Lata Mangeshkar was born in a Marathi-speaking Gomantak Maratha family, in the princely state of Indore, part of the Central India Agency (now part of Madhya Pradesh). Her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer and theatre actor. Her mother Shevanti (Shudhamati) who was from Thalner, Maharashtra, was Deenanath's second wife. The family's last name used to be Hardikar; Deenanath changed it to Mangeshkar in order to identify his family with his native town, Mangeshi in Goa. Lata was named "Hema" at her birth. Her parents later renamed her Lata after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays, BhaawBandhan. Lata is the eldest child of her parents. Meena, Asha, Usha and Hridaynath are her siblings in sequence.
Mangeshkar took her first lessons from her father. At the age of five, she started to work as an actress in her father's musical plays (Sangeet Natak in Marathi). On the first day in school, she started teaching songs to other children. When the teacher stopped her, she was so angry that she stopped going to the school. Other sources cite that she left school because they would not allow her to bring Asha with her, as she would often bring her younger sister with her.
In 1942, when Mangeshkar was 13, her father died of heart disease. Master Vinayak (Vinayak Damodar Karnataki), the owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company and a close friend of the Mangeshkar family, took care of them. He helped Lata get started in a career as a singer and actress.
Mangeshkar sang the song "Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari", which was composed by Sadashivrao Nevrekar for Vasant Joglekar's Marathi movie Kiti Hasaal (1942), but the song was dropped from the final cut. Vinayak gave her a small role in Navyug Chitrapat's Marathi movie Pahili Mangalaa-gaur (1942), in which she sang "Natali Chaitraachi Navalaai" which was composed by Dada Chandekar. Her first Hindi song was "Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu" for the Marathi film Gajaabhaau (1943).
Mangeshkar moved to Mumbai in 1945 when Master Vinayak's company moved its headquarters there. She started taking lessons in Hindustani classical music from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhendibazaar Gharana. She sang "Paa Lagoon Kar Jori" for Vasant Joglekar's Hindi-language movie Aap Ki Seva Mein (1946), which was composed by Datta Davjekar. The dance in the film was performed by Rohini Bhate who later became a famous classical dancer. Mangeshkar and her sister Asha played minor roles in Vinayak's first Hindi-language movie, Badi Maa (1945). In that movie, Lata also sang a bhajan, "Maata Tere Charnon Mein." She was introduced to music director Vasant Desai during the recording of Vinayak's second Hindi-language movie, Subhadra (1946).
After Vinayak's death in 1948, music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer. He introduced Mangeshkar to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who was working then on the movie Shaheed (1948), but Mukherjee dismissed Mangeshkar's voice as "too thin". An annoyed Haider responded that in coming years producers and directors would "fall at Lata's feet" and "beg her" to sing in their movies. Haider gave Lata her first major break with the song "Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora"—lyrics by Nazim Panipati—in the movie Majboor (1948), which became her first big breakthrough film hit. In an interview on her 84th birthday, in September 2013, Lata herself declared, "Ghulam Haider is truly my Godfather. He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent."
Initially, Mangeshkar is said to have imitated the acclaimed singer Noor Jehan, but later she developed her own style of singing. Lyrics of songs in Hindi movies are primarily composed by Urdu poets and contain a higher proportion of Urdu words, including the dialogue. Actor Dilip Kumar once made a mildly disapproving remark about Mangeshkar's Maharashtrian accent while singing Hindi/Urdu songs; so for a period of time, Lata took lessons in Urdu from an Urdu teacher named Shafi.
One of her first major hits was "Aayega Aanewaala," a song in the movie Mahal (1949), composed by music director Khemchand Prakash and lip-synced on screen by actress Madhubala.
In the 1950s, Mangeshkar sang songs composed by various music directors of the period, including Anil Biswas (in films such as Tarana and Heer), Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad Ali, S. D. Burman, Pandit Amarnath Husan Lal Bhagat Ram (in films like Bari Behan, Meena Bazaar, Afsana, Aadhi Raat, Ansoo, Chhoti Bhabi, Adal-e-Jehangir), C. Ramchandra, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhury, Khayyam, Ravi, Sajjad Hussain, Roshan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Vasant Desai, Sudhir Phadke, Hansraj Behl, Madan Mohan, and Usha Khanna. She made her debut in Tamil playback singing with Vanaradham in 1956 (Uran Khotala dubbed in Tamil) with the Tamil song "Enthan Kannalan" picturised on Nimmi in the dubbed version composed by Naushad.
