a singer, once said "people say Lataji considers me as a phenomenon. I would say that's her humility. Lataji is Lataji. No singer like her has ever been born."

In 2002, a controversy developed because soul music artist Truth Hurts sampled Lata's singing without crediting her or paying royalties in the single "Addictive." That same year, Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla wrote a novel about a gay Indian-American man called "Ode to Lata" in honor of the performer

Other controversies of earlier years related to the phenomenon of (i) Suman Kalyanpur (who sang like Lata with her voice nearly identical with Lata's) and who was favoured to sing by an anti-Lata camp comprising music composers and producers, and (ii) Vani Jairam from the South who, once appearing to have the potential to offer strong, possibly stiff, competition to Lata, was before long pressured to confine herself to singing playback in the South by politicians of Maharashtra as well as in the Bombay filmdom itself.
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