No one alive can compete with Lata Mangeshkar's artistry, Bend it like Beckham director says

'Recording for over seven decades, no one alive can compete with her,' Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha said

A renowned British film director has said "no-one alive" can compete with the artistry of Lata Mangeshkar, one of India's most beloved singers who died aged 92 on Sunday.

Tributes have poured in for Mangeshkar, whose enthralling voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Bollywood films and resonated far beyond her birth place of Indore.

Among those captivated by the sound of the "Nightingale of Bollywood" was Gurinder Chadha, best known as the writer and director of Bend It Like Beckham.

Unscripted - Listen to the latest episode now

She described how the Bollywood playback singer was the soundtrack to her parents life, recalling tales of how her dad used to sneak out to the cinema when he was growing up to watch films in which she sang.

"Lata Mangeshkar is a very big deal," Chadha, who got married to Mangeshkar's songs, told ITV News from her North London home.

"She has an unsurpassed record of recording so many regional Indian languages, recording for over seven decades- and no-one alive can compete with her."

The director has added her own Bollywood twist in some of her previous works, as she did in Bride and Prejudice, her 2004 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic.

Gurinder Chadha arrives at the Women in Film & TV Awards at the London Hilton Park Lane hotel in London. Credit: PA

Describing Mangeshkar as the "doyenne of Indian cinema", the film director said that, although her death was a sad event, her place in history will be preserved as her music will live on through the ages.

Praising the Indian cultural icon's astonishing record of having sang over 2000 films during a seven-decade long career, she said the singer was a "humble" person who "knew her power in the industry".

“I met her just up the road- she was staying in a flat just opposite Lord’s Cricket Ground… she actually sang on a song for one of my movies," said the director, who has made her name re-imagining English classics through a modern lens.

"She has sang songs that have made people happy, made people sad," she said.

"We have laughed along, we have romanticised, we have cried along to her songs."

'She is very much linked to the emotional beating heart of Indians around the world'

Born in Maharashtra on September 28, 1929, Mangeshkar died in hospital having been hospitalised with Covid last month.

Revered as the “Melody Queen”, the cultural icon will be given a state funeral and the country’s flag will fly at half-mast, the public broadcaster Doordarshan said.

Few musicians defined singing versatility like Mangeshkar, who issued her debut song in 1942 for a Bollywood film when she was just 13.

At a time when many Indians are divided along cultural lines, the beloved Bollywood singer was able to unite people across different religions and classes, according to Mihir Bose, a British-Indian author and journalist.

"Lata Mangeshkar is one person who unites India right across all religions, all classes, all economic strata of society," he said.

"So, when you talk of Lata Mangeshkar, you are talking of a person who is India and who therefore brings India together."

'What this represents is India in a moment of strife coming together and venerating one person,' Mr Bose said

"She has presided over a dramatic, an amazing change in how Indian society and Indian life look at Bollywood," the author went on to explain.

When Mangeshkar began to come to prominence in the 1940s, the film industry was still considered as an activity associated with the lower classes, he said.