Mangeshkar sang many raga-based songs for Naushad in movies such as Deedar (1951), Baiju Bawra (1952), Amar (1954), Uran Khatola (1955) and Mother India (1957). Ae Chorre Ki Jaat Badi Bewafa, a duet with G. M. Durrani, was her first song for composer, Naushad. The duo, Shankar-Jaikishan, chose Mangeshkar for Barsaat (1949), Aah (1953), Shree 420 (1955) and Chori Chori (1956). Before 1957, composer S. D. Burman chose Mangeshkar as the leading female singer for his musical scores in Sazaa (1951), House No. 44 (1955), and Devdas (1955). However a rift developed between Lata and Burman in 1957, and Lata did not sing Burman's compositions again until 1962.
Mangeshkar won a Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for Salil Chowdhury's composition "Aaja Re Pardesi" from Madhumati (1958). In the early fifties, Lata Mangeshkar's association with C. Ramchandra produced songs in movies such as Albela (1951), Shin Shinkai Bublaa Boo (1952), Anarkali (1953), Pehli Jhhalak (1954), Azad (1955), Asha (1957) and Amardeep (1958). For Madan Mohan, she performed for films like Baagi (1953), Railway Platform (1955), Pocketmar (1956), Mr. Lambu (1956), Dekh Kabira Roya (1957), Adalat (1958), Jailor (1958), Mohar (1959) and Chacha Zindabad (1959).
Mangeshkar's song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from Mughal-e-Azam (1960), composed by Naushad and pantomimed by Madhubala, still remains famous. The Hawaiian-themed number "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh", from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), was composed by Shankar Jaikishan and pantomimed by Meena Kumari.
In 1961, Mangeshkar recorded two popular bhajans, "Allah Tero Naam" and "Prabhu Tero Naam", for Burman's assistant, Jaidev. In 1962, she was awarded her second Filmfare Award for the song "Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil" from Bees Saal Baad, composed by Hemant Kumar.
In early 1962, Mangeshkar was given slow poison. A doctor was called. He came with an x-ray machine to examine her, and gave her an injection to render her unconscious, because she was in pain. For three days, she had a close brush with death. After ten days, she began to recover. The doctor told her that somebody had given her slow poison. The slow poison incident rendered her very weak. She was bedridden for nearly 3 months. The most surprising thing was that soon after the incident, the cook who used to work at Lataji's home, suddenly vanished without taking his wages. The cook had earlier worked with some Bollywood people. Bollywood lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri used to regularly visit Lataji at her home daily at 6 pm. Majrooh used to first taste the food and then allow Lata to eat. He used to recite poems and stories to keep Lata in good humour.
On 27 January 1963, against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian War, Mangeshkar sang the patriotic song "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo" (literally, "Oh, People of My Country") in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, then the Prime Minister of India. The song, composed by C. Ramchandra and written by Kavi Pradeep, is said to have brought the Prime Minister to tears.
In 1963, Mangeshkar returned to collaboration with S. D. Burman. She also sang for R. D. Burman's very first film Chhote Nawaab and later for his films such as Bhoot Bangla (1965), Pati Patni (1966), Baharon ke Sapne (1967) and Abhilasha (1969). She also recorded several popular songs for S. D. Burman, including "Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai", "Gata Rahe Mera Dil" (duet with Kishore Kumar) and "Piya Tose" from Guide (1965), and "Hothon Pe Aisi Baat" from Jewel Thief (1967).
During the 1960s, Lata Mangeshkar continued her association with Madan Mohan, which included the songs "Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha" from Anpadh (1962), "Lag Ja Gale" and "Naina Barse Rim Jhim" from Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), "Woh Chup Rahen To" from Jahan Ara (1964), "Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega" from Mera Saaya (1966) and "Teri Aankho Ke Siva" from Chirag (1969), and she had a continuing association with the maestros Shankar Jaikishan, who got her to sing in various genres in the '60s.
