Tune into any music channel around the world that plays popular movie Hindi songs and one would find that during the day time at least more than ten times one would be mesmerized by the voice of this lady who has been into the business of singing for more than sixty two years. It is probably for this very reason that Royal Music Hall in London undertook a voice modulation analysis of the voice of Lata Mangeshkar and concluded that her voice has been the gift of God to this queen of melody. It is rather a different matter altogether today that with the proliferation of multiple radio channels airing more number of new songs than old ones, voice of Lata Mangeshkar is not that prominent today, and even on her birthday today the contribution to Indian music is not being given the due importance. She along with Mukesh had for the first time taken the Indian Hindi film music to off shores and had sown the seeds for opening up a new market for Indian music on the international arena.
Even after singing for such a long time, whenever a fresh female face has to be introduced Lata Mangeshkar is the first choice. Starting her career at the tender age of twelve and facing rejections in the earlier stages owing to the perception that her voice is shrill, she attained such exalted heights that there was no competition at all for her. Therefore, she stopped accepting awards, which paved the way for other singers to come up.
Her first recognition came in succession with AAG, AAH and MAHAL. Her voice was considered shrill during the formative years, as she was being judged against the voices of sonorous variety like those of Suraiyya, Geeta Dutt, and Shamshad Begum etc. However, her evolution reached its acme with BARSAAT KI RAAT where she was juxtaposed against Shamshad Begum in the famous quawali and she came out with flying colours.
It is always a very difficult choice to determine which could be the best song that Lata Mangeshkar sang as she has sung more than forty thousand songs as per the last count and she may have become choosy in singing Hindi film songs; she still continues to sing in Marathi and Konkani with aplomb. However, one song that would always find mention in any of the lists compiled would be, "Aie Mere watan ke logon … from HAQEQAT which led even the Prime Minister of the country Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to shed copious tears.
There was some muted criticism in some quarters that while Lata Mangeshkar does not have a competition when it is to do with singing songs based on Indian ragas, she could not come out with flying colours. But Lata Mangeshkar being Lata Mangeshkar, she turned her critics wrong once again when she sang "Main Ek Disco Tu Ek Disco in KHUDDAR, which incidentally was one of the most popular songs. She also has very few songs in her oeuvre of the bazaar variety but whenever she sung them, it was a super hit be it in ADALAT of Nargis or that of NAMAK HALAAL picturised on Smita Patil.
She was the first star on whose name a perfume has been named, and she is the only second star who has been adorned with a Bharat Ratna Award. The Yashraj Banner has paid the greatest tribute to the nightingale of the country by picking up her voice as the signature tune of their banner. It is also symptomatic of the importance that the voice of this lady has for this banner, as where it not for this voice the musical razzmatazz that Yash Raj banner has been associated with may not have crystallized. There are no other banners in the country, which pays tribute to the voice of Lata Mangeshkar every time a film made by their banner is displayed. Voices like hers make debut once in a lifetime, but their outreach is extended beyond generations.