TRIBUTES have poured in across the Leicester music community, following the death of one of Indian’s most beloved and influential Bollywood singers.
Legendary Bollywood icon Lata Mangeshkar, who was known respectfully as ‘Lata Ji’, died in Mumbai over the weekend, at the age of 92.
The singer had been admitted to hospital in January after testing positive for Covid-19, with Dr Pratit Samdani, the doctor who was treating her at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital, confirming that she died of multiple-organ failure.
Dubbed the ‘Nightingale of India,’ Ms Mangeshkar’s career spanned an incredible 73 years, during which she recorded thousands of songs.
Her work in Bollywood, gained her status as a national icon, and her voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Indian films.
Members of Leicester’s music community told The Leicester Times, that her passing has left a “huge hole” in the Bollywood music industry.
“It’s like describing Beethoven, Mozart, you get only one of a kind in a lifetime. She was beyond a musician, beyond a person, possible a goddess,” said Leicester musician Hemant Mattani, who was honoured to have Lata Gi perform at his wedding.
“I would call her an institution of music – the way she sang, her diction, her tonal quality and how she could sing without all these fancy machines others use today.
“She was a perfectionist and one of the most perfect vocalists. All the present musicians and singers strive to get to that level,” he added.
Hemant shared his memories of watching Lata perform at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, a venue she had graced several times during her career.
“I was very fortunate to have attended those, and it was a pleasure always listening to her, but watching and seeing her live was a complete unique and different experience,” he said.
Musician Damini Chavda hailed Lata “an inspiration”, not only to her but countless other musicians.
“She is so versatile that she covers every generation,” she told The Leicester Times.
“Though I’ve never been in personal contact and I’ve never met her, but the passing of her feels like the music has lost such a big part. To know that she’s not there, it’s like a big missing piece. You can’t believe that she’s gone. People like her, you think they’re immortal. You think they’re going to be there forever.”
Born in Indore on September, 28 1929, Mangeshkar’s began learning music from her father at the age of just five.
After her father died, she moved with her family to Mumbai and as a teenager, began singing for Marathi movies.
But her big break came in 1949 with the release of a song called Aayega Aanewala for the movie Mahal.
In the decades that followed, Mangeshkar sang thousands of songs, which were lipsynced across generations, by Bollywood’s biggest heroines.
Other highlights of her career include being nominated for the upper house of India’s parliament in 1999, and receiving the Bharat Ratna, in 2001, which is India’s highest honour for civilians.