The 1960s also witnessed the beginning of Mangeshkar's association with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the music directors for whom she sang the most popular songs in her career. Starting in 1963, Laxmikant-Pyarelal's association with Lata Mangeshkar grew stronger over the years. Lata Mangeshkar sang over 700 songs for the composer duo over a period of 35 long years, most of which became huge hits. She sang for Parasmani (1963), Mr. X in Bombay (1964), Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966), Milan (1967), Anita (1967), Shagird (1968), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Intaquam (1969), Do Raaste (1969) and Jeene Ki Raah, for which she got her third Filmfare Award.
She also sang several playback songs for Marathi films, composed by Marathi music directors including Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Vasant Prabhu, Srinivas Khale, Sudhir Phadke and herself (under the name Anandghan). During the 1960s and 1970s, she also sang several Bengali songs, composed by music directors like Salil Chowdhury and Hemant Kumar. She also made her Kannada debut in 1967 for the film Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna by recording two songs for the music director Lakshman Berlekar. The song "Bellane Belagayithu" was well received and appreciated.
In this period Lata Mangeshkar has recorded duets with Mukesh, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Mohammed Rafi, and Kishore Kumar. For a brief period during the 1960s, she was not on good terms with Mohammed Rafi over the issue of royalty payments to singers. Mangeshkar wanted Rafi to back her in demanding a half-share from the five percent song royalty that the film's producer conceded to select composers. But Rafi took a diametrically opposite view, and believed that a playback singer's claim on the filmmaker ended with the payment of the agreed fee for the song. This led to tensions between the two. After an argument during the recording of the song Tasveer Teri Dil Mein (Maya, 1961), the two refused to sing with each other. The music director Jaikishan later negotiated a reconciliation between the two.
In 1972, Meena Kumari's last film, Pakeezah, was released. It featured popular songs including "Chalte Chalte" and "Inhi Logon Ne", sung by Lata Mangeshkar, and composed by Ghulam Mohammed. She recorded many popular songs for S. D. Burman's last films, including "Rangeela Re" from Prem Pujari (1970), "Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan" from Sharmeelee (1971), and "Piya Bina" from Abhimaan (1973). She recorded many popular songs for Madan Mohan's last films, including Dastak (1970), Heer Raanjha (1970), Dil Ki Rahen (1973), Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), Hanste Zakhm (1973), Mausam (1975) and Laila Majnu (1976).
Lata Mangeshkar's most notable songs in the 1970s were composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal (Laxmi-Pyare) and Rahul Dev Burman. She recorded several songs composed by Laxmi-Pyare in the 1960s and 1970s, many of them written by the lyricist Anand Bakshi. She also recorded many hit songs with Rahul Dev Burman in the films Amar Prem (1972), Caravan (1971), Kati Patang (1971), and Aandhi (1975). The two are noted for their songs with the lyricists Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi and Gulzar.
In 1973, she won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Beeti Na Bitai" from the film Parichay, composed by R. D. Burman, and written by Gulzar. In 1974, she sang her only Malayalam song "Kadali Chenkadali" for the film Nellu, composed by Salil Chowdhury, and written by Vayalar Ramavarma. In 1975, she again won the national award, this time for the song "Roothe Roothe Piya" from the film Kora Kagaz, composed by Kalyanji Anandji.
From the 1970s onwards, Lata Mangeshkar has also staged many concerts in India and abroad, including several charity concerts. Her first concert overseas was at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 1974 and was the first Indian to do so. She also released an album of Mirabai's bhajans, "Chala Vaahi Des", composed by her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar. Some of the bhajans in the album include "Saanware Rang Raachi" and "Ud Jaa Re Kaaga". In the early 1970s, she released other non-film albums, such as her collection of Ghalib ghazals, an album of Marathi folk songs (koli-geete), an album of Ganesh aartis (all composed by her brother Hridaynath) and an album of "abhangs" of Sant Tukaram composed by Shrinivas Khale.
In the 1978 Raj Kapoor directed Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Lata Mangeshkar lends her voice to the main theme song "Satyam Shivam Sundaram", which was among the chart-toppers of the year. The story of being inspired by Lata Mangeshkar is revealed by Raj Kapoor's daughter Ritu Nanda in her latest book.
