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Asha Bhosle

Background information
Birth name Asha Mangeshkar
Born September 8, 1933 (1933-09-08) (age 76)
Sangli, Bombay Presidency, British India
Genres Pop, folk, Indian classical music
Occupations Singer, playback singer
Years active 1943 – present

Asha Bhosle[1] (Marathi: आशा भोसले) (born September 8, 1933) is an Indian singer. She is best known as a Bollywood playback singer, although she has a much wider repertoire. Her career started in 1943 and has spanned over six decades. She has done playback singing for over 1000 Bollywood movies[2] and sold many records.[3] She is the sister of playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Bhosle is considered one of the most versatile South Asian singers — her range of songs includes film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian Classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, Rabindra Sangeets and Nazrul Geetis. She has sung in over 14 languages including Assamese, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, English, Russian, Czech, Nepali, Malay and Malayalam.

Bhosle is believed to have sung over 12,000 songs. Though her sister, Lata Mangeshkar was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records during 1974-1991, for having sung the most songs in the world, reputed sources have introduced concerns to its veracity, claiming that the Guinness counts were exaggerated and Bhosle had recorded more songs than Mangeshkar. Bhosle herself pointed out that she had made the most recordings by any singer - 12,000.[4]

Contents

Biography

Asha Bhosle was born in the small hamlet of Goar in Sangli, Maharashtra, into the musical Marathi family of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. Her father was a theater actor and classical singer who had been born in the village of Mangeshi in Goa. When she was nine years old, her father died. The family moved from Pune to Kolhapur and then to Bombay. She and her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar began singing and acting in films to support their family. She sang her first film song Chala Chala Nav Bala for the Marathi movie Majha Bal (1943). The music for the film was composed by Datta Dawjekar. She made her Hindi film debut when she sang the song Saawan aaya for Hansraj Behl's Chunariya (1948).[5] Her first solo Hindi film song was for the movie Raat Ki Raani (1949).[6]

At the age of 16, she eloped with 31-year old Ganpatrao Bhosle, marrying him against her family's wishes. Ganpatrao was sister Lata's personal secretary. The marriage failed miserably. Her husband and in-laws mistreated her. After a few years of marriage, Bhosle was turned out (around 1960) by a suspicious Ganpatrao[7] and she went to her maternal home with two children and pregnant with her third child, Anand. She continued to sing in films to earn money.

At that time, prominent playback singers like Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar (her sister) monopolized the singing for the "heroine" roles and the big films, whilst Asha Bhosle used to get the assignments they did not take: singing for the bad girls and vamps, or songs in the second-grade movies. In the 1950s, she sang more songs than any other playback singer in Bollywood, yet most of these were in low budget B or C-grade films. Her earliest songs were composed by A R Qureshi(Alla Rakha Khan), Sajjad Hussain and Ghulam Mohammed, most of which failed to do well.[5] Singing in Dilip Kumar-starrer Sangdil (1952), composed by Sajjad Hussain, she got reasonable recognition. Consequently, film director Bimal Roy gave her a chance to sing in Parineeta (1953). Raj Kapoor signed her to sing the song Nanhe Munne Bachche with Mohammed Rafi in Boot Polish (1954), which gained popularity.

O. P. Nayyar gave Asha Bhosle a big break in C.I.D. (1956). She first achieved success in B. R. Chopra's Naya Daur (1957), composed by him. His collaboration with Bhosle produced many hits. Later, she established herself and received patronage of composers such as Sachin Dev Burman and Ravi. Bhosle and Nayyar had a professional and personal parting of ways in the 1970s.

In 1966, Asha's performance in the duets from music director R D Burman's first successful movie, Teesri Manzil won popular acclaim. Their collaboration produced numerous hits in the 1970s and resulted in a marriage. In 1960s and 1970s, she became the voice of Bollywood's most famous dancer, Helen. It is said that Helen would attend her recording sessions so that she could understand the song better and plan dance steps accordingly.[8] Some of the most popular Asha Bhosle-Helen numbers are Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Caravan), O Haseena Zulfon Wali (Teesri Manzil), and Yeh Mera Dil (Don).

In Umrao Jaan (1981) and Ijaazat (1987), she sang traditional ghazals and proved her versatility, winning the coveted National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer.

Her film activities continued into the 1990s. Her performance in the 1995 hit Rangeela was particularly notable. As late as 2005, 72-year-old Asha Bhosle's numbers for the Tamil film Chandramukhi and the pop song Lucky Lips for Salman Khan-starrer Lucky were chartbusters. Some of the other popular Tamil songs sung by Bhosle are Oh! Butterfly, September Maadham and Vennila Vennila.

