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Music Icon Asha Bhosle has the evergreen voice at the age of 90


By Tirthankar Mitra

One does not usually look forward to turning 90, but Asha Bhosle is not one of them. For old age and its fallouts have been defied by this singer with an evergreen voice. Neither Bhosle's looks nor her voice give the slightest pointer to the age of the much in demand playback singer. This is no yesteryear diva resting on her laurels and reliving her days in the sun.

Resplendent in her colourfully bordered Kanjeevarams, diamond eardrops adding their bit to her appearance and a white garland in her tresses, Asha Bhosle is living up the moment. She lives in the present and is looking forward to her future. On her 90th birthday on September 8, she remains the same active with her singing programmes.

A song seems to perpetually reside in the heart of this nonagenarian singer with a youthful voice. A fan of American dancer Fred Astaire she may do a few steps at a concert in Dubai marking her birthday. She has been active in the singing for the last 80 years.

Many of her diehard fans would not be going over the top if they insist that versatility is her middle name. This contention is underscored by her ability to fit her voice into almost any genre. Indeed Bhosle is blessed with a miraculous voice. From a naughty number to a soulful song, once Bhosle lends her voice to it, the sale of records and cassettes of it would speedily make its way to the top of the chartbusters list.

Music was in Bhosle's genes. It was only natural as after all she is the daughter of Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar, a theatre artist and a classical singer and the younger sibling of the Lata Mangeshkar the “Nightingale of ”. But Bhosle's singing career had not been in a hop, skip and jump mode. Groomed in classical music, she lost her father when she was nine, the young girl had to attend to her household chores but never skipped her riyaz sessions.

A Marathi film Majha Bal (1943) included Bhosle debut song on silver screen, Chala Chala Nav Bala. Five years later she sang her first Hindi film song Saawan Aya was recorded for the film Chunariya. Her major break in Hindi filmdom came in 1956 film CID whose music was scored by O P Nayar. The songs she had sung in Teesri Manzil set to tune by a the then maverick R D Burman took the singer and composer to a new high.

Two stars were born in this Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh whodunnit movie. The music director and the playback singer teamed up, tied the knot and gave Hindi films many memorable numbers.

It was an era in which new voices and diverse styles jostled for space in Hindi film world. Geeta Dutt, Samshad Begam, Bani Jayram and of course Bhosle's famous elder sister Lata Mangeshkar gave her a run for her money.

Yet Bhosle marched on, listened to foot tapping western music which had a profound effect on her songs. She emerged as the queen of cabaret numbers which were a part and parcel of Hindi film songs then.

The hit numbers which Asha play backed during the ‘60s and ‘70s were Piyatuaab to aaja (Caravan) O hasina zulfo wali ( Teesri Manzil), Yeh mera dil (Don) cemented her position. But Bhosle sprang a pleasant surprise on her fans binning the belief that classical songs were not her cup of tea.

The soulful songs of Umrao Jaan (1981) and Ijazat (1987) are recognition to her talent. Asha Bhosle has arrived and crowned herself as the queen of versatility. Her music repertoire consists of film songs, pop, ghazals, qawwalis, classical songs and bhajans. She has sung in 14 languages including English and Russian. Failures and tragedies have not embittered her. Her voice and attitude to life testifies it.

May her coming years witness Asha continue to effortlessly glide through several forms of music. She has defied time and age. Her voice belies her years. Happy birthday Asha Tai.

(IPA Service)



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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