I visualised the story of a man falling for a woman with an ordinary countenance but a golden voice and wanted to cast Lata Mangeshkar in the role. The book quotes Raj Kapoor as saying.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she worked with the children of composers she had earlier worked with. Some of these composers included Rahul Dev Burman (son of Sachin Dev Burman), Rajesh Roshan (son of Roshan), Anu Malik (son of Sardar Malik), and Anand-Milind (sons of Chitragupt). She also sang many songs in the Assamese language and had a very good relationship with Dadasaheb Phalke award winner singing legend, the Late Bhupen Hazarika. She sang many songs under his guidance, and in Rudaali the song "Dil hoom hoom kare" made the highest record sales that year.
From the 1980s onwards, Lata Mangeshkar worked with music directors including Shiv-Hari in Silsila (1981), Faasle (1985), Vijay (1988) and Chandni (1989); and with Ram Laxman in Ustadi Ustad Se (1981), Bezubaan (1982), Woh Jo Hasina (1983), Ye Kesa Farz (1985) and Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), which was a musical hit. She sang for various big projects including Ek duuje ke liye, Silsila, Karz, Prem Rog, Pyar Jhukta Nahi, Ram teri ganga maili, Hero, Nagina, Chandni and Ram Lakhan. Her song "Zu Zu Zu" from Sanjog was a chartbuster in 1985. In 1988, Mangeshkar made a comeback to Tamil films with two back-to-back renditions "Aaraaro Aaraaro" and "Valai Osai" for composer Ilayaraja's compositions for the films Aanand and Sathya respectively.
Laxmikant Pyarelal were the kings when it came to churning out hits. In the 1980s, they had Lata croon their biggest hits – "Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho" in Asha (1980), "Tu Kitne Baras Ka" in Karz (1980), "Kitna Aasan Hai" in Dostana (1980), "Hum Ko Bhi Gham" in Aas Paas (1980), "Mere Naseeb Mein" in Naseeb (1980), "Zindagi Ki Na Toote" in Kranti (1981), "Solah Baras Ki" in Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), "Ye Galiyan Ye Chaubara" in Prem Rog (1982), "Likhnewale Ne Likh Dale" in Arpan (1983), which was once extremely popular on Chitrahar on DD, "Din Maheene Saal" in Avtaar (1983), which revived Rajesh Khanna's career after an endless series of flops, "Pyar Karnewale" and "Nindiya Se Jagi" in Hero (1983), "Zu Zu Zu" in Sanjog (1985), "Zindagi Har Qadam" in Meri Jung (1985), "Baith Mere Paas" in Yaadon Ki Kasam (1985), "Ungli Mein Anghoti" in Ram Avtar (1988) and "O Ramji Tere Lakhan Ne" in Ram Lakhan (1989).
Rahul Dev Burman continued to use Lata for melodious compositions. Some of the best Rahul Dev Burman compositions for Lata in these years include "Aaja Sar-e-Bazaar" in Alibaba Aur Chalis Chor (1980), "Bindiya Tarase" in Phir Wohi Raat (1981), "Thodi Si Zameen" in Sitara (1981), "Kya Yahi Pyar Hai" in Rocky (1981), "Dekho Maine Dekha" in Love Story (1981), "Tune O Rangeele" in Kudrat (1981), "Jaane Kaise Kab" in Shakti (1982), "Jab Hum Jawan Honge" in Betaab (1983), which became instantly popular, "Humein Aur Jeene" in Agar Tum Na Hote (1983), "Tujhse Naraaz Nahin" in Masoom (1983), "Kahin Na Ja" and "Jeevan Ke Din" in Bade Dil Wala (1983), "Jaane Kya Baat" in Sunny (1984), "Bhuri Bhuri Aankhon" in Arjun (1985), "Sagar Kinare" in Sagar (1985), "Din Pyar Ke Aayenge" in Savere Wali Gaadi (1986). "Kya Bhala Hai Kya", "Khamosh Sa Afsana" and "Seeli Hawa Chhoo" in Libas (1988). Rajesh Roshan's collaboration with Dev Anand in Lootmaar and Man