Happy birthday Lataji! I felt so guilty last year for celebrating your sister’s birthday, and skipping yours. But not again!
1.1. I love you because you started working at age 5, performing with your father.
2. I love you because you left school as a child either because you were teaching the other children to sing and the teacher stopped you, or because you couldn’t bring your beloved little sister Asha to school with you, depending on the source.
3. I love you because you were the oldest of five children and when you were 13 years old, your father died and you had to support all of them.
4. I love you because your initial training was in Maharashtra style folk music from your father, but you switched to classical Hindustani training once you started working in film.
5. I love you because you weren’t an overnight success, working from 13 to 19 in obscurity before finally being noticed.
6. This is that breakthrough song:
7. And your follow up!
8. And then there was the first time your song was part of a hit film.
9. It was also in these early years that you first crossed paths with Raj Kapoor, who was quick to notice and appreciate your talent, starting a collaboration that lasted decades.
10. Right from his first movie!
11. He was able to take advantage of your true teenage sound to give voice to his bright and girlish heroine.
12. Although he also helped you to bring out the sadness in your voice.
13. Raj Kapoor wasn’t the only one to bring out the sorrow in your voice, SD Burman was one of your early collaborators and helped give you great moments like this one.
14. This is also when you began to be noticed not just by directors and music directors, but by fellow singers, with your series of notable duets.
15. The most famous of these duet partnerships being with Kishore Kumar, starting with this song from Ziddi.
16. I love you because your live was filled with incident, despite having no romances.
17. You had a feud with SD Burman that starter not over anything personal, but because you were late for a recording. And which lasted for 5 years.
18. You were poisoned in 1962, almost near death, the mystery was never solved. The supposition is that the poison was given by your cook, who left shortly after, and had worked for other industry people before. Possibly it was a disgruntled employee situation, possibly professional jealousy.
19. In 1963, you entered national immortality with your song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo” (my post on why it was important here)
20. I love you because your feud ended with SD Burman just in time for you to sing for his son RD’s first film, a huge compliment to a music director just starting out.
21. I love you because you gave us one of the great Hindi film anthems in the film with the biggest box office of all time.
22. I love you because you gave a simple beautiful song that you hear once and feel like you have known your entire life.
23. And here is that famous “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon” song.
24. And here is that song from RD’s first movie.
25. Your collaboration with Kishore Kumar continued as well.
26. You were now well into your 30s, but your voice still had the joy of a younger woman along with a slight touch of maturity.
27. Your voice could believably pull a man out into the night to chase you down.
28. And it was in this era that you sang Karan Johar’s favorite song, the painfully beautiful “Lag Jaa Gale”.
29. Although you could do happy too, in another Raj Kapoor film, you gave us a classic children’s song.
30. And of course you were part of THE classic love duet of Indian film.