Asha Bhosle

From Academic Kids

Asha Bhosle (आशा भोसले) (born September 8, 1933) is one of the leading singers of the Indian subcontinent. She is chiefly known as a playback singer for films, although she has sung non-film songs too. She is a versatile singer and sings ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian Classical music, pop and film music. For a long time she had to play second fiddle to her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, but in the last two or three decades of her half-century career she made her mark as the leading female pop singer in Hindi film music. Asha is very popular in India and has sold over 40 million records.

Asha has sung over 20,000 songs in 14 languages for three generations of Indians, from O. P. Nayyar's breezy songs of the 1950s to A. R. Rahman's modern 1990s tunes. She says - "I sang for Tanuja (Bollywood actress of yesteryears) over 30 years ago and I have sung for her daughter Kajol. I am sure I will be around to sing for Kajol's daughter."

Asha was born in the musical family of Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar. Asha was extremely shy as a child. Her father died when she was very young. Her elder sister Lata started singing in films. Asha eloped with her 31-year old lover when she was a teenager.

A few years after her marriage, Asha's husband died. She followed in her elder sister's footsteps and took to singing in films. Music director O P Nayyar's association with her is part of Bollywood lore. When her talent was not recognized by anybody in Bollywood, Nayyar recognized her potential and gave patronage to her. He gave her a big break in CID (1956). Asha became his favorite after he fell out with Lata Mangeshkar. O P Nayyar and Asha Bhosle will be remembered for the breezy songs with galloping beats. They recorded songs for many hit movies like Naya Daur (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Howrah Bridge, Kashmir ki Kali etc. Some of their famous songs include Aaiye meherbaan from Howrah Bridge picturized on sensuous Madhubala, Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon ka Andhera from Mere Sanam and Aao huzur tumko from Kismat, Main pyaar ka rahi hoon from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena. 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 wasn't included in the movie.

B R Chopra, the producer of Naya Daur (1957), another person who recognized Asha as a great singer in the 1950s. He got her to sing in many of his films like Waqt and Gumraah.

Another music director who recognized Asha's talent was Khayyam. His partnership with Asha dates back to his first movie Biwi (1948). But he recorded his most memorable songs with Asha in the superhit movie Umrao Jaan, picturized on Rekha. They recorded four ghazals: Dil cheez kya hai, In aankhon ki masti ke, Ye kya jagah hai doston and Justju jiski thi. The film won her the first National Award of her career. Khayyam says - "The ghazals she sang for Umrao Jaan became a milestone in her career. I changed her tone and she was quite surprised she could sing like that. The songs proved her versatility and established her talent."

Composer Ravi got Asha to sing for his first movie Vachan (1955). The melodious lullaby Chandamama door ke became an overnight hit. Ravi got her to sing bhajans in Grihasti and Kajal, in an age when most of the composers preferred Lata Mangeshkar for classical songs. He and Asha recorded a variety of songs, including the funny duet with Kishore Kumar - C A T...Cat maane billi for Dilli Ka Thug. He also recorded songs for other movies like Waqt with her. Kishore Kumar worked as a music composers in few films like 'Door Gagan ki chhaon mein' and Asha was his first choice.

Sachin Dev Burman, one of the most famous Bollywood composers, and Lata Mangeshkar fell out with each other in 1957. After that, S D Burman used Asha as his lead female voice. They recorded many songs together. Most famous of these songs were Asha's duets with Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Some of the famous Rafi-Asha duets with S D Burman are Achchha ji, main haari chalo from Kala Paani, Gunguna rahe hain bhanwre from Aradhana(1969 etc. Some of the Kishore-Asha duets include Haal kaisa hai janaab ka? from Chalti ka naam gaadi, Chhod do aanchal from Nau Do Gyarah. Asha sang many solo hits under S D Burman's baton - Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief (1967) - picturized on Tanuja, Kali ghata chhaye from Sujata, Koi aaya dhadkan kehti hai from Laajwanti etc. Asha also sang for Sachin Dev Burman's assistant, Jaidev in Hum Dono, Mujhe Jeene Do and other movies.

