Nightingales Of India


2013060120190613 (BBC7)
20190614 (BBC7)

Presented by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, this is the remarkable story of two iconic sisters revered by Bollywood fans the world over. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle are two of the finest and most prolific female vocalists in the business. They are playback singers extraordinaire - providing the singing voices of generations of film actresses.

The story of the sisters from a humble background parallels the story of Bollywood and of India itself.
Known as the 'nightingales of India', they have forged careers spanning more than six decades. One or the other of them is rarely out of the record books as the most recorded artist in the world.

The sisters were born into a theatrical family. Lata, the older of the two, who is interviewed in the programme was left, at the age of thirteen, to support the whole family. After much hardship she got her big break and, just as the Hindi film industry was taking off at the end of the thirties, a star was born. Now in her 80s, despite her fame and fortune, she leads a quiet, simple life and remains unmarried. Her younger sister Asha, now in her eighties too, was far from shy and retiring. Teenage elopement, affairs and divorce make her the dangerous half of the duo. She too made it to the top.

Everyone who is anyone in Bollywood has worked with or is familiar with the sisters' work. And the programme includes a rare interview with Lata Mangeshkar herself.

Please note: at one point, the presenter refers to Lata and Asha's audience as being in "south east asia". This should be an audience in "south asia".

Producer: Mohini Patel

The remarkable story of the Mangeshkar sisters - revered by Bollywood fans the world over.