In October 2004, The Very Best of Asha Bhosle, The Queen of Bollywood, a compilation album of songs recorded by Bhosle for albums and Bollywood films that were released during 1966-2003, was released.

Career milestones

Seen more closely, Asha Bhosle's singing career can be considered having four milestones — Naya Daur (1957), Teesri Manzil (1966), Umrao Jaan (1981) and Rangeela (1995).

Naya Daur, 1957

Asha Bhosle's first big success was B R Chopra's Naya Daur ("The New Age", 1957). Her duets with Rafi like Maang ke saath tumhara, Saathi haath badhana and Uden jab jab zulfein teri, penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by O. P. Nayyar, gave her recognition. Asha and O P Nayyar had worked earlier as well. But it was the first time that she had got to sing all the songs for the lead actress. B R Chopra, the producer of Naya Daur recognized her talent and got her to sing in many of his later films including Waqt and Gumraah, Humraaz, Aadmi Aur Insaan, Dhund etc.

Teesri Manzil, 1966

Asha Bhosle became a pop crooner with Rahul Dev Burman's Teesri Manzil (1966). When she first listened to the tune of the song Aaja Aaja, she felt that she would not be able to sing the Western dance number. R D Burman offered to change the music. She was offended a bit and took it as a challenge to sing the song. After rehearsing for 10 days, when she finally sang the song, an impressed R D Burman handed her a 100-rupee note. Aaja Aaja and other songs of the film, O Haseena Zulfonwali and O Mere Sona Re (all three duets with Rafi, another popular Bollywood singer), became rage of the day. Shammi Kapoor, the actor of the movie, once said – "If I did not have Mohammad Rafi to sing for me, I would have got Asha Bhosle to do the job".

Umrao Jaan, 1981

By 1980s, Asha Bhosle had been stereotyped as a "cabaret singer" and a "pop crooner". In Rekha-starrer Umrao Jaan, she sang ghazals like Dil cheez kya hai, In aankhon ki masti ke, Ye kya jagah hai doston and Justju jiski thi. The songs proved her capable of doing fairly serious songs. The music director Khayyam, had lowered her pitch by half a note. Asha herself was surprised that she could sing so differently. The ghazals won her the first National Award of her career and proved her versatility.

Rangeela, 1995

In 1995, a 62-year old Asha Bhosle did playback for young actress Urmila Matondkar in the movie Rangeela. She pleasantly surprised her fans with superhit songs like Tanha Tanha and Rangeela Re. The songs were composed by iconoclastic music director A. R. Rahman, who went on to record many more songs with her. Particularly notable was Asha Bhosle's first song with A R Rahman, Tanha Tanha, an oomph-oozing number.

Partnership with music directors

O.P. Nayyar

Music director O. P. Nayyar's association with Asha Bhosle is part of Bollywood lore. He was the composer who first gave Asha her own distinct identity. Many people have speculated about a romantic relationship between the two.

Nayyar first met Asha in 1952, at the music recording of Chham Chhama Chham.[9] He first called her for a film called Mangu (1954)). He gave her a big break in CID (1956). However, it was the success of Naya Daur (1957), that made the duo very popular. After 1959, she was emotionally and professionally involved with Nayyar.

The team of O.P. Nayyar and Asha Bhosle is best remembered for their breezy and sometimes sirenish songs. Some good examples of their sensuous numbers are Aaiye meherbaan picturised on Madhubala (Howrah Bridge, 1958) and Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera picturised on Mumtaz (Mere Sanam, 1965). They recorded songs for many hit movies like Naya Daur (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Howrah Bridge (1958), Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), etc. Some of their most popular songs include Aao huzur tumko (Kismat), Jaaiye aap kahan (Mere Sanam) etc. O.P. Nayyar used the Asha Bhosle-Mohammad Rafi duo for his most popular duets. some of these songs include Ude jab jab zulfein teri (Naya Daur). Main pyaar ka rahi hoon (Ek Musafir Ek Haseena), Deewana Hua Baadal, Ishaaron hi isharon mein (Kashmir Ki Kali) etc.

Asha recorded her last song for O.P. Nayyar in the movie Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974). The solo number Chain se got many awards, but it was not included in the movie.

They split on August 5, 1972. It is not clear what made them part their ways. On being asked the reason for their parting, O P Nayyar once said, "I know astrology very well. I knew that one day I had to part with her. Something also happened, that upset me, so I left her."[9] Nevertheless, he also said "...now that I am seventy-six, I can say that the most important person in my life was Asha Bhosle. She was the best person I ever met."

