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Lata Mangeshkar - The Legendary Indian Bollywood Singer - Award Winning Songs

Updated on December 4, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


What Mohammed Rafi is to male playback singing in Bollywood, Lata Mangeshkar is to female playback singing in Bollywood. Lata Mangeshkar is the most well known Indian singer in the Indian subcontinent today. Lata is a living legend.

Lata Mangeshkar was born in Indore, on 28 September 1929, to a theater actor and classical singer Dinanath Mangeshkar. At the age of five, Lata, apart from acting in her father's musical plays, started training in music under her father.

When Lata was 13, her father died leaving her, the eldest child, to fend for the family consisting of 3 younger sisters and 1 younger brother.To support her family Lata started acting in films and did 8 films from 1942 to 1948.

Simultaneously, Lata made her debut as a playback singer in the year 1942 singing songs for a regional film. She started playback singing for Hindi films in 1947, (the term Bollywood was coined many decades later), and with the film Mahal in 1949, she gave her first hit song "Ayega Aanewala" and had arrived as a singer of note.

Lata when younger
Lata when younger | Source

Lata was much influenced by Noorjehan, the leading female actor-singer of the day, and this can be felt in her rendition of her earlier songs. But she soon came out of her ideals' shadow and as influence to develop a style of her own.

As Lata's mother tongue was not Hindi and most of the song lyrics in those times were penned by Urdu poets, she was found a bit wanting on the pronunciation factor especially of the Urdu words. To correct her diction, Lata undertook Urdu lessons early on in her career and what a transformation it came to be.

Lata's voice has been described variously as extremely sweet, pure, virgin, ethereal, divine, etc. Some consider her voice to be the eigth wonder of the world. In fact many go so far as to say that Goddess Saraswati resides in her throat. Remember Goddess Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, music, arts and science.


Mahal, means "The Mansion",

This film was one of the biggest box office hits of that year. The film was a supernatural suspense thriller and among the first dealing with reincarnation.

The song "Ayega Aane Wala" was the first hit song by Lata that firmly entrenched her feet in the Indian playback singing arena. Listen to it in the video below.

Song "Aayega Aane waala" from the Movie "Mahal" (1949)

Do Aankhen Baarah Haath

The title literally means - Two eyes and twelve hands and is a story about a jailor and six murder convicts

This 1957 film is one of the classics of Hindi films, It won a Silver Bear at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival and it was the first Indian film to win a Golden Globe Award.

The film was inspired by an open prison experiment and portrays a young jailor who transforms six murder convicts, who are on parole, into men of virtue.

V. Shantaram and Sandhya played the lead roles in this film.

"Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum" is the theme song that became a hit. Listen to it in the video below.

Song "Ae Maalik Tere Bande Hum" from the Movie "Do Aankhen Barah Haath" (1957)


Kathputli means Puppet.

This 1957 pygmalion Hindi social film is based on a theme of a godfather trying to control his protégé.

Balraj Sahni and Vyjantimala played stellar roles in this movie.

Listen to Lata sing the famous song "Bol Ri Kathputli Dori" in the video below.

Song "Bol Re Kathputli" from the Movie "Kathputli"


This 1958 Hindi film is one of the few films of its time dealing with reincarnation with a gothic noir feel to it.

Lata Mangeshkar won her 1st Filmfare Best Female Playback Award for her song "Aaja Re Pardesi" which you can listen to by watching the video below.

Song "Aaja Re Pardesi" from the Movie Madhumati (1958)


The title means "The Greatest Of The Mughals".

It is an Indian period epic film made in 1960. The film is a classic and is recognized as one of the milestones of Indian cinema.

The film was a box office hit becoming the highest grossing Bollywood film of all time, a record it held for 15 years.

Listen to Lata sing the song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from this film in the video below. This song remains famous to this day.

Song "Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya" from the Movie "Mughal-E-Azam" (1960)

Bees Saal Baad

The title means "20 Years Later".

A 1962 film whose plot is loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound Of The BaskerVilles". The film became a top box office hit of the year.

Lata Mangeshkar won her second Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award for the song "Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil". Listen to it in the video below.

Song "Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil" from the Movie "Bees Saal Baad" (1962)

Hum Dono

The title means "Both Of Us".

This 1961 film is a story of two lookalikes both of whom are in the army.

Listen to Lata sing the super hit bhajan (religious song) in this film by watching the video below.

Song "Allah Tero Naam" from the Movie "Hum Dono" (1961)

Song "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo"

Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo

On 27 June 1963, Lata Mangeshkar sang this song meaning "O people of My Country" in the presence of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

This was a few months after the Indo-China war. This song brought tears to the eyes of the Indian Prime Minister as it related the sacrifices the Indian soldiers made in the war.