Asha also worked with many other famous music composers including Shankar Jaikishan, Madan Mohan and Salil Chowdhury, whose favorite singer was Lata. Shankar Jaikishan created a few hits for Asha, including the seductive Parde mein rehne do from Shikar(1958). Asha got her first Filmfare Award for the song. Asha recorded one of the Bollywood's first rock and roll numbers with Chitalkar Ramchandra - Eeena Meena Deeka. Madan Mohan recorded quite a few songs with Asha, including the famous Jhumka gira re from Mera Saaya. In Chhoti Si Baat (1975), Asha Bhosle recorded the popular Jaaneman Jaaneman number with K J Yesudas for Salil Chowdhury.

A new era dawned in Bollywood music history when S D Burman's son, Rahul Dev Burman (aka Pancham) made his entry in films. Pancham and Asha Bhosle created more than just music together; Asha later married Pancham. Asha rendered hit songs for Pancham's first successful movie - Teesri Manzil. These songs included popular duets with Rafi - Aaja Aaja, O Haseena and O mere sona re. In the 1970s, Asha and Pancham's youthful, Western songs took Bollywood music by storm - the raunchy cabret Piya tu from Caravan (1971), the rebellious Dum Maro Dum from Hare Krishna Hare Rama (1972), the sexy Duniya mein from Apna Desh (1972) the romantic Chura liya hai from Yaadon Ki Baarat. About Dum Maro Dum, Kishore Kumar said "the song is powerful enough to bring a dead person to life".

Pancham recorded many hit duets with Asha and Kishore Kumar - Jaane jaa dhoondhta phir raha from Jawani Diwani, Bhali bhali si ek soorat from Buddha Mil Gaya. In 198Os, Pancham and Asha recorded beautiful ghazals for films like Izaazat (1987)- Mera kuch saaman, Khaali haath shaam aayi hai. Katra Katra and many more songs like O Maria (Sagar).

Anu Malik and Asha recorded many hit songs together, including Filhaal (Filhaal). In fact, Anu's first hit film Soni-Mahiwal had songs sung by Asha. The South Indian maestro, Ilayaraja worked with Asha in Kamal Haasan's Hey! Ram. The film flopped, but Asha's song Janmon ki went well with audience. Sandeep Chowtha got Asha to sing Kambakth ishq from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), which got youngsters grooving.

Young A. R. Rahman got Asha to sing Tanha tanha for Rangeela. Rahman went on to record many more hits with Asha including Rang de (Thakshak), Radha kaise na jale with Udit Narayan (Lagaan) and Kahin aag lage (Taal), O Bhanware with K J Yesudas (Daud). Rahman once said - "I approach Asha ji only when I compose something that would fit her stature."

In 1980s, Asha went globe-trotting, staging concerts in the USA, Canada and the UK. In the mid-1980s, she sang with Boy George and Stephen Lauscombe. In 1997, she sang a love song with Code Red, a boy band. She also recorded the song "The Way you Dream" (One Great Leap) with Michael Stipe that was used in the English movie, The Bullet Proof Monk.

In 1997 Asha did a private album with Leslie Lewis - Janam Samjha Karo that won her 1997 MTV Award. Asha Bhosle also worked with the Indo-Pakistani singer Adnan Sami for Kabhi to Nazar Milao, which went on to became the best-selling album.

Asha has received many awards inlcuding six Filmfare Awards and also the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. She won only six Filmfare awards because after getting her sixth award, she had asked not to be considered for the Filmfare Awards. Asha received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001.

Asha's stint as a music composer - Aap Ki Asha (2002) didn't go well with the audiences. But her popularity as a singer remains untouched. She contributed the song "Yun Na Thi" to the recording "Womad Talking Book Volume Four: An Introduction to Asia 1" on Womad Records. She also worked with Ustad Akbar Ali Khan on Legacy, a private album.

Cooking is a favorite hobby of Asha, who also runs a restaurant in Dubai.

In 1997, the British band Cornershop paid tribute to Asha with their song "Brimful of Asha".


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