India's Melody Queen, Lata Mangeshkar passes away at 92


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Lata Mangeshkar, India's most loved singer who had once moved Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to tears, leaves behind a teary-eyed nation of admirers who grew up listening to her immutable voice give wings to the words of poets and the screen careers of legions of heroines.

India's Melody Queen, who also composed music for Marathi films and was a producer as well, and had the distinction of being conferred with the highest civilian honours of India and France, passed away on Sunday morning at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, where she had been admitted because of Covid-related complications on January 11.

Lata Didi, as she was known among her family and followers, was 92 and is survived by her siblings -- playback singer and composer Meena Khadilkar, popular singer and restaurateur Asha Bhosale, singer Usha Mangeshkar, and music director Hridayanath Mangeshkar.

She never married, but was close to the late Raj Singh Dungarpur, the aristocratic former cricketer and President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from 1996 to 1999.

One of India's most loved voices, Lata Mangeshkar was the recipient of three National Film Awards, seven Filmfare awards, and of course, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989. She was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 2001, becoming the second singer after M.S. Subbulakshmi to be so honoured, and the French awarded her the Officer of the Legion of Honour.

In 1974, Lata Mangeshkar became the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London. She had indeed come a long, long way since the time when the first song that she recorded for a film -- 'Kiti Hasaal' in 1942 -- was dropped in the final cut.