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Lata: The greatest songstress of all time

Lata Mangeshkar, the greatest Indian songstress of all time, turns 80 on September 28. Like a flash of lightening, she illuminated a musical world on the verge of change in 1949 and it has never been the same since.

Every singer for the past six decades has been singing in the space, the vast terra infirma, charted by Lata's voice. Great singing, unlike good singing, is an experience of beauty laced with pity, a haunted happening in the shadow of our transience. And rarely has a singer so defined and symbolised this experience as Lata has over the last several decades.

Listen to Ayega Aanewaala. Its freshness never abates; to listen it, even today, is to feel present at the birth of something new. Beginning of a journey. Beginning of the Indian film music as we have come to know and love. If Lata had given us nothing more, that would be enough.

Text: Harsh V Pant

In the picture: Lata Mangeshkar sings at her 75th Birthday celebrations at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai in 2003. Photograph: Sebastian D'Souza/Getty Images

Also Read: Lata: The eternal nightingale


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