Lata Mangeshkar, legendary Indian singer, dies at 92

NEW DELHI (AP) — Lata Mangeshkar, a legendary Indian singer with a prolific, groundbreaking catalog and a voice recognized by a billion people in South Asia, has died. She was 92 years old.

The iconic singer died of multiple organ failure on Sunday morning at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, her doctor, Dr Pratit Samdani, told reporters. She was hospitalized on January 11 after contracting COVID-19. She was taken off the ventilator after her condition improved in late January, but her health deteriorated on Saturday and was put back on life support.

India declared two days of national mourning and said Mangeshkar would receive a state funeral before being cremated in Mumbai on Sunday evening. The country’s flags will fly at half mast.

Messages of condolences poured in immediately after news of his death was announced.

“I am distressed beyond words,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet. “She leaves a void in our country that cannot be filled. Future generations will remember her as a pillar of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to hypnotize people.

For nearly eight decades, Mangeshkar has been a major presence as a playback singer, singing songs that were later lip-synched by actors in lavish Indian Bollywood musicals. She was also fondly revered as “Melody Queen” and “Nightingale of India”.

Mangeshkar’s songs, always filled with emotion, were often sad and mostly about unrequited love, but others involved national pride.

Born in Maharashtra on September 28, 1929, Mangeshkar first sang at religious gatherings with her father, who was also a trained singer. After moving to Mumbai, the capital of India’s film industry, she became a star with immensely popular appeal, enchanting audiences with her smooth yet cutting voice and immortalizing Hindi music for decades to come.

Few musicians have defined versatility like Mangeshkar, who released her first song in 1942 for a Bollywood film when she was just 13 years old. Soon after, she became a Hindi singing icon, lending her voice to over 5,000 songs in over a thousand Bollywood and regional languages. movies. She sang for Bollywood’s first female superstars like Madhubala and Meena Kumari and later gave voice to modern divas like Priyanka Chopra.

Mangeshkar was still in her twenties when she was already established as one of the top playback singers in India. But his career-defining moment came in the historical epic “Mughal-e-Azam,” a romantic tragedy released in 1960. His soundtrack “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya?” (Why Be Afraid If You’re In Love?) is considered one of Bollywood’s most memorable films, one that over the decades has become an undisputed embodiment of the often rebellious nature of love.

Throughout his career Mangeshkar has worked with almost every legendary Indian music manager including Madan Mohan, Naushad, SD Burman, RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo and AR Rahman selling tens of millions of records. She has also won dozens of singing awards, earning her near-saintly status in the Bollywood music industry.

“I can’t believe I’ve been tolerated by music lovers for 75 years!” she said last year in an interview with the Rediff news site.

Mangeshkar’s popularity has spread far beyond India. It was celebrated not only in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in some Western countries.

In 2001, she was awarded the “Bharat Ratna”, India’s highest civilian honour. The French government awarded him its highest civilian honour, “Officier de la Légion d’Honneur”, in 2007.

In December, Mangeshkar commemorated eight decades of his radio debut.

She wrote on Twitter in Hindi: “On December 16, 1941, I sang two songs for the first time in the studio for the radio after asking for my parents’ blessing. It’s been 80 years today. During these 80 years, I have received immense love and blessings from people. I believe that I will always continue to receive your love and blessings.

Mangeshkar never married. She is survived by four brothers and sisters, all accomplished singers and musicians.

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