THE GAME CHANGERS
In 1942, when she was only 13 yrs of age, her father died of heart disease, and this was the most shocking incident of her life. But this incident didn’t end her singing journey, instead, it took a sharp turn in her career. Her father’s friend – Master Vinayak (Vinayak Damodar Karnataki), the owner of Navyug Chitrapat Movie Company, took care of her family. He then helped her in making a career in singing and acting. Because of Vinayak, she got a chance to sing in a Marathi film, and she sang the song “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari”, in a Marathi film called Kiti Hasaal (1942). He also gave her a small role in the marathi film Pahili Mangalaa-gaur (1942). Her first Hindi song was “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu” for the Marathi film Gajaabhaau (1943).
Lata Mangeshkar didn’t have much passion for acting, and she didn’t like the dramatic maneuvers of the screenplay. In 1945, she moved to Mumbai because Master Vinayak’s company moved its headquarters there. This was a game changer for her singing career and it brightened up the road of her musical journey.
In Mumbai, she started taking lessons in Hindustani classical music from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhindibazaar Gharana. This was another game changer for her, because he was the most experienced music teacher of that time, and was an Indian classical vocalist and composer from the Bhendibazaar Gharana. He introduced rhythmic play (layakari) and style of solfa singing (sargam) to the Bhendibazaar Gharana. Without his training, Lata Mangeshkar wouldn’t have become a perfect singer. She then got the first chance to sing a song in a Hindi film called Badi Maa (1945) – it was Master Vinayak’s first Hindi film, and the song is “Mata Tere Charnon Mein”. After Vinayak’s death in 1948, her career didn’t come to an end. She was liked by the music director Ghulam Haider, who mentored her as a singer. He introduced her to the producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who was working on the movie Shaheed (1948), but Mukherjee dismissed her voice, because he found it too thin. Haider reacted to Mukherjee’s rejection, and told him that one day producers and directors of Bollywood would fall at Lata Mangeshkar’s feet and beg her to sing in their movies. With such a rivalry, he accompanied her to Bombay Talkies studio in Malad (Mumbai), where the film Majboor (1948) was being shot. Haider was the music composer for that film, and finally she was selected as a playback singer for that film, and the song Angrezi Chhora Chala Gaya was recorded in her voice. This was a major breakthrough in her career and Bombay Talkies was her main game changer. After that, she got the opportunity to sing in many Bollywood films like Barsaat (1949), Andaz (1949), Mahal (1949), etc. Then the song Ayega Ayega from the film Mahal became the most popular song at that time. After gaining popularity in the film industry, she was offered to sing in many films. And she sang for decades in various films and in different languages. She sang more than 25,000 songs and some were not even known.
The four game changers – Master Vinayak, Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Ghulam Haider and Bombay Talkies, helped Lata Mangeshkar to become a legend. Without them, she wouldn’t have got the opportunity to furnish herself and become a legend in the Bollywood’s film industry.