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Lata Mangeshkar is one of the oldest, best known and widely respected playback singers in India. In a career spanning over seven decades, she has recorded songs for more than one thousand Hindi movies, and sung songs in more than 36 regional Indian languages and foreign languages. She is the second vocalist (after MS Subbulakshmi) to have ever have been honoured with India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
Lata started her singing career with songs like Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani and Haus Bhaari from the Marathi movie Kiti Hasaal (1942) though surprisingly one of the songs was dropped from the movie. After facing many rejections on the ground that her voice was “too thin”, Lata was given a huge breakthrough by her mentor Ghulam Haider with the song Dil Mera Toda from Majboor in 1948. In 1949, Mangeshkar became the voice behind Madhubala’s popular song Aayega Aanewala from Mahal. Her fame grew in the 1950s with hits such as Tu Kaun Hai Mera (Deedar) in 1951, O Janewale, the popular Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua (Shree 420) and O Janale Ruk Ja (Devdas) in 1955, and Matwala Jiya Dole Piya and Ghunghat Nahin Kholoongi Saiyan (Mother India) in 1957. The Nightingale of Bollywood continued with evergreen numbers like Ajib Dastan Hai Yeh (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai) in 1960, Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil (Bees Saal Baad) in 1962, Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha (Anpadh) in 1962, the patriotic anthem Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon (1963), Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi and Inhin Logon Ne (Pakeezah) (1970), Rangeela Re (Prem Pujari) (1972), Roothe Roothe Piya (Kora Kagaz), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Satyam Shivam Sundaram) in 1978. In the 1980s, Lata concentrated on shows abroad, only to return with some of Hindi Cinema's biggest hits, such as Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (Dil To Pagal Hai) (1997), and Tere Liye (Veer-Zaara) (2004). The living legend has won several other awards in her lifetime, including the Padma Bhushan (1969), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989) - the highest award in cinema - as well as 3 National Film Awards and 6 Filmfare Awards.