The parting of Asha Bhosle and O.P. Nayyar was bitter, and probably therefore she has hesitated to give Nayyar his due. While talking about O.P. Nayyar in an interview with The Times of India, she once remarked - "Whichever composer gave me work, it was because my voice was suited to his music at that point. No one musician did me any favor by asking me to sing for him."[10] She gives the credit for her first big break to B. R. Chopra, the producer of Naya Daur.

Khayyam

Another music director who recognized Bhosle's talent early was Khayyam. His partnership with Asha Bhosle dates back to his first movie Biwi (1948). Khayyam gave her some good assignments in the 1950s, including Dard and Phir Subah Hogi. But the team is chiefly remembered for the songs of Umrao Jaan.

Ravi

Music composer Ravi considered Asha as one of his favorite singers. She sang for his first movie Vachan (1955). The melodious lullaby from the movie, Chandamama door ke became an overnight hit among young mothers in India. Ravi got her to sing bhajans for the movies Gharana, Grihasti, Kajal and Phool Aur Patthar, at a time when most of the composers remembered her only when they needed to record B-grade songs picturized on the vamps or the side-heroines. Ravi and Asha Bhosle recorded a variety of songs, including the popular funny duet with Kishore Kumar - C A T...Cat maane billi (Dilli Ka Thug). The bhajan Tora man darpan (Kajal) is considered one of Asha Bhosle's best songs.

They also recorded songs for many popular movies like Waqt, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Gumrah, Bahu Beti, China Town, Aadmi Aur Insaan, Dhund, Humraaz, and Kajal with her. For Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Ravi wanted Geeta Dutt (the wife of producer Guru Dutt) to sing the songs. But when she backed out, Guru Dutt insisted that Asha Bhosle sing the songs.[5]

Sachin Dev Burman

One of Bollywood's most famous composers, Sachin Dev Burman and his favorite singer, Lata Mangeshkar, were not on good terms from 1957 to 1962..[11 ] During this period, S D Burman used Asha Bhosle as his lead female voice. She and S D Burman gave many hit songs in movies such as Kaala Pani, Kaala Bazaar, Insaan Jaag Utha, Lajwanti, Sujata and Teen Deviyaan (1965). They recorded many songs together after 1962 as well. Most famous of these songs were Asha Bhosle's duets with Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. The song Ab ke baras in Bimal Roy's Bandini (1963) consolidated her position as a lead singer. The seductive song Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief (1967), picturised on Tanuja, became very popular.

Rahul Dev Burman (Pancham)

Asha first met Rahul Dev Burman (a.k.a. "Pancham") when she was a mother of two and he was in 10th grade having dropped out to pursue music. Their partnership was first noticed in Teesri Manzil (1966). She went on to record a variety of songs with him - cabarets, rock, disco, ghazals, Indian classical music and many more.

In the 1970s, Asha Bhosle and Pancham's youthful, Western songs took Bollywood music by storm - the raunchy cabaret Piya tu ab to aaja (Caravan, 1971, picturized on Helen), the rebellious Dum Maro Dum ( Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1971), the sexy Duniya mein (Apna Desh, 1972), the romantic Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne (Yaadon Ki Baaraat, 1973). Pancham also recorded many hit duets with Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar - Jaane jaan, dhoondhta phir raha (Jawani Diwani), Bhali bhali si ek soorat (Buddha Mil Gaya) etc.

In 1980s, Pancham and Asha Bhosle recorded subtle numbers for films like Ijaazat (1987)- Mera kuch saaman, Khaali haath shaam aayi hai, Katra Katra. They also recorded the popular duet O Maria (Sagar). Mera Kuchch saamaan, the R.D. Burman composition for Gulzar's Ijaazat won her the National Award for Best Singer.

Asha Bhosle used to call R D Burman "Bubs". She married him in 1980. Their partnership lasted until his death.

RD Burman made her sing some of the most legendary songs in Bengali language as well, namely Mohuyae Jomechhe Aaj mou go,Chokhe Chokhe kotha bolo Chokhhe naame brishti(Bengali version of Jaane Kya Baat hai), Baanshi sune ki ghore thaka jaye,Sondhya Belae tumi aami,Aaj Gungun gun gunje amar (Bengali version of Pyaar Deewana hota hai),etc.

Ilaiyaraaja

The prolific south Indian film composer Ilaiyaraaja began employing Asha Bhosle's vocals in the early 1980s, their earliest collaboration being for the film Moondram Pirai (1982) (or Sadma, its Hindi remake in 1983). Their association continued, mostly through the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of their notable songs from this period include Shenbagamae (Enga Ooru Paattukkaaran, 1987, Tamil). In 2000, Asha sung Ilaiyaraaja's theme song for Kamal Haasan's political film Hey Ram. The song, Janmon Ki Jwala (or Aparna's Theme), was a duet with ghazal singer Hariharan.