Pasand resulted in songs such as "Paas Ho Tum Magar Qareeb" and "Sumansudha Rajni Chandha" respectively. Lata had duets with Rafi such as "Mujhe Chhoo Rahi Hain" in Swayamwar (1980), "Kabhi Kabhi Bezubaan" in Johnny I Love You (1982), "Tujh Sang Preet" in Kaamchor (1982), "Angrezi Mein Khete Hai" in Khud-Daar (1982), "Ankhiyo Hi Ankhiyo Mein" in Nishaan (1983), "Dushman Na Kare" in Aakhir Kyun? (1985) and "Wada Na Tod" in Dil Tujhko Diya (1987), later featured in the soundtrack of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Bappi Lahiri was yet to launch a full-fledged assault on the ears of the listeners with his bizarre compositions for Jitendra-Sridevi-Jaya Prada films from the south and the disco-influenced songs, and composed some really good songs for Lata such as "Dooriyan Sab Mita Do" in Saboot (1980), "Baithe Baithe Aaj Aayi" in Patita (1980), "Jaane Kyun Mujhe" in Agreement (1980), "Thoda Resham Lagta Hai" in Jyoti (1981), "Dard Ki Ragini" in Pyaas (1982), and "Naino Mein Sapna" (duet with Kishore Kumar) in Himmatwala (1983).
Khayyam also continues work with Lata Mangeshkar during the 80s and gave some big hits such as "Hazaar Rahein Mud" (duet with Kishore Kumar) in Thodisi Bewafai (1980), "Simti Huyi" from Chambal Ki Kasam (1980), "Na Jane Kya Hua" in Dard (1981), Nakhuda (1981) some above average Lata-Nitin Mukesh duets such as "Tumhari Palkon Ki", "Chandni Raat Mein" in "Dil-e-Nadaan (1982), "Dikhayi Diye" in Bazaar (1982), "Chaand Ke Paas" in Aye Dil-e-Nadaan (1982), "Bhar Lein Tumhe" and "Aaja Nindiya Aaja" from Lorie (1984) and "Kiran Kiran Mein Shokhiyan" in Ek Naya Rishta (1988).
In June 1985, the United Way of Greater Toronto invited Lata Mangeshkar to perform at Maple Leaf Gardens. She filled 12,000 seats, raising $150,000 for the charity. On the request of Anne murray Lata sings her song You Needed Me in the concert.
During the 80s, Lata gave some big hits such as "Sun Sahiba Sun" in Ram Teri Ganga Meli Hogayi(1985), (for Ravindra Jain), "Chand Apna Safar" in Shama (1981), "Shayad Meri Shaadi" and "Zindagi Pyar Ka" in Souten (1983), "Hum Bhool Gaye Re" in Souten Ki Beti (1989) for Usha Khanna, which was probably the biggest hit of her career. Hridaynath Mangeshkar had "Kale Kale Gehre Saye" in Chakra (1981), "Ye Ankhen Dekh Kar", which had a slight Khaiyyam touch and "Kuchh Log Mohabbat Ko" in Dhanwan (1981), "Mujhe Tum Yaad Karna" in Mashaal (1984), "Jaane Do Mujhe" in Shahenshah (1989) for Amar-Utpal, "Sajan Mera Us Paar" in Ganga Jamuna Saraswati (1988) and "Mere Pyar Ki Umar" in Waaris (1989) for Uttam Jagdish.
During the 1990s, she recorded with music directors including Anand-Milind, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin Lalit, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Uttam Singh, Anu Malik, Aadesh Shrivastava and A. R. Rahman. She recorded some non-film songs, including ghazals with Jagjit Singh. She has also sung with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Udit Narayan, Hariharan, Kumar Sanu, Suresh Wadkar, Mohammed Aziz, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Roop Kumar Rathod, Vinod Rathod, Gurdas Maan and Sonu Nigam.
In 1990, Mangeshkar launched her own production house for Hindi movies which produced the Gulzar-directed movie Lekin.... She won her third National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her rendition of the song "Yaara Sili Sili" from the film, which was composed by her brother Hridaynath.
