She won the hearts of film fans for her work in Mughal-e-Azam, a romantic tragedy released in 1960.
The film’s song Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya? (Why fear if you are in love?) is renowned as one of the defining songs of Bollywood films.
Lata also made a difference for fellow performers, as she fought for giving playback singers their rightful place in cinema.
The star refused to back down on royalty rights, despite the fact her decision meant she couldn’t work with some of the best music directors for long periods.
She also avoided performing in film award ceremonies until a separate category was created for playback singers.