Lata Mangeshkar, 1929 - 2022

The "Nightingale of India", one of Bollywood's greatest playback singers, has died

Lata Mangeshkar, who has died of Covid-19 aged 92, was the record-breaking queen of Bollywood playback singers for seven decades, during which she and her younger sister and rival Asha Bhosle recorded more than 20,000 songs each in more than 15 languages.

A down to earth, bespectacled woman, Lata Mangeshkar may have been an unfamiliar face, but her name became more famous than those of the glamorous stars who lip-synched to her high-pitched crystalline tones in more than 1,000 films.

A favourite of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the “Nightingale of India”, as she was known, influenced generations of singers, both classical and popular – including Freddie Mercury, who was said to have sought to combine her high-octane singing style with Jimi Hendrix’s stage antics.

In 1981 the writer Gopal Krishna declared: “Cricket, Lata Mangeshkar and the transistor make India one nation.”

Lata Mangeshkar, born September 28, 1929, died February 6 2022