Politicians and cultural and sporting icons – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar – joined thousands of mourners at the state funeral of singer Lata Mangeshkar in Mumbai.
The funeral was held at the city’s iconic Shivaji Park, which has been given the temporary status of a cremation ground by the municipality.
The central government has declared two days of state mourning when the national flag will be flown at half mast. The Maharashtra government has announced a public holiday on Monday.
Earlier, around 1,000 people gathered outside Mangeshkar’s residence Prabhu Kunj, and a salutation was given as the funeral procession left her home for Shivaji Park.
Mangeshkar, 92, died at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital on Sunday after suffering multiple organ failure.
On January 8, she had tested COVID positive with mild symptoms and was admitted to Breach Candy’s intensive care unit. The singer was taken off the ventilator after her condition improved, but her health deteriorated on Saturday.
“She is no more. She died in the morning,” her sister Usha Mangeshkar told the media.
Paid my last respects to Lata Didi in Mumbai. pic.twitter.com/3oKNLaMySB
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 6, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan attended the funeral to pay their last respects.
‘Queen of Melody’
Mangeshkar, also known as the Melody Queen of India, had been lauded with numerous awards and honours, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, as well as the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
She began her training when she was five and started her career at the age of 13 in 1942 and had over 30,000 songs to her credit in several Indian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Kannada. In a career spanning seven decades, she worked with generations of music composers – from Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad Ali, SD Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Kalyanji-Anandji and Madan Mohan to Laxmikant-Pyarelal, RD Burman, Shiv-Hari, Nadeem Shravan, Anu Malik and AR Rahman.
Lata-ji’s demise is heart-breaking for me, as it is for millions the world over. In her vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions. A Bharat Ratna, Lata-ji’s accomplishments will remain incomparable. pic.twitter.com/rUNQq1RnAp
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) February 6, 2022
Mangeshkar sang various memorable tracks such as Ajeeb Dastan Hai Ye, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, Neela Asman So Gaya, and Tere Liye, among others.
Her last recording was in 2019 for Mayuresh Pai’s composition Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki, a tribute to the Indian Army. The last film she sang for was 2004’s Veer-Zaara.
Nation Pays Tributes
Tributes poured in on social media platforms when the news of Mangeshkar’s death broke.
“Anguished beyond words, Lata Mangeshkar leaves behind a void in nation that can’t be filled. Coming generations will remember Lata Mangeshkar as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose voice had unparalleled ability to mesmerise people,” Modi tweeted.
President Ram Nath Kovind said her death was heartbreaking to him as well as to millions of her fans.
“The divine voice has gone quiet forever but her melodies will remain immortal, echoing in eternity,” he said.
“Lata-jis demise is heart-breaking for me, as it is for millions the world over. In her vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions. A Bharat Ratna, Lata-jis accomplishments will remain incomparable,” the President tweeted. “An artist born but once in centuries, Lata-didi was an exceptional human being, full of warmth, as I found whenever I met her. The divine voice has gone quiet forever but her melodies will remain immortal, echoing in eternity. My condolences to her family and admirers everywhere,” he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said: “Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans. My condolences to her family, friends and fans,” he tweeted.
AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also took to Twitter, saying Mangeshkar’s death was an irreparable loss to the Indian art world. “Received the sad news of the passing away of Ms Lata Mangeshkar ji, the melody queen who had decorated the notes in the garden of Indian music,” she said. “Her demise has caused an irreparable loss to the Indian art world. May God grant Lata ji a place at His feet and give courage to the family members to bear the pain in this hour of grief,” she added. Vadra also tweeted a photo of former prime minister and her grandmother Indira Gandhi with a young Mangeshkar.
Celebrities including singers, actors, sportsperson and politicians came together to pay tributes.
“Love, respect and prayers,” tweeted acclaimed music composed AR Rehman, sharing a photo of him with the singer.
“Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai, Gar Yaad Rahe… and how can one forget such a voice! Deeply saddened by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji, my sincere condolences and prayers. Om Shanti,” tweeted actor Akshay Kumar.
Well-known playback singer Shreya Ghoshal called Mangeshkar’s death a “devastating” experience.
“Feeling numb. Devastated. Yesterday was Saraswati Puja & today Ma took her blessed one with her. Somehow it feels that even the birds, trees & wind are silent today. Swar Kokila Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar ji your divine voice will echo till eternity. Rest in peace. Om Shanti,” she tweeted.
Others too who offered condolences were Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, and his Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal counterparts K. Chandrasekar Rao, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, and Mamata Banerjee; actors Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Shilpa Shetty, Mahesh Babu, Madhavan and Mohanlal; and Geeta Phogat, Shikar Dhawan, Virender Sehwag and PT Usha from the sports fraternity.