Asha Bhosle, commonly referred to as Ashaji, has sung over 12000 songs in 18 languages. She has a distinctive lilting voice that can capture any song at any form or scale. In her heydays, she would make any actress she sung for, from Zeenat Aman to Urmila Matondgar, smolder on screen. In 1997, she was the first Indian to be nominated for Grammy Awards Best Contemporary World - Music Album for her album Legacy. By 2011, Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged her as the most recorded artist in music history. The legendary songstress that brought us numbers like Maang ke saath tumhara, Dum maro dum, Piya tu ab to aaja, was still performing at Chatelet Theatre, Paris, in May 2014 at the age of 80!
Asha Bhosleâ€™s father, Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer and a theatre actor. She was born among two sisters and brother, Lata, Meena and Hridayanath respectively. Her first film song was Chala Chala Nav Bala from the Marathi film Majha Bal (1943), and then went on to record her first Hindi song called Saawan Aaya for the movie Chunaria (1948). Her first solo track in Hindi was for the 1949 movie Raat Ki Rani. At the age of 16, Asha eloped with Lataâ€™s personal secretary Ganpatrao Bhosle, which did not last long and she returned to her maternal home carrying her third child. After that, Asha was handed assignments that others refused, usually singing for the vamps in the B and C grade movies. Some fame came her way with the Sajjad Hussain composed numbers in the film Sangdil in 1952. Her fame rose when she sang for the1953 film Parineeta. Her song Nanhe Munne Bachche with Mohammed Rafi in Boot Polish (1954) gained her further popularity.
COLLABORATION WITH MUSIC DIRECTORS
It was OP Nayyar who gave Asha her identity as he got her a break in the movie called CID (1956). She got a chance to sing numbers like Aaiye Meherbaan in Howrah Bridge (1958), Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera from Mere Sanam (1965), and Aao Huzoor Tumko in Kismat (1968). With OP Nayyar her other famous songs included duets with Mohammed Rafi like Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri for Naya Daur (1956), Main Pyaar Ka Rahi Hoon for Ek Musafir Ek Haseena (1962), Deewana Hua Baadal and Ishaaron Ishaaron Mein both from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Ashaâ€™s last song with OP Nayyar, Chain Se for movie Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974) was not included in the film, but got many awards.
Under Music Director Khayyam, Asha sang for many movies including Biwi (1948), and Phir Subah Hogi (1958) but the most famed film they worked together was Umrao Jaan (1981).
With Composer Ravi, Asha sang her famous hit lullaby Chandamama Door Ke for the movie Vachan in 1955. While Asha did a lot of songs for B- grade movies, she was also involved in singing bhajans for films like Gharana (1961), Grihasti (1963), and Phool Aur Patthar (1966) . Ravi managed to ensure that Asha also sang CATâ€¦Cat Maane Billi for Dilli Ka Thug (1958). Ashaâ€™s other songs with Ravi were for movies like Waqt (1965), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), China Town (1960) and Dhund (1973).
When Sachin Dev Burman and Lata Mangeshkar were not seeing eye to eye, it was Asha who filled in the space with songs for movies like Kaala Pani (1958), Lajwanti (1958), Kala Bazaar (1960) and Teen Deviyaan (1965). Some of her famous songs included Ab Ke Baras for the Film Bandini (1963), and Raat Akeli Hai for Jewel Thief (1967).
Asha met RD Burman when she had dropped out of school to pursue music in 10th standard. She sang a variety of songs in the genre of Ghazals, rock, cabarets and even classical. Some of them became very famous like Piya Tu Ab To Aaja for Caravan, Dum Maro Dum for Hare Krishna Hare Ram (1971), Bhali Bhali Si Ek Soorat for Buddha Mil Gaya (1971), and Duniya Mein for Apna Desh (1972). Her other hit song with RD was the duet O Maria for Saagar (1985), along with a host of Bengali songs.
She also sang for notable director AR Rahman, the famous songs being Tanha Tanha and Rangeela Re for the 1994 movie Rangeela.
With Shankar-Jaikishan her song Parde Mein Rehne Do from Shikar (1968) won her a Filmfare Award, while her other hit song was Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana from Andaz (1971).With composer Illayaraja, she sang Tamil songs like Shenbagamae for the movie Enga Ooru Paattukkaaran (1987) and also Nee Partha Parvai for the film Hey Ram (2000). She also sang for a gamut of other music directors and composers like Jaidev, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad Ali, Ravindra Jain, N Dutta and Hemant Kumar among others.
RISE TO FAME
Her first success came in 1957 with BR Chopraâ€™s film Naya Daur that had duets like Maang Ke Saath Tumhara and Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri with Mohammed Rafi. After that, she sang in different films like Gumrah (1963), Waqt (1965), Humraaz (1965) and Aadmi Aur Insaan (1966). By 1966, her songs like Aaja Aaja, O Haseena Zulfonwali and O Mere Sona Re with Mohammed Rafi for the movie Teesri Mazil got her lots of acclaim. Soon, her other popular numbers like Piya Tu Ab To Aaja from the movie Caravan (1971) and Yeh Mere Dil from Don (1978) got her immense fame.
By the 1980â€™s, she had already earned the sobriquet of â€˜cabaret singerâ€™ or â€˜pop croonerâ€™ due to her numerous dance numbers with Helen. Next up in 1981, came her Ghazal type of numbers like Dil Cheez Kya Hai, In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke, Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston and Justaju Jiski Thi from the film Umrao Jaan (1981). She went on to win her first National Film Award with the song Mera Kuchh Samman for the film Ijaazat (1987). In 1995, she sang Tanha Tanha and Rangeela Re for the film Rangeela (1995) which brought her much acclaim. She followed this up with chartbusters like Radha Kaise Na Jale from Laagan (2001), Kambakht Ishq from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), Yeh Lamha from Filhaal (2002) and Lucky Lips from Lucky (2005). In between, she released her own album, called The Very Best of Asha Bhosle in 2004. She debuted in her first film at the age of 79, in a film called Mai (2013).
Filmfare Best Female Playback Award: Garibon ki Suno - Dus Lakh (1968), Parde Mein Rehne Do â€“ Shikar (1969), Piya Tu Ab To Aaja - Caravan (1972), Dum Maro Dum - Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1973), Hone Lagi Hain Raat - Naina (1974), Chain Se Humko Kabhi - Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1975), Yeh Mera Dil - Don (1979), Filmfare Special Award - Rangeela (1996), Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (2001) National Film Awards For Best Female Playback Singer: Dil Cheez Kya Hai- Umrao Jaan (1981), Mera Kuch Saaman â€“ Ijaazat (1986) IIFA Awards For Best Playback Singer: Radha Kaisa Na Jale - Lagaan (2002).