She was nominated for Filmfare Best Female Playback Award five times in the period of 1977–1981 & won once for Chitchor in 1977 for her classical rendition of "Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein" which was duet with Dr. K. J. Yesudas, composed by Ravindra Jain. In her career, She worked with vorious renowned music composers, Including S. D. Burman, Madan Mohan, N. Dutta, Salil Chowdhury, Chitragupta, Khayyam, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, Raj Kamal, majority with Usha Khanna and Ravindra Jain.
She has sung with most of the leading male and female playback singers of her times like Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, K. J. Yesudas, Suresh Wadkar, Shailendra Singh, Jaspal Singh, Shabbir Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Chandrani Mukherjee, Alka Yagnik, Anuradha Paudwal, Kavita Krishnamurthy and several others. She became the screen voice of some of the famous Bollywood actresses like Nutan, Shabana Azmi, Rekha, Hema Malini, Rameshwari, Yogita Bali, Ranjeeta, Sarika, Madhuri Dixit.
Hemlata was born on 16 August, in Hyderabad, India. Her maiden name being 'Lata Bhatt'. Her childhood passed in Calcutta. Hemlata has been in the Bollywood Industry since the age of 13 years. Hemlata came from an orthodox Marwari Brahmin family. Her grandfather late Zorawar Bhatt, belonged to a village Sehla of District Churu in Rajasthan. He was the guru and spiritual master of Maharaja of that region. Lately he settled at Calcutta for the purpose of business.
Her father late Pandit Jaichand Bhatt, who became an Internationally acclaimed Singer, Performer, Musician & Teacher in the field of classical & folk music. He learned music against the family tradition. He regarded as a sole representative of illustrious Kirana Gharana of Lahore and himself a disciple of Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan. Among the many well-known disciples of Pt. Jaichand Bhatt were Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee (of Bengal), A. L. Chatterjee (Serampore), Gopal Mallick (Calcutta based music director), Ravindra Jain (most notable music director). Hemlata loved singing since childhood but her father did not get encouraged her as he didnot want to let the Hemlata in the field of music. He was steeped in orthodox culture and was totally against her learning music. Because of her father's opposition she did not expressed her feelling to learn singing. She sang hiddenly in Pooja Pandal but, destiny had it that she would become a singer.
It was around the time Hemlata was 7, Gopal Mallick, disciple of her father, used to be on the organising committees of several big concerts and conferences who recognised her singing talent and gave her an opportunity to perform live before large audience for very big musical concert organised by him at Rabindra Stadium of Calcutta where all time greatest singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Subir Sen, Hemant Kumar, Sandhya Mukherjee, Aarti Mukherjee were to perform. He had espacially invited his Guru Pt. Jaichand Bhatt by persuading him to attend the concert as he wished that Guruji also know the hidden talent of his daughter. Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar all regaled the audience with their numbers. Lata Mangeshkar was to arrive late. Gopal Mallik took the opportunity and introduced little Lata as a 'Baby Lata' on stage. Maestro V. Balsara was conducting the orchestra. They asked her what she was going to sing. "Jago Mohan Pyare", she said. They refused to play it as Lataji herself was going to sing it. However, with hesitation they finally agreed to accompany her. “As she sang the first word Jago in a prolonged aalap the whole audience roared in appreciation. She finished the song but couldn’t leave the stage as the audience demanded 'once more'. And she had to sing the song four times and the appreciation didn’t stop at that—they kept on requesting more songs, she sang 12 other songs including 'Saat Bhaai Champa Jaago Re', in Bengali. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy announced Gold Medal for 'Baby Lata'.
After that her father also agreed and realised that he had no right to choke the talent of Hemlata and decided to bring her to Bombay. In between, before her family left for Bombay that Ravindra Jain, came to Culcutta for higher education in music, who used to regularly visit their home to learn music from his Guru Pt. Jaichand Bhatt, Hemlata was just 12 at that time, after taking lesson, he played his own compositions in Bengali on the harmonium and little Hemlata used to sing them. Hemlata's mother Ambica Bhatt also encouraged her. It was in late 1966, that her family came to Bombay, where they resided at Girgaon in southern Bombay, India. While in Bombay they visited Ustad Alla Rakha khan, under his lots of moral support, her family shifted to residence in Mahim, Bombay. Next, they visited Ustad Rais Khan, from him she learned Ghazal singing. Next, her father brought her to met Producer/Director P. L. Santoshi, with introduction letter from his Jabalpur's friend Barrister V. D. Bhargava. Santoshiji offered to gave her break for one of his forthcoming film.
In a of rank newcomer, Hemlata received invitation from the music director Naushad Ali, who asked her to sing and was very impressed by hearing her voice that she was singing a non-filmic composition then impressed Naushad Ali, had promised Hemlata that he would gave her an opportunity to sing in his films but advised her to wait till her voice matured, then Hemlata signed 5 years contract with Naushad Ali. She began her formal training of playback singing under Naushad Ali. On those days, Hemlata was in news as she was introduced by Naushad Ali, in the world of pyayback singing. For the reason of that, she got several offers from other well known music directors. In consequence of contract limitation she declined them and, waited long for her career's first song but, that moment couldnot happened. Then some of her wellwisher advised her that if she continued contract till the end then, after 5 years when she would cameback to industry nobody help her as she already discourared all and she might not to be get any chance of singing. After this advise, she discontinued the contract and started working with other music directors.
