When Lata Mangeshkar had 20 phone calls with author writing her biography

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Two-day national mourning will be observed on the demise of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, reported news agency PTI citing official sources. (File image)

Lata Mangeshkar, legendary singer and the ‘Nightingale of India’ died in a Mumbai’s hospital this morning at 92. She had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Breach Candy Hospital last month after testing positive for COVID-19.

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A recipient of the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan awards, Lata Mangeshkar was an icon of Indian cinema. Her voiced move many and in 2009 her biography, penned by British author and television documentary producer Nasreen Munni Kabir. “Lata Mangeshkar …in Her Own Voice” was published in 2009 by Niyogi Books.

The book contains details of Lata Mangeshkar’s career and life and also features extensive conversations of the author and the singer from May 2008 to March 2009.

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The conversations between the two took 20 sessions through phone calls. After author arrived in Mumbai in October 2008, and the talks continued until March the next year.

Nasreen Kabir spoke of her experience of writing the book in an interview to The Hindu, “It was not very challenging. Lataji has such a fabulous memory. She is an engaging conversationalist. Very intelligent, she does not suffer inane questions. She is very polite. You have to find newer ways to ask her the same things. You have to think a lot. You cannot approach her with a pre-planned list of questions and you simply cannot manipulate her answers.”

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The book was well received by literary critics.

Business Standard’s Kishore Singh described the book as “the closest you’ll come to probably knowing Lata Mangeshkar”.

Born in a musical family in 1929, Lata Mangeshkar was the oldest of five siblings. After her father, classical musician Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, died in 1942, Lata Mangeshkar began her musical career at the age of 13.

She also composed music for a few Marathi films, winning the Maharashtra government’s award for Best Music Director in 1965 for the film ‘Sadhi Manase’.

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