BENGALURU: As Asha Bhosle turned 84 on September 7, she also hit a milestone of 75 years of singing. Both these occasions were celebrated in Bengaluru on September 9 with a live interview and concert at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.
Select 1,000 people crowded the venue by 6.30 pm and the show aptly titled ‘The Rendezvous’ kick-started with a Sandalwood playback singer Samanvitha singing Asha Bhosle’s classical number Bheeni Bhenni Bhor.
There were other six local artistes from Bengaluru performing Asha Bhosle’s songs on stage, including Anjana Padmanabhan, winner of Indian Idol Junior, and Kishore Sodha on trumpet. The evening was organised by Maam Entertainment.
From classical to seductive and playful, songs of varied styles sung by Asha Bhosle were performed. When Asha entered the stage, there was a roaring applause from the crowd. Dressed in her signature white saree and her hair adorned with jasmine, she greeted the crowd with a smile and a bow.
Asha Bhosle was in conversation with Kabir Bedi, an international actor, well-known for his Hindi movies and more recently his villainous role in James Bond film Octopussy. Together they sat, sipped tea/ coffee and chatted and chronicled Asha Bhosle’s career in music.
“Every music needs drama,” smiled Asha and instantly enacted emotions such as crying and laughing; the crowd cheered. And while her dramatic flair was impeccable, she also imitated her soft-spoken elder sister and country’s musical legend Lata Mangeshkar. “I used to be my sister’s ‘chamchi’,” said Asha. “But if I sang like her then it would not be original.”
Her childhood fascination for English movies especially a near obsession of Carmen Miranda introduced her to western pop music. “I was in Kolhapur then and I remember wearing my mother’s petticoat and dancing Chica Chica Boom Chic,” she laughed and the crowd laughed louder. Asha Bhosle re-enacted this and said that in similar note she sang ‘Ena Mina Dika’.
The crowd burst into an applause.When she was caught by her parents for singing foreign music, she rebelled saying “you all are of the old generation,” she laughed. But she was warned by her parents not to enter the film industry. Film industry happened by chance when the word spread that “Lata’s sister sings.”
Secret of versatility
Known for her versatility in singing, Asha Bhosle has sung over 1,000 songs in 20 languages in her career up to date. Everyone wonders how she does it and, in the interview, she narrated an anecdote. “Being my sister’s ‘chamchi’, I followed her around in school and the headmaster said that two people cannot attend the class for one person’s fee. My sister was hurt and we cried. From next day on, my father got us home-schooled and our master was versed in Sanskrit so we were taught the language. Knowing Sanskrit helped me grasp other languages easily,” she says.
In the interview she also talked about her struggles when starting off and how there were no facilities for singers as there are today. “I used to sleep for four hours and the song had to be perfect in one take,” she said. What about the long-standing debate over royalty payment to playback singers? She said, “Playback singers will enjoy royalty when government opens it eyes.”
With the eager audience, she talked about her relationship with OP Nayyar, Shammi Kapoor, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore. She emphasised on her strong loving bond with Lata Mangeshkar and said that she still remembers Lata’s compliments for her singing. The audience sang along with Asha’s music and she in turn complimented them for staying in tune.