On very first day, she received invitation from music director Roshan through whom she did her first ever concert 'Roshan Night' at the Shanmukhananda Hall, Bombay, India, in 1967. In which her performance was highly appreciated by wide range of audience and all the Bollywood celebrities who were present in the concert including C. Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, Manna Dey, Mohammad Rafi and several others. Since then, she never looked back.
In the same week, she recorded her first ever song 'Tu Khamosh Main Purjosh' under composition of Usha Khanna for movie 'Roop Rupaiya' coincidentally, the director of this movie was P. L. Santoshiji one of the most respected person to whom she met and received the offer of singing when she came to Bombay. On the same day, she also recorded 'Le Chal Mere Jeevan Saathi' under composition of 'Kalyanji-Anandji' for movie 'Vishwas' she sang this song along with her most favourite singer Mukesh. However, her first released song was 'Dus Paise Mein Raam Le Lo ' from the movie 'Ek Phool Ek Bhool (1968)' again it was the composition of Usha Khanna.
At age of 14, she got an opportunity to record one Ghazals 'EP' under the auspice of music director Khayyam. From there-on, she sang many songs including ' "Pagh Mein Ghunghroo Chhanke" composed by S. D. Burman for movie Jyoti (1969), then "Dil Karne Laga Hai Pyar" along with Mohammad Rafi composed by Usha Khanna for movie Nateeja (1969), "Chanda Ko Dhoodhne Sabhi Taare Nikal Pade" along with Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for movie Jeene Ki Raah (1969), "Aaya Re Khilone Wala" along with Mohammad Rafi composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for movie Bachpan (1970), "Aisa Banoonga Actor Main Yaro" composed by Kalyanji-Anandji for movie Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1970), "Soyi Ja Tara" composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for movie Mastana (1970), "Taare Kitne Neel Gagan Pe" along with Mohammad Rafi composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for movie Aap Aaye Bahar Aayee (1971), "Mehboob Ki Mehndi Hathon Mein" along with Lata Mangeshkar composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for movie Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971).
During the late 1970s, she toured India's border posts, entertaining soldiers with Sunil Dutt's & Nargis Dutt's Ajanta Arts Cultural Troupe. In 1970, Polydor, The German-based music company, that entering the market, to compiteting it, HMV issued the first-ever cover versions in Hindi film music history with parallel to the Polydor's original soundtracks of movies The Train, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Sachaa Jhutha, Johny Mera Naam, Ek Nazar, Ek Bar Mooskura Do and Jawani Diwani in voices of Hemlata, Anwar and their ilk.
In early 1970s, Ravindra Jain came to Bombay to try his luck. Before arrival of Ravindra Jain she already sang more or less 100/150 songs. Initially, Ravindra Jain used her voice for his debut movie "Kanch Aur Heera (1972)" then for "Rakh Aur Chingari (1974)", "Geet Gata Chal (1975)", "Salaakhen (1975)" and for "Tapasya (1975)", which not have blazed the charts. However, Hemlata gained recognisation when Ravindra Jain gave her a break for movie Fakira (1976) for song 'Sun Ke Teri Pukar'. Popurality of this song proved to be a turning point in her career. Her career hit the big league while in the same year, Ravindra Jain used her voice for Rajshri Banner's movie 'Chitchor' which fetched her coveted Filmfare Award. There-after, Hemlata had established herself on her unique voice quality that she delivered in various movies of Rajshri Productions in 1980s and 1990s, including Paheli (1977), Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye (1977), Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se (1978), Sunayana (1979), Naiyya (1979), Gopal Krishna (1979), Raadha Aur Seeta (1979), Maan Abhiman (1980), Nadiya Ke Paar (1982), Abodh (1984), Babul (1986).
In association with Ravindra Jain, she had worked on many other songs . Among them is "Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se". According to the Binaca Geet Mala (a radio show that used to compile records of album sales), it was became the number one song in the year 1978. Hemlata was also nominated for Filmfare award for the best female playback singer for this song. It has received millions of views on YouTube. She is the only Indian playback singer who has recorded maximum number of Hindi songs with living legend Dr. K. J. Yesudas.
