Birthday Greetings to Lata Mangeshkar, the queen-empress of melody, who turned 90 years today.

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Birthday Greetings to Lata Mangeshkar, the queen-empress of melody, who turned 90 years today.

Lata Mangeshkar, whose voice took the whole nation by storm, started her musical sojourn at a very young age. The queen of melody and the most-loved voice of the nation, Lata Mangeshkar, not only ruled the Hindi music industry for decades but etched a special place in the hearts of every Indian across the globe.

She has elevated playback singing from its surrogate status to that of a highly valued component of the country’s burgeoning entertainment industry, as far back as 1959. Time Magazine described her as the “indisputable and indispensable queen of India’s playback singers”.

In her hedays, a single disapproving shake of her head makes the top brass of internationally connected record companies grow cold feet. As Shankar of the famed Shankar-Jaikishan music director duo put it: “Lataji catches cold, and the whole industry sneezes.”

Lata Mangeshkar does her recordings with a breathtaking ease. In most cases, she sings without a proper rehearsal and sings straight into the film’s sound track, without any re-take and with the accompaniment of a 70-man orchestra.

In 1977, she flew straight back from a long foreign tour to record for Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Listened for 10 minutes to the music directors Laxmikant-Pyarelal humming out the tentative outlines of the theme song, and walked into the recording studio. The result was a song that topped the charts for nearly two years.

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Celebrating Cinema

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