Internationally well known Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar has been conferred France’s highest civilian award, the Insignia of ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’ (Officer of the Legion of Honour) and will be bestowed on the 80-year-old singer at an official ceremony in Mumbai hosted by Jerome Bonnafont, Ambassador of France to India, on December 2.
Bestowing the Insignia of ‘Officer of the Legion of Honour’ on Lata Mangeshkar, is a recognition of her incomparable singing career, and to a personality who has stayed at the top range in her field for over 60 years, according to Jerome Bonnafont.
Lata’s first Hindi song was ‘Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu’ for the Marathi film, “Gajaabhaau” in 1943. In the 1950s, Lata sang songs composed by various acclaimed music directors of the period, including Anil Biswas, Shankar-Jaikishan, Naushad, S. D. Burman, C. Ramchandra, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhury, Khayyam, Ravi, Sajjad Hussain, Roshan, Kalyanji-Anandji,Vasant Desai, Sudhir Phadke, Hansraj Behl, Madan Mohan, and Usha Khanna.
In 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Lata Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in the history, stating that she had recorded “not less than 25,000 solo, duet and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages between 1948 and 1974.
Lata Mangeshkar has won several awards and honors, including Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001), three National Film Awards, and 12 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards. She has also won four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards.
France had earlier conferred the ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’ on Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray and actor Amitabh Bachchan,
The ‘Legion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) is the highest distinction that is conferred by the French Republic on a French citizen as well as on a foreigner.