Lata Mangeshkar is an Indian singer, and occasional music-composer. She is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India. Mangeshkar's career started in the year 1942 and has spanned over six and a half decades.She was born on 28 September 1929. She has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi. She is the elder sister of singer Asha Bhosle, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Mangeshkar. She is the second vocalist to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honors. Mangeshkar was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records from 1974 to 1991 for having made the most recordings in the world. The claim was that she had recorded approximately 25,000 solo, duet, and chorus-backed songs in 20 Indian languages between 1948 to 1974. Over the years, while several sources have supported this claim, others have raised concerns over its veracity, claiming that this number was highly exaggerated and that Mangeshkar's younger sister, Asha Bhosle, had more song recordings than she had. In 2011 Guinnessofficially acknowledged Bhosle as the most recorded artist in music history.

In 1942, when Mangeshkar was 13, her father died of heart disease. Master Vinayak, the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of the Mangeshkar family, took care of them. After Vinayak's death in 1948, music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer. Haider introduced Mangeshkar to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who was working then on the movie Shaheed (1948), but Mukherjee dismissed Mangeshkar's voice as "too thin." An annoyed Haider responded that in the coming years the producers and the directors would "fall at Lata's feet" and "beg her" to sing in their movies. Haider gave Lata her first major break with the song “Dil Mera Toda,” from the movie Majboor (1948). In the 1950s, Mangeshkar sang songs composed by various music directors of the period, including Anil Biswas in films such as Tarana and Heer, Shankar-Jaikishan, Naushad, S. D. Burman, C. Ramchandra, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhury, Khayyam, Ravi, Sajjad Hussain, Roshan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Vasant Desai, Sudhir Phadke, Hansraj Behl, Madan Mohan, and Usha Khanna. During the 1960s, Lata Mangeshkar continued her association with Madan Mohan which included the songs "Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha" from Anpadh (1962), "Lag Ja Gale" and "Naina Barse Rim Jhim" from Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), "Woh Chup Rahen To" from Jahan Ara (1964), and "Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega" from Mera Saaya (1966).

In 1972, Meena Kumari's last film, Pakeezah, was released. It featured popular songs including "Chalte Chalte" and "Inhi Logon Ne" sung by Lata Mangeshkar, and composed by Ghulam Mohammed. She recorded many popular songs for S. D. Burman's last films, including "Rangeela Re" from Prem Pujari (1970), "Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan" from Sharmeelee (1971), and "Piya Bina" from Abhimaan (1973). From 1980s onwards, Lata Mangeshkar worked with music directors including Shiv-Hari, Ram Laxman, and A. R. Rahman. She recorded some non-film songs, including ghazals with Jagjit Singh. Lata Mangeshkar has won several awards and honors, including Bharat Ratna (India's Highest Civilian Award), Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award(1989), Maharashtra Bhushan Award (1997), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001), ANR National Award (2009), three National Film Awards, and 12 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. She has also won four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards. In 1969, she made the unusual gesture of giving up the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award, in order to promote fresh talent. She was later awarded Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. In 1984, the State Government of Madhya Pradesh instituted the Lata Mangeshkar Award in honour of Lata Mangeshkar. The State Government of Maharashtra also instituted a Lata Mangeshkar Award in 1992. In 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in the history, stating that she had reportedly recorded "not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages" between 1948 and 1974. Her record was contested by Mohammed Rafi, who was claimed to have sung around 28,000 songs. After Rafi's death, in its 1984 edition, the Guinness Book of World Records stated Lata Mangeshkar's name for the "Most Recordings", but also stated Rafi's claim. The later editions of Guinness Book stated that Lata Mangeshkar had sung no fewer than 30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987. Although the entry has not been printed in Guinness editions since 1991, several sources claim that she has recorded thousands of songs, with estimates ranging up to figures as large as 50,000. However, even the earliest Guinness claim of 25,000 songs (between 1948–1974) was claimed to be exaggerated by several other sources, with one of them stating that the number of songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar in Hindi films till 1991 was found to be 5250. Mangeshkar herself stated that she does not keep a record of the number of songs recorded by her, and that she did not know from where Guinness Book editors got their information. In 2011 Asha Bhosle was officially acknowledged by Guinness as the most recorded artist in music history, surpassing Mangeshkar.

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