Mangeshkar has sung for almost all the Yash Chopra films and films from his production house Yash Raj Films at that time, including Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Darr (1993), Yeh Dillagi (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and later on Mohabbatein (2000), Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (2002) and Veer-Zaara (2004).
During 1990, Mangeshkar records with Ram Laxman in Patthar Ke Phool (1991), 100 Days (1991), Mehboob Mere Mehboob (1992), Saatwan Aasman (1992), I Love You (1992 film) (1992), Dil Ki Baazi (1993), Antim Nyay (1993), The Melody of Love (1993), The Law (1994), Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Megha (1996), Lav Kush (1997), Manchala (1999), and Dulhan Banoo Main Teri (1999).
A. R. Rahman recorded a few songs with Mangeshkar during this period, including "Jiya Jale" in (Dil Se..), "Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagin" in (One 2 Ka 4), "Ek Tu Hi Bharosa" in (Pukar), "Pyaara Sa Gaon" in (Zubeidaa), "So Gaye Hain" in (Zubeidaa), "Lukka chuppi" in (Rang De Basanti), "O Paalanhaare" in (Lagaan) and Laadli in (Raunaq: Conversation of Music and Poetry)). She made an appearance in the film Pukar singing this song.
In 1994, Lata Mangeshkar released Shraddanjali-My Tribute To The Immortals. The special feature of the album is that Lata offer her tributes to immortal singers of the time by rendering a few of their songs in her own voice. There are songs of K.L. Saigal, Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Punkaj Mallick, Kishore Kumar, Geeta dutt, Zohrabai, Amirbai, Parul Ghosh and Kanan Devi.
Mangeshkar sang both Rahul Dev Burman's first and last songs. In 1994, she sang the last song; "Kuch Na Kaho" for Rahul Dev Burman in 1942: A Love Story.
In 1999, Lata Eau de Parfum, a perfume brand named after her, was launched.
In 1999, Mangeshkar was nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha. However, she did not attend the Rajya Sabha sessions regularly, inviting criticism from several members of the House, including the Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah, Pranab Mukherjee and Shabana Azmi. She stated the reason for her absence as ill-health; it was also reported that she had not taken a salary, allowance or a house in Delhi for being a Member of Parliament.
In 2001, Lata Mangeshkar was awarded Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. In the same year, she established the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune, managed by the Lata Mangeshkar Medical Foundation (founded by the Mangeshkar family in October 1989). In 2005, she designed a jewellery collection called Swaranjali, which was crafted by Adora, an Indian diamond export company. Five pieces from the collection raised £105,000 at a Christie's auction, and a part of the money was donated for the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief. Also in 2001, she recorded her first Hindi song with the composer Ilaiyaraaja, for the film Lajja; she had earlier recorded Tamil and Telugu songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja.
Lata Mangeshkar's song "Wada Na Tod" is in the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and on the film's soundtrack.
On 21 June 2007, she released the album Saadgi, featuring eight ghazal-like songs written by Javed Akhtar and composed by Mayuresh Pai. On 12 April 2011, she released another album Sarhadein: Music Beyond Boundaries. The album has a rare duet; "Tera Milna Bara Acha Lage" by Lata Mangeshkar and Mehdi Hasan (written by Pakistan's Farhat Shahzad). The album features Usha Mangeshkar, Suresh Wadkar, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam, Rekha Bhardwaj and another Pakistani singer, Ghulam Ali.
After 14 years, Lata Mangeshkar recorded a song for composer Nadeem-Shravan; "Kese Piya Sai Mein Kaho" for Bewafaa (2005). After "Kitne Ajeeb Rishte Hain Yahan Par" for Page 3 (2005) and "Daata Sun Le" for Jail (2009), Shamir Tandon once again recorded a song with Lata Mangeshkar; "Tere Hasne Sai Mujheko" for the film Satrangee Parachute (2011). After a hiatus, Lata Mangeshkar is back in playback singing and recorded a song "Jeena kya hai, jaana maine" for the sequel of Kapil Sharma's queer love story Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyun at her own studio.
On 28 November 2012, Lata Mangeshkar launched her own music label, LM Music, with an album of bhajans, Swami Samarth Maha Mantra, composed by Mayuresh Pai. She sang with younger sister Usha on the album. In 2014, she recorded Shurodhwani (Bengali songs, including poetry by Salil Chowdhury), also composed by Pai.
