The stunning longevity of Lata

Showtime lists some of the legend’s biggest hits, ahead of her 92nd birthday next Tuesday
Last Updated 24 September 2021, 20:14 IST
Lata Mangeshkar
Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar celebrates her 92nd birthday on September 28. Having started her Hindi film career in 1947 with ‘Aap Ki Sewa Mein’, she sung for a whole gamut of heroines from the late 1940s to the millennium’s Kareena Kapoor Khan, who started out in 2000.

This also reflects Hindi cinema’s Prima Donna’s range as she lent her vocals to Nutan and Vyjayanthimala who debuted in the 1950s, Sadhana and Hema Malini from the 60s, Raakhee and Zeenat Aman in the 70s, Padmini Kolhapure and Meenakshi Seshadri (80s) and Manisha Koirala (90s).

Here’s looking at the six old and young actors for whom Lata’s songs did magic.

The Six Senior Stunners:

Begum Para

Begum Para made her debut in 1944, and her first film with Lata Mangeshkar was ‘Meharbani’ (1950) with music by Hafeez Khan. In this film, there was another heroine, but Begum was the main lead opposite Ajit. The actor, who featured on the cover of the American magazine Life, was one of the first glamorous names in Hindi cinema.

Geeta Bali

Geeta Bali, who made her lead debut in ‘Badnami’ (1946), got her first Lata song in the super-hit Husnlal-Bhagatram creation ‘Chale jaana nahin’ from ‘Badi Bahen’ in 1949. Then came the song ‘Shola jo bhadke’ from ‘Albela’ (1951) which is billed as one of the biggest chartbusters ever in Hindi cinema.

Kamini Kaushal

The darling old grandmother to Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Chennai Express’ (2013) and Shahid Kapoor in ‘Kabir Singh’ (2019) was a top heroine in the 1940s and early 50s after her debut in ‘Neecha Nagar’ (1946).

In her own words, “Lata Mangeshkar sang for me in ‘Ziddi’ (1948) for the first time. That was the first time she sang for a leading lady in a film. Before that, she had sung only for supporting actresses.” Very interestingly, as per a passing trend at the time, the gramophone records credited Asha (her character’s name in the film) with the songs! Only later, as Lata rose phenomenally, her name appeared on the discs. The music was by Khemchand Prakash.


Madhubala made her debut as a lead in ‘Neel Kamal’ (1947). Her first-time stunning combination with Lata was the epic ‘Mahal’ (1949). Lata sang the immortal ‘Aayega aanewala’ and two other lovelies in the film. The music was again by Khemchand.

Nalini Jaywant

The top heroine’s first tryst with Lata came in ‘Anokha Pyar’ (1948) in songs ‘Jeevan sapna toot gaya’. Of course, ‘Samadhi’ and ‘Sangram’ were her true-blue breakthroughs in 1950, and Lata was her voice in both the films.


She was a child artiste since 1935 and made her lead debut opposite top star Motilal in Mehboob Khan’s ‘Taqdeer’ (1943) at the age of 14. She rapidly rose in the star echelons. It was the same Anil Biswas’ ‘Anokha Pyar’ in which we heard Lata sing for her. But the team of Nargis and Lata became famous for ‘Andaz’ and ‘Barsaat’ in 1949.

The Six Young Sensations

Her song 'Humko Humise Chura Lo' forAishwarya Rai in 'Mohabbatein' (2000)is one of the favourites of the 90s generation.
Her song 'Humko Humise Chura Lo' for
Aishwarya Rai in 'Mohabbatein' (2000)
is one of the favourites of the 90s generation.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who made her debut in 1997, had Lata singing the popular ‘Humko hamin se chura lo’ in ‘Mohabbatein’ 2000. Jatin-Lalit scored the music.


Kajol started out in ‘Bekhudi’ (1992), and her first songs by Lata came in the four cult tracks of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ in 1995, again under Jatin-Lalit.

Kareena Kapoor Khan

Lata’s work for her comprise three songs: two songs in Rahul Sharma’s ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’ (‘Andekhi anjaani si’ and the medley) and one in Nadeem-Shravan’s ‘Bewafaa’ (‘Kaise kahoon ki main’).

Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta first signed ‘Kya Kehna’ (2000), but ‘Dil Se…’ (1998) was her first released film. And Lata Mangeshkar sang its hit “Jiya jale” for the actress under A R Rahman.

Rani Mukerji

‘Jaane kabse dil mein hai tu’, the popular song from Rahul Sharma’s ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’ (2002) and the medley saw Lata singing for Rani Mukerji.


Tabu made her lead debut in 1994, and it was in 1996 that Lata first lent her voice for the actress in Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Maachis’, followed by his ‘Hu Tu Tu’.

(Published 24 September 2021, 20:14 IST)

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