Singer-composer Meena Mangeshkar Khadilkar is known for rendering playback for films such as Arpan (1957), Mother India (1957), Gateway Of India (1957), Patrani (1956), Chandni Chowk (1954). Some of her songs include Hai mausam yeh mastana muskurana dil, Aap ne chheen liya dil, Khushiyon ke zamane aaye, Lo aaye jhoom ke pilpili, and Ae logan o bhaiyya ae behana. She is also credited with composing the music of Kanoon Ka Shikar (1978). She is also known for being the music director of Marathi films such as Mansala Pankh Ustat (1961), Rath Jagannathacha (1984), Chacvatha (1984), and Shabas Sunbai (1986).
Born in Indore on 7 September, 1931 to Shevanti and Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar is the second of the couple’s five children. She is two years younger than Lata and two years older than Asha; the other two siblings are Usha and Hridaynath Mangeshkar. She was taught music by her father, and by listening to him practice, she developed a deep interest for the artform.
It is said that the first song she ever sang was in the film Manjha Bal (1943). She sang for many Marathi films after that, rendering Lavani songs as well. She also contributed some songs to the Punjabi film Kaude Shah (1953).
Her work in Hindi cinema includes songs such as Duniya mein hum aaye hain toh from Mother India, which she rendered with her sisters Lata and Usha, Phagun aaya from Pilpili Saheb (1954), the Farmaish (1953) duet Aapne chheen liya dil with Mohammed Rafi, Hai mausam yeh mastaana muskuraana dil churaana from Aabroo (1956), and Are koi jaao ri piya ko bulao from Patrani (1956). She also composed music for Marathi films, such as the popular Saan saang bholanaath, Ye javali ghe priyasakhaya bhagavanta, Bavarle mi bavarle, and the children’s song Asawa sunder chocolatecha bangle, which was recorded in Bengali and Gujarati as well. The original song was rendered by her children, Yogesh and Rachna.
Meena Khadilkar as she was known, post marriage, also got her elder sister to sing for her. She felt no one could capture the mood of the song quite like Lata could. She admitted that she has never seen anyone else put in the amount of work and preparation that Didi (as Lata Mangeshkar is known) put in. “We used to also sing, but we didn’t work as hard as she did,” she declared. Meena also penned a book on Lata Mangeshkar, titled Mothi Tichi Savali, which chronicles the struggles of Lata Mangeshkar, and the bittersweet memories of the Mangeshkar family. The Hindi version of the book, titled Didi Aur Main was also released, with a foreword penned by Amitabh Bachchan.