Lata Mangeshkar was born in the city of Indore in 1929 to a Gujarati mother and noted actor-singer of the Marathi stage, Dinanath Mangeshkar. Her father was also her musical ‘guru’. After his sudden demise in 1942, Lata had to set off in search of work at the tender age of 13, in order to support her family. Initially, she performed bit roles in a few Marathi and Hindi films.
She made her playback singing debut with Vasant Joglekar’s Marathi film Kiti Hasaal (1942), but the song was dropped from the film. Finally, she got her first break with the same director’s Aap Ki Sewa Mein, five years later. However, it was Ghulam Haider’s Majboor (1948) that actually pushed Lata into prominence. By the time she sang ‘Uthaye jaa unke sitam’ for Naushad in Andaz (1949) and ‘Aayega aanewala’ for Khemchand Prakash in Mahal (1949), she had already obliterated prominent singers of the day like Shamshad Begum and Amirbai Karnataki. And once Noorjehan migrated to Pakistan post-Partition, there was no one left to challenge Lata Mangeshkar’s supremacy over the realm of playback singing. A position she has maintained to this day!