Lata Mangeshkar, one of India’s biggest cultural icons and a singer who defined music and melody for generations of her countrymen has died, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
She was 92 and is survived by her four siblings. Mangeshkar was hospitalised on Jan. 11 after she was detected with COVID-19.
“I am anguished beyond words,” Modi wrote on Twitter.
“The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people.”
Other Bollywood personalities and politicians offered consolations.
Recipient of the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Awards, Mangeshkar was popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of India’.
Mangeshkar began singing in her teens, and in a career spanning 73 years sang more than an estimated 15,000 songs in 36 languages. In 1945, Mangeshkar had an early hit in the song Aayega Aanewala from the film Mahal.
She sang raga-based compositions by Naushad in films like Baiju Bawra, Mother India and Mughal-E-Azam, Shankar-Jaikishan’s melodic hits in Barsaat and Shree 420; Salil Chowdhury’s lilting tracks in Madhumati won her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer; three more Filmfare Awards came by way of Bees Saal Baad, Khandan and Jeene Ki Raah.
Lata Mangeshkar won three National Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for the films Parichay, Kora Kagaz and Lekin. Other memorable films in her credits include Pakeezah, Abhimaan, Amar Prem, Aandhi, Silsila, Chandni, Sagar, Rudali and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
Among Lata Mangeshkar’s most iconic songs is the patriotic composition Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo; the song, commemorating Indian soldiers who died in the 1962 war with China.