A. R. Rahman

A. R. Rahman is given the credit for Asha Bhosle's "comeback" with Rangeela (1994). Songs like Tanha Tanha and Rangeela Re were chartbusters. She and Rahman went on to record more hits like Mujhe Rang De (Thakshak), Radha Kaise Na Jale (Lagaan, duet with Udit Narayan), Kahin Aag Lage (Taal), O Bhanware (Daud, duet with K. J. Yesudas), Venilla Venilla (Iruvar,1999). Rahman once said, "I think of them (Lata and Asha) only when I feel I have composed something that fits their stature".[5]

Jaidev

When S D Burman's assistant Jaidev started giving music independently, he got Asha to sing some of his songs as well. They worked in Hum Dono (1961), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Do Boond Pani (1971) and other movies. In 1971, the pair released an LP of eight non-film devotional songs and ghazals called An Unforgettable Treat. Asha considered Jaidev a close friend who stood by her when she was struggling personally and professionally. Upon his death in 1987, she released a compilation album of lesser-known songs he had composed for her, called Suranjali.

Shankar Jaikishan

Shankar Jaikishan worked relatively little with Asha. However, the team produced quite a few hits including the seductive Parde mein rehne do (Shikar, 1968). Asha got her second Filmfare Award for the song. Asha also sang the song Zindagi ek safar hai suhaana (Andaz) for Shankar Jaikishan, in which she tried to yodel like Kishore Kumar, whose version of the song is more better known. When Raj Kapoor was not on speaking terms with Lata Mangeshkar, Asha got to sing the songs of Mera Naam Joker (1970), composed by Shankar-Jaikishan.

Anu Malik

Composer Anu Malik and Asha have recorded many hit songs together, including songs for his first movie Sohni Mahiwal (1984). Their most popular songs include Filhaal (Filhaal), Kitabein bahut si (Baazigar) among others. The four lines sung by Asha in Anu Malik's Jab dil mile (Yaadein) stood out among voices of Sukhwinder Singh, Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan. Asha had also sung for Anu Malik's father Sardar Malik in the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in Saranga (1960).

Other Composers

Madan Mohan recorded a number of songs with Asha, including the popular folk number Jhumka Gira Re from Mera Saaya (1966). In Chhoti Si Baat (1975), Asha sang the Jaaneman Jaaneman number with K. J. Yesudas for Salil Chowdhury. Salil's 1956 movie Jagte Raho also had a number recorded by Asha, Thandi Thandi Saawan ki Phuhaar. Another Asha patron is the young composer Sandeep Chowta, who got her to sing Kambakht Ishq (A duet with Sonu Nigam) (Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, 2001). The song gained major popularity among the Indian youth.

Asha has worked with Lata-patrons like Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad, Ravindra Jain, N Dutta, Hemant Kumar. Once when Naushad was asked to sum up the essential difference between Lata and Asha, he said that Asha "lacks certain something which Lata, and Lata alone has". Later he accepted in an interview, "May be I said it because I then had a closed ear on Asha".[12] Naushad, later in his life, also admitted that he has been unfair to Asha Bhonsle. Asha has also worked with other noted Bollywood composers like Jatin Lalit, Bappi Lahiri, Kalyanji Anandji, Usha Khanna, Chitragupt, and Roshan.

Non-Bollywood music

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Marathi music

Along with her sister Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle is regarded as an icon of Marathi music (Marathi is their mother tongue). She has sung several non-film songs of the genre commonly referred to as Bhaav Geet, which consist mostly of poems written by notable poets. A good example is the popular album Rutu Hirawa ("Green Season"), composed by Shreedhar Phadke.

Asha's renditions of her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar's compositions have been very popular with Marathi music lovers. As in Hindi; her Marathi songs also represent her wide range, from westernized tunes like Ruperi Walut ("meet me on the silver sands in the coconut groves") to complex classical compositions such as Tarun aahe Ratra Ajuni ("The night is still young"). Marathi bhajans sung by her are also very popular among Maharashtrians. A good example is her rendition of saint-poet Dnyaneshwar's Kanadawo Vithallu. Her rendition of Marathi natya sangeet composed by her father Deenanath Mangeshkar are still popular.

Asha is endearingly referred to as Ashatai (tai is Marathi for elder sister) by Maharashrians. She performs in very popular Marathi concerts like Nakshtranche Dene (translation: Gift from the stars), Aapli Asha Bhosle (translation: Yours, Asha Bhosle).