In 1990s, Doordarshan had invited her to perform 'Tista Nadi Si Tu Chanchala' along with K. J. Yesudas and 'Saath Jo Tera Yun Paya' for herself under the composition of Ravindra Jain which both songs were frequently broadcasted on Doordarshan as a "filler" in between programmes, especially in the evenings. Apart from Ravindra Jain camps, she sang some awesome songs for various music composers includes : "Koi Humein Basale Apne Dilon Jigar Mein", "Hum Unki Aarzoo Mein Kuch Aise Kho Gaye Hain" from Noor-E-Elahi (1976) composed by Babloo Dhiraj, "Wafa Jo Na Ki To Jafa Bhi Na Kije" from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, "Bheega Bheega Mausam Aaya" from Bhayanak (1979) composed by Usha Khanna, "Tu Is Tarah Se Meri Zindagi Mein Saamil Hai" from Aap To Aise Na The (1980) composed by Usha Khanna, "Bhari Barsat Mein Dil Jalaya", "Ab Wafa Ka Naam Na Le Koi" from Oh Bewafa (1980), composed by Vedpal Verma, "Chhodke Sharafat Bandh Liye Ghungroo" from Haqdaar (1981) composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, "Tujhako Furasat Se Vidhaata Ne Racha" from Aarohi (1982) along with Mukesh composed by Anand Sagar Kiran, "Ghungaru Bandhe Jab See Maine", "Man Vinha Ke Swar Jab Gunjhe " from Kaise Kaise Log (1983) composed by Padamshree, "Mere Shareek-E-Safar Ab Tera Khuda Hafiz" for movie 'Wali-E-Azam (1985) along with Talat Mehmood composed by Chitragupt, "Mujhko Raahon Pe Tum Chhodkar" from Besahaara (1986) composed by Usha Khanna, "Shor Hai Gali Gali Mein Jawan Ho Gayi" from Dozakh (1987) composed by Ganesh Sharma, "Main Ho Gayee Deewani" from Kasam Suhaag Ki (1989) composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, "Meri Khushi Ko Loota Nazar Se Ghira Diya" from Rajoo Dada (1992) composed by Usha Khanna.
In collaboration with Ravindra Jain, she has widely sang for most mythological movies and many notable devotional albums such as " Mastakabhishek (1982) ", as well as "Jai Bahubali", "Sahaja Dhara' for Sahaja Yoga Meditation and "Aqeeda" and has also rendered the Ramayan Chaupaiyan, Kabir Doha, Sanskrit Bhaktamar Stotra, Sunder Kand and various devotional songs. In addition to this, She has lent her voice for Ramanand Sagar's epics T.V. Serial Ramayan (She also appeared herself in one episode to perform traditional Meera Bhajan "Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo"), as well as Uttar Ramayan (Luv Kush) and Shri Krishna throughout the series. She also rendered the Italian song O Sole Mio for online freemeditation.
She had also done some original creative and innovative research work in 14 different basic folksongs of India in their original and dialect form. She has also given live concerts all over the world for more than 34 times except China, Portugal. She accompanied many Live Concerts with Legends like Mohammad Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor. Lately, she had been doing a lot of charity shows, in India and abroad. “She had performed along with Ataullah Khan for a charity show in London in aid of Imran Khan’s cancer hospital. This was the first effort from an Indian singer for Pakistan. On a trip to London, Hemlata recorded two albums with Ataullah Khan. The first one titled, "Sarhadein" and the second one, "Atta and Hemlata" which has ghazals and geets. Then, she also recorded one POP album titled "Ishq" which featuring a fusion of Hindi and Punjabi folk. Regarding these three albums, only "Sarhadein" was released by Tips other two albums haven't released yet.
All about the same time, when she happened to sing the song 'Sanwal Sanwal' from Hero Hindustani. Hemlata claimed that Ataullah Khan and she gave this song to Anu Malik. “It is a folk song which had recorded in London and it is a rage there. But here, when the rights were sold to T-Series, the company dubbed her song in someone else's voice. She was the only indian film playback singer who has started a musical academy in a country like America and her Academy is promoting spreading and broadcasting the typical Indian classical and folk music as well as Gurmat Sangeet from Hollywood Los Angeles to the entire world. She was the only one Bollywood singer, who has been selected by the world community of Sikhs and the government of Punjab as well as the Holy Akal Takht to perform Gurmat Sangeet live composed in original Ragas for the celebration of 300 years of Sikh Khalsa Panth at Shri Anandpur Sahib Akal Takht on 13 April 1999 "Kini Tera Ant Na Paya" was the only one album of Sikh Sangeet which was especially in her voice and inaugurated by the honourable Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Prakash Singh Badal and attended and blessed by our honourable Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. In November 2010, she was in news for filing FIR against the mother in law of Sonali Bendre for cheating Hemlata in a case of selling a bungalow in Lokhandwala,for Rs.25 million.
As her father was a renowned Hindustani classical Khayal singer she got an oppirtunity to meet Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Allah Rakha and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. She is related to the accomplished classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj as who is the uncle of her cousins, Jatin Pandit, Lalit Pandit, Sulakshana Pandit and Vijeta Pandit. Hemlata has three brothers Vinod Bhatt, Gopal Bhatt and Rishabh Bhatt. She married with Actor Yogesh Bali who worked as a child artist, his performance was appreciated for award winning movie Jawab Aayega (1968). He died on 25 January 1988. Her mather-in-law Haridarshan Kaur (Biba Bali), actress Geeta Bali's (Shammi Kapoor's wife) elder sister who worked as a Producer in partnership with Guru Dutt. This partnership produced several films like Baaz, Suhag Raat, Raag Rang. Her sister-in-law Yogita Bali who also became a famous Actress. Hemlata only has one son named Aditya Bali, Like other star children whose passion is also acting and ready to face the cameras.