The much talented youngest Mangeshkar sister was born in July 1935. Like her older sisters Lata and Asha, she too was gifted with a melodious voice. She was rather young when her father, Dinanath Mangeshkar passed away and older sister Lata had to take on the reins of the family. One of her first songs was “Bhabhi Aayee” (“Subah Ka Tara”, 1954), which was picturised on a child artiste.
Such was the popularity of the song that young Usha Mangeshkar was made to sing for child artistes all the more. This, coupled with the fact that her voice could not be used for every actress, made her sing only a few songs every year, unlike her busier siblings. In fact, she was known to be more interested in painting and spending time with their mother at that time.
Another rather famous song she sung was “Aplam Chaplam Chaplai Re” (“Azaad”, 1955), which was sung along with sister Lata Mangeshkar. In fact, that is the other thing she is famous for - duets with her famous sister. Some famous duets sung by the sisters were “Hai Nazar Ka Ishara” (“Anita”, 1967) and “Chhuk Chhuk” (“Rafoo Chakkar”, 1975). On the other hand, her solos “Mungda” (“Inkaar”, 1978) and “Saare Niyam Tod Do” (“Khoobsurat”, 1980) also earned her accolades. All this while, Usha Mangeshkar established herself as a playback singer in Marathi Cinema and became about as famous as her older sister did in Hindi cinema.
Her greatest success, however, remains the 1975 shoestring-budget-wonder “Jai Santoshi Ma”, which also earned her a nomination for the Best Female Playback Singer category at the Filmfare Awards for 1975. The songs, penned and composed by Kavi Pradeep, also earned Usha Mangeshkar the Kavi Pradeep Shikhar Sammaan in 1998 after his death.