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Indian Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar Turns 91: Lesser Known Facts & Six Most Memorable Songs

Not many may know that legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar attended school for just one day. And after becoming a sensation, she was nearly murdered by an unidentified person slowly poisoning her.

Often called a "Nightingale" or the Queen of Melody, legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar has won millions of hearts worldwide for decades with her soulful renditions. On her 91st birthday, social media has been flooded with well wishes from celebrities and fans across the country.

Mangeshkar, who has recorded more than 30,000 songs in 35 Indian and foreign languages, was honoured with the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna and Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema, in 2001 for her contribution to the nation.

​Mangeshkar’s journey has been full of ups and downs but her love for music and determination made her one of the strongest and most powerful female singers in the Indian music industry.

On her 91st birthday, Sputnik brings to you some interesting facts that will keep you intrigued and six of her most memorable songs.

Here are some lesser-known facts about her.

  • Born in 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Mangeshkar moved to Mumbai with her family and four siblings — Meena Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, and Hridaynath Mangeshkar — in 1945.
  • Her father, the late Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, a classical singer and theatre actor, changed her name from Hema to Lata after being inspired by "Latika", a popular character from his play Bhaaw Bandhan.
  • She started to work as an actress in her father's musical plays at the age of five.
  • The singer attended school only for one day because her teachers didn’t allow her to bring her younger sister Asha along. She was also reprimanded by the teachers for teaching singing to other children.
  • Singing since she was 13, Mangeshkar has sung for five generations of Bollywood actresses including Madhubala, Nutan, Vyjayanthimala, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Kajol, Preity Zinta, and many others.
  • ​The category of best playback singer at the Filmfare Awards was introduced in 1959 after Mangeshkar lobbied for it. She stopped singing with late legendary singer Mohammed Rafi for several years in the mid-60s over the contentious issue of royalty payments to playback singers.
  • Mangeshkar had a close brush with death after being given slow poison by an unidentified person that confined her to bed for three months.
  • Her career-defining song, she says, is a patriotic song, "Aae Mere Watan Ke Logon", which left first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in tears.
  • She is the first Indian singer to have performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1974.
  • Filmmaker Raj Kapoor’s popular movie "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (1978) was reportedly inspired by Lata Mangeshkar’s life. He also wanted to cast her in the movie. 

Some of Her Most Memorable Songs​

Here is a list of six memorable Hindi songs, viewed millions of times by users.

Tere Liye from the movie "Veer Zaara" (2004)

One of the most romantic works expressing eternal love, this song features actor Shah Rukh Khan and actress Preity Zinta and sung by Mangeshkar and Roop Kumar Rathod.

Lukkachuppi from the movie "Rang de Basanti" (2006)

A duet by Mangeshkar and A.R. Rahman, this emotional song, expressing a mother’s feelings of losing her son in a plane crash, can give people the goosebumps. It features actress Waheeda Rehman along with Aamir Khan, Siddharth Narayan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, and Soha Ali Khan.

Jiya Jale from the movie "Dil Se" (1998)

The foot-tapping song composed by Rahman and penned by lyricist Gulzar, featured Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, has got over 13 million likes on YouTube. The song has also been recreated by Indian students at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Lag Jaa Gale from the movie "Woh Kaun Thi?" (1964)

Another one of the most romantic songs, this classic was adapted into a film featuring late veteran actors. Sadhana Shivdasani and Manoj Kumar.

Aye Mere Watanke Logon (1963)

This patriotic song was composed to commemorate Indian soldiers who died during the China-India War in 1962. The song was first performed live by Mangeshkar on 26 January 1963, Republic Day of India. 

Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha from the movie "Anpadh" (1962)

The song featured late actress Mala Sinha, Dharmendra, and Balraj Sahani. Madan Mohan was the music director and the lyrics were penned by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan.

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