The day the music died

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MUMBAI/ISLAMABAD: Bollywood superstar Lata Mangeshkar, known to millions as ‘The Nightingale of India’ and a regular broadcaster on the country’s airwaves for decades, died Sunday morning at the age of 92 year.

Mangeshkar’s high-pitched melodies were an instantly recognizable feature of Indian cinema, with his work appearing in over 1,000 films. She died in a hospital in Mumbai after being admitted to her intensive care unit several weeks ago with symptoms of Covid-19. “Heartbroken, but blessed to have known and loved this incredible soul,” said actor Anil Kapoor, best known internationally for his role as game show host in Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire.” “Lataji holds a place in our hearts that will never be taken by anyone else. That’s how deeply she has impacted our lives with her music.”

Mangeshkar was born in 1929 in Indore, central India, and began her musical education under the tutelage of her father Deenanath, singing in his theater productions when she was just five years old.

The death of her father at the age of 13 forced her to take on the role of breadwinner for four younger siblings, and the family eventually moved to Mumbai in 1945. There she pursued a career as a playback singer, recording pieces to be mimed by actors. , and his voice quickly became a staple of Bollywood blockbusters.

In a move reflecting her huge following, she was invited by the government to sing a patriotic tribute to soldiers killed in the 1962 Indochina War during India’s Republic Day commemorations in January 1963. Her rendition of “Oh the People of My Country” reportedly moved then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears.

Over the next few decades, composers and film producers vied to sign the prolific Mangeshkar for their films. “I composed keeping in mind the range and quality of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice,” composer Anil Biswas said in an interview. “She had a wide range, and you could think of more complicated melodies than with previous untrained singers.”

Mangeshkar dominated Bollywood music for over half a century and is considered by many to be the greatest playback singer in the Indian film industry. Mangeshkar was not shy about taking a stand when it came to raising his prices or asking for a share of the royalties collected from his songs. Her longevity and discipline led her to lend her voice to teenage actresses 50 years her junior.

Critics complained that his dominance left little room for new singers to thrive, but his following remained loyal, ensuring his songs topped the charts. She was also known for her quirks, such as never singing in her shoes and always writing every song by hand before recording it.

In 2001, Mangeshkar was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, and she received France’s Legion of Honor in 2009 in recognition of her contribution to Indian music and cinema. Although she dropped out of school, saying she only attended one day’s lessons, Mangeshkar was fluent in several languages. His oeuvre included devotional and classical albums and spanned approximately 27,000 songs in dozens of languages, including English, Russian, Dutch and Swahili.

The authorities have declared two days of national mourning for the singer. His body was publicly cremated in a Mumbai park on Sunday evening with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others laying flowers at his funeral pyre.

“Generations to come will remember her as a pillar of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerize people,” Modi said. News of his death sent an outpouring of grief from film industry luminaries, and a crowd gathered outside his Mumbai home as Bollywood titan Amitabh Bachchan and other celebrities arrived for pay homage to him. “His voice touches the soul of every Indian,” 56-year-old fan Rajesh Kumar Ram told AFP. “His songs have accompanied us throughout our lives,” he added.

Mangeshkar was also revered across the border in Pakistan, where television stations spent the day broadcasting continuous coverage of her death and playing songs from her repertoire. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that with the death of Lata Mangeshkar the subcontinent had lost one of the greatest singers the world has ever known.

In a tweet on social media platform Twitter, he said, “With the death of Lata Mangeshkar, the subcontinent has lost one of the greatest singers the world has ever known. Listening to his songs has given so much pleasure to so many people all over the world.

Separately, Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Sunday that the passing of famous Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar marked the end of an era in music. In a tweet, Fawad said Lata has ruled the world for decades and the magic of her voice will live on forever. He said anywhere

PML-N chairman Shehbaz Sharif said the world had lost a “song legend who mesmerized generations with his melodious voice”. “Urdu was spoken and understood, there were admirers of Lata Mangeshkar. People of my generation grew up listening to his beautiful songs that will remain etched in our memory. May she rest in peace,” he tweeted.

In a tweet, Maryam Nawaz said, “Rest in Peace, Melody Queen, Lata Mangeshkar. Your voice, your songs and the emotions they evoke will never die. There will never be another Lata. Condolences to the family.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deep sorrow over the death of Queen of Melody Lata Mangeshkar. In a tweet, Bilawal said that Lata Mangeshkar has enchanted millions with her melodious voice for over half a century.

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