Happy Birthday to Asha Bhosle, one of the most versatile singing legends of Bollywood music industry. So many years have passed by, but her graceful fashion, cheerful smile, and indomitable spirit are visible even today. As the fabulous singer turns a year older, we take a look at the eventful life of the singing legend, her musical journey over the years and how she came out of the shadow of her sister, Lata Mangeshkar and rose to become one of the all-time great Indian singers.
She was born in the year 1933 to parents who were renowned classical singers. All her siblings were singers as well. She started as a child artist and eventually chose singing as a career. In 1948, she made her playback singing debut with the song ‘Saawan Aaya’ in the film ‘Chunariya’. The playful voice caught the attention of many. During those days, the competition was tough. Lata Mangeshkar, her elder sister, was giving one hit song after another. Other singers like Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum were doing good as well. In 1949, she married Ganpatrao Bhosle, which was controversial part of her life. Later, her personal life was in rough waters, and she eventually got divorced in 1960. As it is with any winner, it was her sheer hard work and relentless passion for music that got her first major success in 1956 with the music director O. P. Nayyar. He was considered as one of the most rhythmic and melodious music composers of all time. Under his mentorship, she gave some of the most memorable old Bollywood songs like ‘Aaiye Meherban’, ‘Isharon Isharon Mein’, ‘Mohabbat Cheez Hai Kya’, Ude Jab Jab Zufein Teri’ and others.
Her rise to the upper echelons of Indian singers was inevitable by now. The leading music directors like S. D. Burman collaborated with her and gave many super hits in the 1950’s. She was now a regular pick for duet songs with singing stars like Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Her golden period came when R. D. Burman came into the music scene. He introduced a whole new style of music in Bollywood movies, and it was Asha Bhosle who benefited the most out of it. Her lively and playful voice suited these compositions, and she sang them with ease and perfection. She became the voice of Helen, the magnificent dancer in Hindi cinema. Popular songs which featured Helen were ‘O Haseena Zulfon Wali’, Piya Tu Ab To Aaja’, ‘Yeh Mera Dil’. All these mega-hits were sung by Asha Bhosle. ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ composed by R. D. Burman and sung by Asha remains one of the stand out songs in the history of Hindi cinema. What’s more fascinating is that the composer-singer duo got married in the year 1980.
What makes her so peculiar is that she has an amazing vocal range, and she never limited herself to one genre. It was this distinction that helped her to carve out her niche and own it like a queen. Other than Old Bollywood songs, she sang for different genres like classic, qawwalis, folk songs and Rabindra Sangeet. Even her sister, Lata Mangeshkar once conceded that she couldn’t have sung it like her. One genre that set her apart from her contemporaries was Indi pop. She was later known as ‘The Queen of Indi pop’. It is worth mentioning that she sang in more than 20 languages of India and many foreign languages as well.
The Ghazal songs in the movie ‘Umrao Jaan’ proved it to the world that she can sing classical songs with grace and elegance too. By the year 1990’s, the western elements like disco had hit the Bollywood music industry. She was one of the few artists who stood the ground and gave many outstanding songs with modern music directors like Bappi Lahri, A. R. Rahman and Anu Malik in the modern era. She was part of many albums with famous artists like Gulzar, Jagjit Singh, Adnan Sami etc. Her penchant for something new took her to the international stage and collaborate with foreign musicians like Boy George, Michael Stipe, Sarah Brightman. Who can forget the peppy track with Australian cricketer Brett Lee. She received recognition for her work and was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and Padma Vibushan in 2008.
The digital audio player of Saregama Carvaan Premium, Carvaan Gold and Carvaan 2.O Gold has a superhit collection of evergreen Asha Bhosle songs. Listen to the various genres like sensuous to romantic and lively to sad vintage songs of her.
Wish the singing legend on her birthday and post your favorite Asha Bhosle song on the comments section.