Indian Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar
known by the affectionate moniker, ‘Nightingale of India’, passed away on Sunday aged 92, said medical sources.
She passed away at 8.12 a.m. after suffering a multiple-organ failure on Saturday night. Confirming her death, Breach Candy Hospital CEO N. Santhanam attributed the iconic singer’s death to post-COVID-19 complications.
The Central government has announced a two-day national mourning.
She was admitted to Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital in early January this year, after she tested positive for COVID-19 and was also diagnosed with pneumonia.
While she was admitted to the ICU with mild symptoms on January 28, the singer was taken off the ventilator, after she showed slight signs of improvement. However, her condition deteriorated again on Saturday and she was back on ventilator support.
Lata Mangeshkar, was the oldest of the Mangeshkar siblings, which included Asha Bhosle, Meena Khadikar, Usha Mangeshkar and Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
Known as the ‘Queen of Melody’, Lata Mangeshkar, a veritable music institution, sang thousands of songs in several Indian languages in a record-breaking career of 73 years beginning at age 13 in the 1942 Marathi film Kiti Hasaal (1942).
Lata Mangeshkar, along with her sister Asha Bhosle, reigned supreme in Bollywood film music from the late 1940s well into the 21st century, having recorded with every great music composer of name — be it Salil Chowdhury, Naushad, S.D. Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman and Kalyanji-Anandji — though she shared a special musical relationship with composer Madan Mohan.
But it was her heartfelt rendition of the patriotic Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo — commemorating the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers in the 1962 war with China — that was said to have moved Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears. The song was performed on Republic Day in 1963 at the National Stadium in New Delhi.
She sang Naushad’s formidable raga-based compositions in ‘Golden Age’ classics like Baiju Bawra, Mother India and Mughal-e-Azam; Shankar-Jaikishan’s hits in films like Barsaat and Shree 420. She won her first Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in the Salil Chowdhury-scored Madhumati.
She was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, third-highest civilian award in 1969, the Padma Vibhushan, second-highest civilian award in 1999 and the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna in 2001.
Much-feted throughout her lengthy innings, Lata Mangeshkar was conferred with France’s highest civilian award ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’ (Officer of the Legion of Honour) in 2009.