Lata Mangeshkar was born on 28th September, 1929 in a Maharashtrian family in Sikh Mohalla, Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Her father, Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer and theater actor. Her mother, Shudhhamati, was Deenanath's second wife. The family's last name used to be Hardikar; Dinanath changed it to Mangeshkar in order to identify his family with his native town, Mangeshi in Goa. Lata was named Hema at her birth. Her parents later renamed her Lata after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays, Bhaav Bandhan. Lata is the eldest child of her parents. Hridayanath, Asha, Usha, and Meena are her siblings in sequence. Lata took her first music lessons from her father. At the age of five, she started to work as an actress in her father's musical plays in Marathi. Her father's recitals and lessons left a strong impression on her, as did the songs of K.L. Saigal, who was her favorite singer and idol. Her formal education was limited to one day in the school. On the first day in the school, she started teaching songs to other children. When the teacher stopped her, she was so angry that she stopped going to the school.
In 1942, when Lata was 13, her father died of heart disease. Master Vinayak, the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of the Mangeshkar family, then took care of the family. He helped Lata get started with her career as a singer and an actress. Lata sang the song, “Naachu yaa gade”, “Khelu saari mani haus bhaari”, which was composed by Sadashivrao Nevrekar for Vasant Joglekar's Marathi movie, Kiti Hasaal (1942), but the song was dropped from the movie. Master Vinayak gave her a small role in Navyug Chitrapat's Marathi movie, Pahili Mangalaagaur (1942). In that movie, she sang “Natali chaitraachi navalaai”, which was composed by Dada Chandekar. Her first Hindi song was “Mata ek sapoot ki duniya badal de tu” for the Marathi film, Gajaabhaau (1943). Lata moved to Mumbai in 1945 when Master Vinayak's company shifted its headquarters to that city. She started taking lessons in Hindustani classical music from Ustad Amanat Ali Khan Bhendibazaarwale. She sang “Paa lagoon kar jori” for Vasant Joglekar's Hindi movie, Aap Ki Seva Mein (1946). Lata and her sister, Asha, played minor roles alongside actress Noor Jehan in Master Vinayak's first Hindi movie, Badi Maa (1945). In that movie, Lata also sang a bhajan, “Maata tere charnon mein”. She was introduced to music director Vasant Desai during the recording of Master Vinayak's second Hindi movie, Subhadra (1946). Following the partition of India in 1947, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan Bhendibazaarwale migrated to newly formed Pakistan; so Lata started to learn classical music under Amanat Khan Devaswale. Pandit Tulsidas Sharma, a pupil of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, also trained her. After Master Vinayak's death in 1948, music director Ghulam Haider mentored Lata as a singer. In those days, Noor Jehan, Shamshad Begum, and Zohrabai Ambalewali, with their rather heavy and often nasal voices, were the popular female singers in Hindi movies. Haider introduced Lata to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who was working then on the movie, Shaheed (1948), but Mukherjee dismissed her voice as too thin. An annoyed Haider responded that in the coming years the producers and the directors will fall at Lata's feet and beg her to sing in their movies. Haider gave Lata her first major break with the song, “Dil mera toda” in the movie, Majboor (1948) The song, “Aayega aanewaala”, in the popular movie, Mahal (1949), which Lata sang proved a turning point for her. The song was composed by music director, Khemchand Prakash, and lip-synced by actress, Madhubala.
In the 1950s, Lata sang for all major music directors of the era except O.P.Nayyar who favoured Asha Bhosle. She sang songs for Naushad, Shankar Jaikishen, S.D.Burman, Anil Biswas, C.Ramchandra, Hemant Kumar, Ravi, Salil Chowdhury, Khayyam, Roshan, Sudhir Phadke, Kalyanji Anandji and many more. Salil Chowdhury was one of the favorite composers of Lata during the 1950s. She won her first Filmfare Best Female Playback Award for Chowdhury's composition, “Aaja re pardesi” in Madhumati (1957). Between the years 1957 and 1962, Lata developed a discord with composer S.D.Burman and they did not work together for 6 years.
The 1960s decade saw Lata become the undisputed numero uno playback singer in Bollywood. The year 1960 saw great songs like “Pyar kiya to darna kya” from Mughal-E-Azam (1960), composed by Naushad and “Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh” from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), composed by Shankar-Jaikishan while 1961 saw the successful bhajan “Allah tero naam” from the film Hum Dono (1961) composed by Jaidev. In 1962, she bagged her seconf FilmFare Award for the song “Kahin deep jale kahin dil” from Bees Saal Baad (1962) composed by Hemant Kumar. On June 27, 1963, Lata Mangeshkar sang the patriotic song “Ae mere watan ke logon” in presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. The song, composed by C. Ramchandra and written by Pradeep, brought tears to Nehru's eyes. The 1960s reunited Lata with S.D.Burman which resulted in “Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai” and “Piya tose” both from Guide(1965) and “Hothon pe aisi baat” from Jewel Thief(1967). The 1960s also saw her melodious combination with Madan Mohan with “Aap ki nazaron ne samjha” from Anpadh(1962), “Lag ja gale” and “Naina barse” both from Woh Kaun Thi(1964) and “Tu jahan jahan chalega” from Mera Saaya(1966). From 1970s onwards, Lata Mangeshkar staged many concerts in India and abroad, including several charity concerts. Her first concert overseas was at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 1974. She also released an album of Meerabai's bhajans, Chala Vaahi Des, composed by her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar. The phenomenal success in playback singing continued through the 1970s. Notable films were Pakeezah(1971) with music by Ghulam Mohammed, Prem Pujari (1970), Sharmeeli (1972) and Abhimaan (1973) with S.D Burman, Chhotisi Baat(1974) with Salil Chowdhury and many more. Lata’s most successful songs in 1970s were with Lakmikant Pyarelal and Rahul Dev Burman. From the 1980s. Lata cut down on her singing assignments and restricted to banners like Yash Raj Films and Rajshri Productions. She worked with many new music directors, including Ravindra Jain, Bappi Lahiri, Shiv-Hari, Ram Laxman, A. R. Rahman. She also recorded many non-film songs, including ghazals with Jagjit Singh. During the 1990s, she sang frequently for music directors like Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan, Rajesh Roshan, A.R Rehman, Vishal Bharadwaj and more.
Lata Mangeshkar has won all major Government of India awards like Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1989) and Bharat Ratna (2001). She has won 3 Silver Lotus National Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for “Beeti na bitayi” from Parichay (1972), “Roothe roothe piya” from Kora Kagaz(1975) and “Yaara sili sili” from Lekin (1990). Lata monopolised the Filmfare Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for almost a decade. In 1969, she made a unique gesture of giving up the Filmfare Award to promote fresh talent. • 1958 – “Aaja re pardesi” from Madhumati • 1962 – “Kahi deep jale kahi dil” from Bees Saal Baad • 1965 – “Tumhi mere mandir tumhi meri pooja from Khandan • 1969 – “Aap mujhe achhe lagne lage from Jeene Ki Raah • 1993 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award • 1994 - Filmfare Special Award for “Didi tera devar deewana” from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun Lata has won 12 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Award for Best Female Playback Singer. Other awards and honours won by Lata Mangeshkar. • 1980 - Presented key of the city of Georgetown, Guyana, South America • 1980 - Honorary Citizenship of The Republic of Surinam, South America • 1985 - June 9, declared as Asia Day in honour of her arrival in Toronto, Canada • 1987 - Honorary Citizenship of USA in Houston, Texas • 19