Private albums

In a rare feat, noted lyricist, Gulzar, music director, R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle, came together in 1987, to create a double album, titled, Dil Padosi Hai, which was released on September 8, 1987, Asha Bhosle's birthday [13]. In 1995, Asha underwent the gatha bandan (thread-tying) ceremony with Hindustani classical music maestro Ali Akbar Khan to learn a classical repertoire held within the Maihar gharana (stylistic school of Indian classical music), as handed down to Khan by his father Allauddin Khan (the guru of Ravi Shankar). Later, Asha and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan recorded eleven fixed compositions (or bandishes) in California for Legacy, a private album that won them a Grammy Award nomination.

In 1990s, Asha experimented with the remixed R D Burman songs. She was criticized by many, including Khayyam for tampering with old melodies. Nevertheless, albums like Rahul And I became quite popular. In 1997, Asha did a private Indipop album Janam Samjha Karo with Leslie Lewis. The album was hugely popular and won her many awards including the 1997 MTV Award.

Asha had been once asked by the director B R Ishaara to compose music for one of his films, but she had politely declined. In 2002, she turned music composer with the album Aap Ki Asha, an eight-song music and video album. The lyrics were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri (his last lyrics) and the music was composed by Asha herself. The album was released by Sachin Tendulkar on May 21, 2001 at a lavish party in Mumbai. The album received mixed reviews.

Asha had spotted Pakistani singer Adnan Sami's talent when he was about 10 years old. At that time was performing in London, with R D Burman. It was she who had asked him to pursue his interests in music seriously. When Adnan grew up and became a professional musician, Asha sang the title duet with him for his best-selling album Kabhi to nazar milao. The two came together again in the album Barse Badal. The album comprises eight songs, based on Indian Classical music. She contributed the song Yun Na Thi to the recording Womad Talking Book Volume Four: An Introduction to Asia 1 on Womad Records.

Asha has sung ghazals for many albums like Meraj-E-Ghazal, Aabshar-E-Ghazal and Kashish. In 2005, Asha released a self-title album (Asha), a tribute to the four ghazal maestros - Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Farida Khanum and Jagjit Singh. The album features eight of her favorite ghazals like Farida Khanum’s Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo, Ghulam Ali’s Chupke Chupke, Aawargi and Dil Mein Ek Lahar, Jagjit Singh’s Ahista Ahista and Mehdi Hassan’s Ranjish Hi Sahi, Rafta Rafta and Mujhe Tum Nazar Se. These classic ghazals were recreated with modern sounds by the musician Pandit Somesh Mathur. The album was aimed at the younger generation, who, according to Asha, are "turned off" by the traditional sounds of tabla and sarangi.

Numerous compilations of Asha's songs have been released as well. To commemorate her 60th birthday, in 1993 EMI India released three cassettes: Bala Main Bairagan Hoongi (devotional songs), The Golden Collection: Memorable Ghazals (non-film ghazals by composers such as Ghulam Ali, R D Burman and Nazar Hussain), and The Golden Collection: The Ever Versatile Asha Bhosle (44 popular film songs).

In 2006, she recorded an album Asha and Friends, singing duets, with film actors Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar and famous cricket player Brett Lee, with whom she sang, You're the One for Me (Haan Main Tumhara Hoon). All these songs composed by Shamir Tandon were shot on video by journalist turned director S Ramachandran.

Concerts and collaborations with foreign artists

In 1980s and 1990s, Asha went globe-trotting, staging concerts in Canada, Dubai, UK, U.S. and many other countries. In 1989, during a world tour, she performed in 13 US cities in 20 days. Immediately after this, she had an already sold-out concert scheduled in Stockholm, Sweden. Due to the stressful schedule, Asha suffered a massive attack of colitis, together with fever, cough and weakness. In Stockholm, a pre-concert crisis meeting was called, attended by Asha's son (and manager) Anand and the sponsors. It was decided that the orchestra will play many instrumental tracks, the accompanying singers like Suresh Wadkar will shoulder the load, and Asha will make a small appearance. But Asha rejected all such proposals, and sang at the concert with great difficulty, in a not-so-good voice. Her first set of six Bollywood songs did not receive any response from the audience, which consisted mostly of Indian and Pakistani expats. Before the start of the second set of songs, a fan in the crowd requested her to sing a Marathi song. Asha obliged and sang Naach-naachuni ati mi damale ("I'm very tired of this endless dancing"). When the song ended, the auditorium erupted with claps and the encores started. After the concert, Asha was in bed for a month, recuperating from overexertion. In October 2002, she did a concert with Sudesh Bhosle and others, in London, for "Help the Aged" to help raise funds for older people in India. In 2007 she toured the USA, Canada, and West Indies in a tour called "The Incredibles". In this tour, she was accompanied by singers Sonu Nigam, Kunal Ganjawala and Kailash Kher. This tour went on to hold more than 20 concerts and was originally scheduled for only 12.

