Mumbai, Sept. 28 -- Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar, who turns 85 today (September 28), has occupied a unique space in the consciousness of Indians for well over six decades. She made her debut as a playback singer in 1946, when the scene was dominated by the likes of Noor Jehan, Zohrabai, Ameerbai and Shamshad Begum.
Very few people know that producer Sashadhar Mukherjee once rejected Mangeshkar for possessing a very "thin and weak voice". It was composer Ghulam Mohammed who forecast a great future for her, saying, "A day will come when the entire film industry will queue up at her doorstep."
The prediction came true, as soon, her songs like 'Aayega aanewala' from Mahal (1949) and 'Hava mein udta jaaye' from Barsaat (1949) became instant chartbusters. Mangeshkar went on to sing for almost four generations of Bollywood heroines, ranging from Shobhana Samarth to Kajol. In 2001, she was presented with India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
Today, Hridayesh Arts is celebrating her birthday at an event at Shanmukhananda Hall, King's Circle, from 6.30 pm. The singer will be felicitated by another Bharat Ratna awardee, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. While he is a fan of film music, she is a keen follower of the sport.
Mangeshkar's sister, Asha Bhosle will also be present at the event. Their younger brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, will also be felicitated for completing 60 years in the field of music. He has been their favourite composer, and the sisters have lent their voices to many songs scored by him. In the second half of the programme, Chala Wahi Des - a Kathak dance ballet choreographed and presented by Pune-based exponent Shama Bhate - will be staged.
Talking about the function, Mangeshkar says, "Sachin is like my son. I am so glad that he can make it [to the event] this time. Whatever I have achieved is by the grace of God and thanks to the blessings of my elders."
A free listening session will be held for fans of Mangeshkar's music, at 4.30 pm at the Vile Parle Mahila Sangh. It will comprise duets - based on classical ragas - that feature the singer's voice.