| The placid face. The Mona Lisa-esque half smile. The metronomic motion of jaws working chewing gum -- which she imports by the cartonload to keep her throat supple. The crisp white cotton sari.
And above all else, The Voice.
It was in 1945 that that voice first crept up on us, catching us unawares with its dulcet notes. Then, she was a slender teenager, leaving her first tentative footprints on a Bollywood music scene dominated by the legendary Shamshad Begum. More than half a century later, that voice, beguiling in its seductivity, still reigns supreme despite the best efforts of two generations of wannabes to supplant India's reigning nightingale from her throne. Way back when, she lent her voice to the lyrics of Bollywood's pop poets. Today, those same poets and their successors in verse try -- and, as they confess, fail -- to capture in words the enduring magic that is Lata Mangeshkar.
In that decades-long reign, her voice has inspired patriot and lover alike. It has fanned the gentle zephyrs of a first love, fanned the fires of passionate romance, throbbed with the pain of heartbreak, celebrated the seasons, and, in time, come to epitomise the very emotions it has celebrated. Now, the dulcet-voiced diva turns 70. And Rediff makes a song and dance of it -- with text and pictures, with audio and video. Join us in the celebration. In applauding a voice that has spanned the generations.