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Mangeshkar, who gave voice to thousands of songs for Bollywood movies, died at the age of 92 in Mumbai.

India’s legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who defined music for generations of Indians, was given a state funeral amid an outpouring of tribute.

Mangeshkar, who gave voice to thousands of songs for Bollywood movies, died at the age of 92 in the financial center of Mumbai.

For most of India’s three-quarters of a century, her voice resounded on television sets, on crackling airwaves, and in movie theaters, earning her the name “The Nightingale.”

‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath next to Mangeshkar’s body, wrapped in the Indian flag, while thousands including Bollywood stars and politicians crowded Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, where she was cremated amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and’ a special rifle salute.

India’s public broadcaster, Doordarshan, transmitted live scenes of the cremation to a grieving nation while Mangeshkar’s songs played in the background.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to the late Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar during her funeral at Shivaji Park in MumbaIndia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to the late Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar during her funeral at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, India, February 6, 2022 [Niharika Kulkarni/Reuters]

“I am terrified of words,” Modi wrote on Twitter. “She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled.”

The government will observe state mourning with the flag half-staff until Monday, the interior ministry said.

Mangeshkar died of “multi-organ failure after more than 28 days of hospitalization after COVID-19”, says Pratit Samdani, who treated her in Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital, according to Reuters TV partner ANI.

Other Bollywood personalities and politicians also paid tribute.

“The voice of a million centuries has left us,” said veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Maharashtra, Mangeshkar’s home state, declared a public holiday on Monday. India’s central bank has rescheduled its monetary policy committee meeting by a day to February 8-10 due to the holiday.

Former cricket captain and legend Sachin Tendulkar, who was at the funeral, said he was “lucky” to be a part of Mangeshkar’s life.

“She always overwhelmed me with her love and blessings. With her passing, a part of me also feels lost. “She will always live in our hearts through her music,” he tweeted.

Glorious career

Mangeshkar, born in 1929 in pre-independence India, began singing in her teens and in a career of 73 years sang more than an estimated 15,000 songs in 36 languages.

She enchanted music-loving Indians with her sleek voice and sheer scope, and sang everything from patriotic songs to romantic numbers, both in movies and albums.

Classically trained, Mangeshkar shaped her voice according to the demands of singing for Bollywood movies, and even uttered songs in her 60s for an actress in her 20s.

Latest rites of the late Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar The last rituals of the late Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar performed on February 6, 2022 during a state funeral ceremony in Mumbai [Sujit Jaswal/AFP]

The only songs she refused to sing were cabaret numbers and songs that had disgusting or noisy lyrics and said it did not fit her personal values.

Mangeshkar nevertheless dominated the Hindi film industry for almost five decades until the 2000s, along with her younger sister Asha Bhosle.

Mangeshkar, known for her gentle nature and wearing a saree, her hair in two schoolgirl-like braids, received India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001. In 2009, she was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion of Honor.

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