In the mid-1980s, Asha sang with Boy George (Bow down mister) and Stephen Lauscombe. In 1997, she sang a love song with the boy band Code Red, at the age of 64. She also recorded the song The Way you Dream (One Giant Leap, [1]) with Michael Stipe that was used in the English movie, Bulletproof Monk.

In 1997, the British band Cornershop paid tribute to Asha with their song Brimful of Asha, an international hit which was later remixed by Fatboy Slim. In 2001, the CD single of Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like A Bird" included a "Nellie vs. Asha Remix" created by Digital Cutup Lounge.

In 2002, she appeared along with Michael Stipe on the track "The Way You Dream" on the self-titled album by 1 Giant Leap.

In 2003, British opera pop singer Sarah Brightman sampled her song "Dil Cheez Kya Hai" on her album Harem. It was used as the intro for her song "You Take My Breath Away".

In 2005, American string quartet Kronos Quartet re-recorded the R D Burman compositions like Chura Liya, Piya Tu, Mera Kuchh Saaman among others and got Asha to sing them. Despite her age (she had crossed 70), she recorded three to four songs in a day, leaving the quartet members stupefied. On August 23, 2005, You've stolen my heart - Songs From R D Burman's Bollywood was released in US. The album was nominated for Grammy Awards 2006 in the category of "Best Contemporary World Music Album". Earlier, in 1990s, a friend had introduced David Harrington of Kronos Quartet to the song Aaj ki raat. Harrington was mesmerised, and the song ended up on the album Kronos Caravan.

Also in 2005, the Black Eyed Peas sampled her songs "Ae Naujawan Sab Kuchh Yahan" (Apradh, 1972) and "Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Diwana" (Don, 1978) in their hit single "Don't Phunk with My Heart". In late 2006, Asha collaborated with Australian test cricket star, Brett Lee. The single, You're the One for Me debuted at number 4 on the charts and reached a peak position of number 2.

In 2006 Asha Bhosle recorded one song for the soundtrack of Pakistani movie Mein Ek Din Laut Kay Aaaonga. She sang the song Dil Key Taar Bajey with famous Pakistani pop singer Jawad Ahmed. The song was aired as the part of the film's promotional campaign and became very popular, featuring on top music charts.

Personal life

Asha's house is situated in Prabhukunj Apt on Peddar Road area of South Mumbai. She has three children and five grandchildren. The eldest of her three children is Hemant Bhosle (named after Hemant Kumar), spent most of his early years as a pilot and quit to have a brief career as a music director. Asha's daughter Varsha, who is younger than Hemant, worked as a columnist for The Sunday Observer and Rediff. The youngest child is Anand Bhosle, who has studied business and film direction. He manages Asha's career. Her grandson, Chaitanya (Chintu) Bhosle (Hemant's son) also ventured in the world of music, as a member of a successful boy band, "Band of Boys". Her granddaughter, Anneka Bhosle (Hemant's daughter) is on her way of becoming a successful Photographer. Her sisters Lata and Usha Mangeshkar are playback singers. The other two siblings, sister Meena Mangeshkar and brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar are music directors.

Asha is an excellent cook and cooking is her favorite hobby. She often gets flooded with requests by Bollywood celebrities for kadai ghosht and biryani and has rarely turned down a request. In fact, her paya curry, Goan fish curry and dal are very popular with the Kapoor family of Bollywood. Once, when asked in a Times of India interview, what if her singing career had not taken off, she said "I would have become a cook. I'd have cooked in four houses and made money."

Asha is a successful restaurateur and runs restaurants in Dubai and Kuwait, called Asha's. Asha's offers traditional north-western Indian cuisine. It has a presence in the Wafi City development in Dubai, as well as two restaurants in Kuwait, at The Avenues Mall and the Marina Mall. Asha Bhosle has a 20% stake in the business. Asha is not involved in day-to-day running of the restaurant which is looked after by the Wafi Group. She takes care of the kitchen and the décor. She personally trained the chefs for almost six months. According to a December 2004 report in the Menu Magazine,[14] Russell Scott, a former head of Harry Ramsden's (the fish and chips chain), secured the UK rights to the Asha's brand and planned to open up to 40 restaurants over the next five years. As part of her chain of restaurants, Asha's, Ashatai has recently opened a new restaurant in Birmingham, UK.

Asha's fashion statement is white sarees with sparkling embroidery, pearls around her neck and diamonds. Harrington of Kronos Quartet said "The first time I met Ashaji she was dressed in the most beautiful sari with diamonds and looked very regal. Then I looked down and saw that she was wearing tennis shoes! I thought I love this woman."