Listen to the song "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo" by watching the video below.


Anpadh means "illiterate". This 1962 film focuses on the importance of education for the girl child.

Listen to Lata sing the evergreen song "Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha" from this film by watching the video below.

Song "Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha" from the Movie "Anpadh" (1962)

Woh Kaun Thi

The title means "Who Was She?". This 1964 suspense thriller became an instant hit. With several hit songs this particular hauntingly melodious song is listed by Lata as one of her personal best.

Listen to the song "Lag Ja Gale " from this movie by watching the video below.

Song "Lag Jaa Gale Ke Phir" from the Movie "Woh Kaun Thi" (1964)

Woh Kaun Thi

"Naina Barse Rim Zhim Rim Zhim" is another hauntingly beautiful song from the movie "Woh Kaun Thi" that appears several times in snippets throughout the movie and haunts the listeners even today. Such is the impact of this song.

Listen to this song sung by Lata Mangeshkar by watching the video below.

Song "Naina Barse Rim Zhim" from the Movie "Woh Kaun Thi" (1964)

Jeene Ki Raah

The title means "The Way To Live ". This 1969 movie earned Lata Mangeshkar her fourth Filmfare Award for the best playback singer for the song "Aap Mujhe Acche Lagne Lage'.

On getting the award, Lata announced the withdrawal of her name from future Filmfare Award nominations, to promote fresh singing talent.

Listen to this song sung by Lata by watching the video below.

Song "Beeti Naa Bitayi Raina" from the Movie "Parichay" (1972)

Song "Aap Mujhe Achchhe Lagne Lage" from the Movie "Jeene Ki Raah" (1969)


The title means "Introduction". This is a 1972 film that gave Lata Mangeshkar her first National Film Award for the Best female Playback Singer for the song "Beeti Naa Bitayi Raina"

Listen to Lata sing this song by watching the video below.


Silsila means "Chain" or "Sequence". This 1981 film, a bit different from the usual Indian cinema did not succeed at the box office but achieved a cult status among Indian audiences today for its bold theme.

The film had Amitabh Bachchan-Rekha in the lead whose rumored offscreen romance was at its zenith then. The film had 2 lovers going outside the sacred institution of marriage to continue their love affair which in that time and day was a big no-no.

Listen to Lata sing the song "Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum" in the video below.

Song "Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum" from the movie "Silsila" (1990)

Song "Hum To Bhai Jaise Hain" from the Movie "Veer Zaara" (2004)

Veer Zaara

Veer Zaara, is the name of the 2 lead characters in this 2004 Indian romantic drama movie. The movie is set against the backdrop of India - Pakistan conflict.

"Hum To Bhai Jaise Hain" is a popular song and listening to Lata sing for a mere 20 something girl singing with gay abandon of youth is a revelation. Remember, Lata was 74 years of age when she sang this song. A personal favorite of mine.

Listen to the song in the video below.

Awards, Honours, Recognitions

Lata Mangeshkar has won a multitude of awards and honors in her illustrious career. Some of them are

  • Bharat Ratna:in 1969 - India's highest civilian award.
  • Padma Vibhushan in 1999 -
  • Bharat Ratna in 2001
  • 3 National Filmfare Awards
  • 12 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards
  • 4 Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards
  • Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993

For an exhaustive list of awards conferred on her, go to

Little Known Facts About Lata

  • Lata's real name was Hema.
  • Royal Albert Hall has found Lata's voice to be the Most Perfect in the world after recording the graph of Lata's voice with the help of a computer.
  • Lata Mangeshkar has composed music and also produced movies under the pseudonym Anand Ghan.
  • She launched her own music label LM Musi to promote good music in November 2012.
  • Lata attended school just for 1 day in her life but has been awarded Honorary Doctorate by six universities of the world including New York University.
  • Lata has sung songs in 20 Indian languages.
  • Lata always sings barefoot as a mark of respect to the platform where she sings.
  • In 1999, Lata Eau du Parfum, a perfume brand was launched in her name.
  • Lata is an avid cricket fan and her favorite cricketer is Sachin Tendulkar.
  • In 1990 she launched her own production house for producing Bollywood movies.
  • Lata chews a lot of gum to keep her vice and face muscles fit.
  • She composed music for 5 Marathi movies.
  • In 1974, Lata became the first Indian to have performed in The Royal Albert hall, London.
  • She had a tiff with Mohammed Rafi, the legendary male playback singer over the issue of royalty payment to singers.
    While Lata demanded a share of a royalty from the film producers Rafi was of the view that once a singer has been paid for his work he has no claim on the royalty.
    Because of this tiff, both the singers did not sing duets together for very many years.
  • Lata has produced 4 films between the period 1953 to 1990.


© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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