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Saturday, Oct 16, 2021
Outlook.com

Best Heard On 78 RPM

India's greatest living singer, Lata will be celebrated. But a hagiographic Q&A cannot stand for a biography.

Best Heard On 78 RPM
Best Heard On 78 RPM
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
First the statistics: Until the 1991 edition, when her entry disappeared, the Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as having sung no less than 30,000 solo, duets and chorus-backed songs. That made her easily the most recorded artiste in the world. I will get back to that later.

Lata started as a child actress to support her impoverished family and had small roles in eight Marathi and Hindi films. She hated acting and turned to singing. Her early songs were forgettable until composers Khemchand Prakash, Naushad Ali and Shankar Jaikishan discovered her more or less at the same time. Her first big hit was Aayega aanewala but HMV attributed the recording not to Lata but to ‘Kamini’, the character Madhubala played in Mahal. The huge success of her songs in two films that rapidly followed, Mehboob Khan’s Andaz and Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat, ensured her uncontested reign as the queen of playback for the next 50 years or so.

Lata has sung in Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and 32 other languages, including...

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