Asha is a good mimicry artist as well. At a concert at World Trade Center in Dubai on April 22, 2004, she mimicked the song Kabhi To Nazar Milaao in the voices of Noor Jehan, Lata Mangeshkar and Ghulam Ali.

Nowadays, apart from singing and her restaurant, Asha is also working on her autobiography.

Rivalry with Lata Mangeshkar

Asha's sibling rivalry with her sister Lata Mangeshkar is often talked about, in spite of their insistence that these are just tales.[10] As young children, they were very close. As a child, Lata used to carry Asha all the time. They were so inseparable that when Lata went to school she would take Asha with her, but one day the teacher protested and said that they cannot have two students on one fee. Lata refused to return to school without Asha and quit her studies.[15]

Lata considered Asha's act of eloping with her lover as irresponsible, leaving her alone to sing and earn for the family. This led to tensions among them. Asha herself accepted in an interview[15] — "It was a love marriage and Lata didi (elder sister) did not speak to me for a long time. She disapproved of the alliance." At one time, their relationship was very adversarial and there have been periods of non-communication.

In her initial days in the industry, Asha always played second fiddle to her elder sister. Some say that Lata had once said something criticising Asha's relationship with O. P. Nayyar. This widened the rift between the two sisters and O P Nayyar also decided that he would never work with Lata. O.P. Nayyar had once revealed — "Asha and Lata staying in opposite flats at Bombay's Peddar Road, shared a common maidservant. Now this maidservant had merely to come and tell the younger sister that Lata had just recorded something wonderful for Asha to lose her vocal poise. Such was her Lata phobia that it took me some months to convince Asha that she had a voice individualistic enough to evolve a singing style all of her own."[12] Asha once said that she has worked for years to create a voice and a style that was different from Lata, so that she could carve her own niche and not be banished to live her shadow.[15]

Asha and Lata have sung many songs together. Their first duet was for the film Daman (1951).[12] Some of these include Man Bhawan Ke Ghar aye (Chori Chori, 1956), Sakhi ri sun bole papihaa us paar (Miss Mary, 1957), O chaand jahaan woh jaaye (Sharada, 1957), Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahi (Mere Mehboob, 1963), Ai kash kisi deewane ko (Aaye Din Bahar Ke, 1966), Main Chali Main Chali (Padosan, 1968), Chhap tilak sab (Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki, 1978), and Man kyun behka (Utsav, 1984). While singing, Lata used to hold her notebook in her right hand, while Asha held her notebook in her left hand. This meant Lata had her face away from Asha, making it difficult for them to "anticipate" each other.[15]

The movie Saaz, was supposedly based on Lata and Asha's rivalry.[16] Asha said about the movie — "To have two women in long plaits, take a couple of incidents and exaggerate them into a 3-hour film is such a waste of time."[15] In last few years, Asha and Lata have often been seen in public, enjoying each other's company. In an interview with The Times of India, Asha once said - "I remember, sometimes both of us would be at a function and some industry types would ignore me and interact only with her, as if to prove their loyalty. Later, didi (elder sister) and I would have a good laugh!"

The famous Bollywood lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar once said – "Asha was like Neil Armstrong's companion in the space rocket that touched the moon. After Lataji touched down on the moon, Ashaji could only be the second one to get there."

Awards

Filmfare awards

Asha Bhosle has won seven Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards out of 18 nominations.[17] She won her first two awards in 1967 and 1968, when Lata Mangeshkar still used to accept the award (Mangeshkar asked not to be considered for the award nominations after 1969 to promote new talent). After receiving the award in 1979, Bhosle emulated her elder sister and requested that her name not be considered for the nominations hereafter. Despite this, Bhosle is the most frequent winner of this award to date, tying with Alka Yagnik. She was later given a Special Award for Rangeela in 1996, and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Following is the list of her Filmfare Awards:

Filmfare Best Female Playback Award:

Other Awards:

National Film Awards

Asha has won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer twice:

Other awards

Asha has won numerous other awards, some of which include:

Honours and recognitions

Asha Bhosle received Padma Vibhushan from President Pratibha Patil on Monday May 5, 2008.