From the 1940s to the 1970s, Mangeshkar sang duets with Asha Bhosle, Suraiya, Usha Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, and Mahendra Kapoor. In 1964, she sang "Chanda Re Hoga" with P.B. Sreenivas from Main Bhi Ladki Hoon.
Mukesh died in 1976. The 1980s saw the deaths of Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Mangeshkar's last duets with Kishore Kumar were during the 1980s; she continued to sing with Shabbir Kumar, Shailendra Singh, Nitin Mukesh (Mukesh's son), Manhar Udhas, Amit Kumar (Kishore Kumar's son), Mohammed Aziz, Vinod Rathod, and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam.
In the 1990s, Mangeshkar began singing duets with Pankaj Udhas, Mohammed Aziz, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, and Suresh Wadkar. Her most notable work of the 90s was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with songs such as "Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye", "Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyaar Sajna", "Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Janam Sanam", and "Mehdni Laga Ke Rakhna".
In the 2000s, Mangeshkar's duets were mainly with Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam. 2005-06 were the years of her last well-known songs: "Kaise Piya Se" from Bewafa and "Shayad Yehi To Pyaar Hai" from Lucky: No Time For Love, with Adnan Sami and " Lukka Chhupi" in Rang De Basanti (2006 film) with A.R.Rahman. She sang "Ek Tu Hi Bharosa" from Pukar. Other notable songs of this decade were from Veer-Zaara, sung with Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Jagjit Singh, Roop Kumar Rathod, and Gurdas Mann. One of her latest songs was "Jeena Hai Kya" from Dunno Y2 (2014).
Lata Mangeshkar composed music for the first time in 1955 for the Marathi movie Ram Ram Pavhane. Later in the 1960s, she composed music for following Marathi movies under the pseudonym of Anand Ghan.1960 - Ram Ram Pavhana1963 - Maratha Tituka Melvava1963 - Mohityanchi Manjula1965 - Sadhi Manase1969 - Tambadi Mati
She won Maharashtra State Government's Best Music Director Award for the film Sadhi Manase. The song "Airanichya Deva Tula" from the same film received best song award.
Lata Mangeshkar has produced four films:1953 - Vaadal (Marathi)1953 - Jhaanjhar (Hindi), co-produced with C. Ramchandra1955 - Kanchan (Hindi)1990 - Lekin... (Hindi)
Lata Mangeshkar has won several awards and honours, including Bharat Ratna (India's Highest Civilian Award), Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1989), Maharashtra Bhushan Award (1997), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001), ANR National Award (2009), three National Film Awards and 12 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. She has also won four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards. In 1969, she made the unusual gesture of giving up the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award, in order to promote fresh talent. She was later awarded Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
In 1984, the State Government of Madhya Pradesh instituted the Lata Mangeshkar Award in honour of Lata Mangeshkar. The State Government of Maharashtra also instituted a Lata Mangeshkar Award in 1992.
In 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in the history, stating that she had reportedly recorded "not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages" between 1948 and 1974. Her record was contested by Mohammad Rafi, who was claimed to have sung around 28,000 songs. After Rafi's death, in its 1984 edition, the Guinness Book of World Records stated Lata Mangeshkar's name for the "Most Recordings", but also stated Rafi's claim. The later editions of Guinness Book stated that Lata Mangeshkar had sung no fewer than 30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987.
The entry was discontinued by Guinness editions in 1991 without explanation, while several sources continued to claim that she recorded thousands of songs, with estimates ranging up to figures as large as 50,000. However, even the earliest Guinness claim of 25,000 songs (between 1948–1974) was disputed and claimed to have been exaggerated by several others, stating that the number of songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar in Hindi films till 1991 was found to be 5025. Mangeshkar herself has stated that she does not keep a record of the number of songs recorded by her, and that she did not know from where Guinness Book editors got their information. In 2011, the entry was revived by Guinness crediting the record to her sister Asha Bhosle as the most recorded artist in music history, "for recording up to 11,000 solo, duet and chorus-backed songs and in over 20 Indian languages since 1947".