Asha Bhosle the Bollywood Legend at 84 is second to None.

As the legend Asha Bhosle the evergreen singer turns a year younger at 84 today let’s take a look at her musical journey.The iconic celebrity has been in the film industry for over seven decades and has her name carved in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Asha Bhosle who believes that technology cannot add soul to the singer’s voice was famed with rivalry against her own elder sister the renowned legendary singer the nightingale of Bollywood,  Lata Mangeshkar.Besides singing which was her passion she had cooking which is close to her heart.The two men in her life were O.P Nayyar and RD Burman.Asha Bhosle’s wax statue is to be added at the New Delhi Madame Tussauds.

Asha Bhosle is more of a ‘Rock Star, with a determined cool persona she presents in the Hindi film Industry. A superstar in every term who has made us groove and move beyond with her soulful singing .

Given her charismatic, energetic and youthful enthusiasm one cannot remember her age which we firmly believe is only a number where Asha Bhosle is concerned.  She turns younger each year as her age grows which is an amazing feature in this music legend.  Her interests vary not just in music but also with food, her wisdom, knowledge of things around, her frankness with a sense of humour.

Asha Bhosle being in the industry for over seven decades has recorded over 11,000 songs in 20 different languages an unprecedented number for any reckoning.  Yet Asha Bhosle has been so humble enough to deal gracefully with the ‘ Number 2’ perennial under the gigantic shadow of her own sister Lata Mangeshkar who ruled the music world for many decades.

The Mangeshkar Sisters Rivalry has been the favourite topic of gossip among the Bollywood buffs can be traced back to their childhood. The sisters came from a family of musicians or the music pandits  as they call it and once the eldest of the siblings Lata Mangeshkar decided to join the film industry it was understood soon Asha would follow and their other sisters too.  But both the sisters Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar had their own distinctive style of singing that did not clash their interest in playback singing and both took the music to the next level.

The first few years in the industry for Asha Bhosle was tough struggle and around the same time she was also married to a much older Ganpatrao Bhosle who was her secretary.  He was helping her get the foothold in the industry and would be personally involved during her recordings.  She was only 16 when she eloped with Ganpatrao Bhosle to get married to him. This was the first time the sisters relationship got cold as Lata Mangeshkar was very protective of her younger sister.

Despite the differences the sisters had in their professional relationship, both have kept their private life guarded well and in one of her interviews many years back Asha Bhosle did express that she had regrets that her elder sister Lata Di has never helped much in her career, however she also stated soon after that in their family they didn’t have the culture of promoting each other professionally.

Asha Bhosle had made up her mind and carve her own niche in the industry though the industry those days had stalwarts in the music industry like her own sister Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt who were the legendary singers of that era.  In such scenario, Bhosle consciously picked up songs that were apart from the classic elegance and loved to experiment with new genre.

Comparison with Lata Mangeshkar did not discourage the young Asha Bhosle and every rejection she converted to her advantage by filling in the gaps that Lata Mangeshkar had left . Lata was like the Goddess and dominated the music industry by her playback only for the top leading ladies of the Indian Cinema.

Asha Bhosle encashed on this and went on to lend her voice to heroines like Helen, the world of cabaret  and most of her bubbly , chirpy songs went on to become super hit. It was evident too that while Asha Bhosle like her choice of songs had transparency in her outlook towards life, a crystal clear personality with a sense of humour that was a refreshing change with a complete contrast the way Lata Mangeshkar who stuck to being the dignified and gave an impression of being non public throughout her career.

The first music director to have recognized Asha Bhosle’s talent was O.P. Nayyar who gave her the first break in 1956 for his film C.I.D and her very first hit was with Nayyar again for his 1957 super hit film Naya Daur.  The Nayyar -Bhosle team went on to produce 324 songs . Some of the hits were Dekho Kasam Se, Aaiye Meharbaan, Isharo Isharo, Jaaye Aap Kahan Jayenge, Zara Haule Haule to name a few and these songs till date remain immortal with Asha Bhosle’s voice and direction by O. P Nayyar.

Asha Bhosle is remembered for her powerful full throated sensuous voice which was recognised by O.P Nayyar.  Asha Bholse- O.P. Nayyar relationship did not escape the eye of the media those days  but their alleged romance came to an end shortly after and she met another musical partner R.D. Burman who was six years younger to her but their relationship  ended in a marriage for the second time after he wooed her . Music was the basic foundation in their marriage. He was lovingly called Pancham by her , a perfect partner who complimented her music talent in every way that remained as the everlasting bond between the two.

R.D Burman not only was in her personal life , a life partner who gave a boost to her singing career by giving her western tunes and classical notes to which Asha Bhosle is said to have added her own personal touch to bring out the best.

A versatile singer who could easily switch over between the rock infused ‘ Aaja Aaaja from Teesri Manzil and the Piya tu ab to aaja from Caravan and Dum Maaro Dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna to the classical Piya Baawri from the film Khubsoorat.

Asha Bhosle also has to her credit the songs like Mera Kuch Saaman from Gulzar-RD Burman’s from the film  Ijaazat that defined her career further and then came along  Khayyam’s Umra Jaan in which she sang ghazals that mesmerized the audience.Even though Asha Bhosle has had a prolific and terrific career and is from the golden era she easily connects with the younger generation and music listeners.

In her spare time she runs a series of restaurants which is churned out due to her passion for cooking. In the BBC interview the singer explained that if you can sing well you need to eat well too and if you eat well then you need to enjoy cooking as well!!!!

Asha Bhosle has led an eventful life and not only explored the territory as the legendary singer . Though her singing is considered as Number 2 in the industry it is second to none.



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