Footnotes and references

  1. ^ Asha Bhosle has been credited variously as Asha, Asha Bhosle, Asha Bhonsale, Asha Bhonsle, Asha Bhonsley, Asha Bhosale and Asha Bhosley (See her IMDB entry for details). She is often referred to as Ashaji — the Hindi suffix ji denotes respect.
  2. ^ "IMDB entry". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0080427/. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  3. ^ Asha has been singing since the 1950s. Until now, however, record sales in India were never subjected to the sort of meticulous scrutiny and audit that occurs in America and Europe. So, it is very difficult to say precisely how many of Asha's records have been sold (ignoring how much has been pirated); rough estimates put the figure in the millions.
  4. ^ Many fans of Asha Bhosle say that she has sung over 20,000 songs. In an interview (Jyothi Venkatesh. "Asha Bhosle: Sa Re Ga Ma…". Vashi2Panvel.com. http://www.vashi2panvel.com/Navi-Mumbai-News/item/196/catid/26. Retrieved 2006-05-03.  ), Asha Bhosle was asked "You must have sung around 25,000 songs till date". She replied, "no singer in the entire world can humanly sing 25,000 songs. In fact I would like to state humbly that I am the only singer who has sung the maximum number of songs — 12,000. If you sing one song a day, you can humanly sing 365 songs a year and 3650 songs in ten years. In around 60 years of my career I could sing 12,000 songs because there were times I had sung even four songs a day." In 1980s and 1990s, the Guinness Book of World Records mentioned the names of Lata Mangeshkar ("reportedly recorded not less than 25,000") and Mohammed Rafi ("claimed to have recorded 28,000 songs") for the record of "Most Recordings". However, it has been pointed out that Rafi recorded only 4,956 songs, and Lata Mangeshkar recorded only about 6,000 songs, while Asha Bhosle has recorded over 12,000 songs. (Raju Bharatan (2006-08-23). "How fair were they to Mohammed Rafi?: Page 7". Rediff.com. http://specials.rediff.com/movies/2006/aug/23sld7.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-28.  ) The Guinness entry was removed in 1991.
  5. ^ a b c d "Asha, 70 years, 70 landmarks". 2003-09-08. http://ia.rediff.com/movies/2003/sep/05ms1.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-11.  
  6. ^ Om Gupta (2006). Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. p. 161. ISBN 9788182053892.  
  7. ^ "Only Asha: Asha Bhosle". http://www.harmonyindia.org/hportal/VirtualPageView.jsp?page_id=950.  
  8. ^ Malani, Gaurav (September 8, 2008). "Asha Unplugged over the years". Indiatimes. http://movies.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3457219,prtpage-1.cms. Retrieved 2009-07-22.  
  9. ^ a b "Asha Bhosle was the best person I ever met, An interview with O.P. Nayyar". Indya.com. http://music.indya.com/features/index.html. Retrieved 2005-11-11.  
  10. ^ a b Jitesh Pillaai (2005-07-31). "Notes to Myself (An interview with Asha Bhosle)". Times Life, The Times of India, Mumbai (The Times Group): p. 43. http://epaperdaily.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JTS8yMDA1LzA3LzMxI0FyMDQzMDA=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom. Retrieved 2007-09-08.  
  11. ^ Khubchandani, Lata (2003). Gulzar, Govind Nihalani, Saibal Chatterjee. ed. Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 486–487. ISBN 8179910660.  
  12. ^ a b c "Articles on Asha Bhosle — A voice for all seasons: Taken from Girija Rajendran's article for the Hindu". http://www.musicalnirvana.com/ghazal/asha_articles.html. Retrieved 2006-05-03.  
  13. ^ Dil Padosi Hai, release
  14. ^ "Yet Another 'First' National Chain Planned". Menu magazine. http://www.menumagazine.co.uk/archive/dec04/asha_bhosle.html. Retrieved 2005-11-11.  
  15. ^ a b c d e Chhibber, Kavita. "Kavita Chhibber's interview with Asha Bhosle". http://www.kavitachhibber.com/asha_bhosle.html. Retrieved 2006-05-03.  
  16. ^ Archana Masih. Women of Substance
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Asha Bhosle Awards. Asha-Bhosle.com. Accessed October 18, 2007
  18. ^ Abdul Waheed Khan being presented Dayawati Modi Award. portal.unesco.org. November 17, 2006. Accessed October 18, 2007.
  19. ^ Bhayani, Viral. Bachchan, Hema Honoured as Living Legends. redhotcurry.com. March 16, 2004. Accessed October 18, 2007.
  20. ^ 2005 Winners. MTV India. Accessed October 18, 2007.
  21. ^ History: Most Stylish People in Music. MTV India. Accessed October 18, 2007.

Further reading

  • Cakrabarti, Atanu (1999) (in Bengali). Āśā Bhom̐śale, jībana o gāna. Kolkata: Madela Publishing House. ISBN 978-8176160407. OCLC 42764343.  
  • Ciṭakārā, Mukeśa (2006) (in Hindi). Āśā Bhoṃsale : gāne, kôrḍsa, aura svaralipi. Delhi: Music Books. ISBN 978-8189511005. OCLC 71351425.  

External links


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