Politics

India declares two days of mourning after Bollywood singer’s death


India has declared two days of national mourning after the death of singer Lata Mangeshkar, one of its most revered cultural figures, at the age of 92.

Mangeshkar, who recorded tens of thousands of songs and was the leading vocalist in Bollywood in a career that began in the 1940s, died in Mumbai on Sunday after being admitted to hospital last month with Covid-19. She had been placed on a ventilator as her condition deteriorated and suffered from multiple organ failure, according to local media.

The soprano was known as the “nightingale” of India for her distinctive, piercing voice, and was among the world’s most prolific singers.

Mangeshkar’s death prompted an outpouring of tributes and grief in India, with large crowds gathering outside the Mumbai hospital where she died and politicians and celebrities, including retired cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, travelling to her home to pay their respects.

Prime minister Narendra Modi was due to travel to Mumbai for her state funeral on Sunday, according to ANI, the Indian news agency.

“I am anguished beyond words,” Mr Modi wrote on Twitter. “She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people.”

Black armbands

The Indian cricket team, who were playing the West Indies in Ahmedabad on Sunday, were to wear black armbands for the match.

Mangeshkar was born in 1929 in the central city of Indore to a musical family and was trained in classical Indian singing. She moved to Mumbai in 1945 before making her debut as a playback artist in Bollywood, singing songs but rarely appearing on screen.

In Indian cinema, where the songs that accompany a film are often as important as the story itself, many of her tunes would go on to become more memorable than the movies in which they appeared.

Together with her younger sister Asha Bhosle, a star in her own right, she dominated Bollywood music in a career that lasted nearly as long as the history of independent India.

Among her most popular hits were Chalte Chalte and Pyaar kiya toh darna kya.

Mangeshkar received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest honour, in 2001 and France’s Legion of Honour in 2009. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022



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