Asha Bhonsle - a Tribute to the Legendary Indian Bollywood Singer
About Asha Bhonsle
Asha Bhonsle is an Indian Bollywood singer. A living legend, she has trained in indian classical music.
Asha was born on September 8, 1933. Though she is not very active in playback singing these days ( She is 79 yrs old), she ruled the playback singing arena from the 1950s to the 1990s, along with her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar.
A very versatile singer Asha Bhonsle has sung a variety of song genres like playful love songs, breezy and fast paced, lusty cabaret numbers, soulful ghazals, sensual numbers, subtle, classical, folk, pop, disco, qawwalis, bhajans etc.
Asha has sung over 12000 songs, in over 20 Indian languages. The World Records Academy, an international organization that certifies world records certified her as the "Most Recorded Artist" in the world in September 2009.
Asha Bhonsle was born in a small village, Goar, in Sangli district of Maharastra state of India. Her father Master Dina Nath Mangeshkar was a classical singer and a theatre actor.
She lost her father when she was just 9 years old. She along with her family moved to Mumbai. To support the family Asha and her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar, started singing in films. Asha sang her first song for a Marathi film in 1943 at age 10.
At the age of 15, Asha sang her first Hindi film song in the film "Chunariya". Her first solo song was for the film "Raat Ki Rani" in 1949.
She married Ganpat Rao, at the age of 16. As her family was against this marriage she eloped with him. The marriage however didn't last long and ended in 1960. These were very difficult times in her singing career.
Initially, she either got to sing the rejected songs of the then leading playback singing female trio of Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum and her sister Lata Mangeshkar or she got to sing in B and C grade, low budget, films especially for the vamps in these films.
Around the late 50's she got recognised when for the first time she sang all the songs for a film Naya Daur", that were well liked. Her duets with Mohammed Rafi in this film became very popular.
In the 60's & 70's, she established her status as the No 2 leading female playback singer behind Lata Mangeshkar who was at the top.
The variety of her singing repertoire can be gauged from some songs presented below.
Film - Howrah Bridge
For the film "Howrah Bridge", Asha Bhonsle sang a very sensuous number "Aaiye Meherbaan" under the music direction of O.P.Nayyar. The song was a hit.
Song - Aaiye Meherban
Film - Caravan (1971)
Asha was the playback voice for the famous dancer Helen in the 60's and the 70's. Helen's cabaret dances ere a regular feature in the films of this period. Here Asha sings the song "Piya Tu Ab To Aaja" from the film "Caravan". She got the Filmfare award for the 'best playback singer' for this song.
Song -Piya Tu ab To aaja
Film - Hare Rama Hare krishna
She again bagged the Filmfare award for the Best playback female singer for the song "Dum Maro Dum" from the movie "Hare Rama Here Krishna" in 1973. Listen to it here.
Song - Dum Maro Dum
Film - Rangeela
In 1996 Asha Bhonsle received a special award for singing the song "Rangeela Re" for the film "Rangeela" for a girl hardly 20. She was 62 then. Listen to this song here.
Song - Rangeela Re
Film - Umrao Jaan
In the 1980s she got tired of being stereotyped as a singer of cabaret and pop songs. She tried a different genre of songs - the ghazals. Her Ghazals for the film Umrao Jaan under the music direction of Khaiyyam were all hits.
Asha Bhonsle won her first National Film Award for the song "Dil Cheez Kya Hai" for the film Umrao Jaan. Listen to it here.
Song - Dil Cheez Kya Hai
Film - Ijaazat
In 1986, Asha Bhonsle won the National Film Aard again for the song "Mera Kuch Saaman" for the film Ijaazat" under the music direction of R.D.Burman. Listen to it here.
Song - Mera Kuch Saaman
Asha Bhonsle & O.P.Nayyar
Asha gave her best under the music direction of O.P.Nayyar, producing many of her finest songs from breezy, bubbly, sirenish and sensuous songs. After the success of songs of the film Naya Daur in 1957 which became hits, this duo got emotionally involved as well.
However after working with O.P.Nayyar and giving an array of melodious songs, the duo parted ways in 1972 for reasons undisclosed.
Listen to the song "Chain Se Humko Kabhi" from the film Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye".
Song - Chain Se Humko kabhi
Asha Bhonsle & R.D.Burman
Asha's professional association with music composer R.D.Burman started in 1966 when she sang songs for the film "Teesri manzil'. Under his music direction Asha sang all types of songs from sexy to romantic, cabaret to rebellious, ghazals to disco, pop to classicals.
Asha married R.D.Burman in 1980. They remained married till R.D's death in 1994.
Asha With Music Director R.D.Burman
Film -The Train
Asha singing for the music composer R.D.Burman in the movie "Apna Desh" and the song is Duniya Mein. The male voice is R.D.Burman's.
Song - Duniya Mein
Asha Bhonsle Singing Aao Huzoor Tumko
Asha Bhonsle Singing Jab Andhera Hota Hai
Duets With Kishore & Rafi
Asha sang innumerable duets with the leading lights of male playback singing in Bollywood. Two of her memorable and very popular duets with Mohd Rafi and Kishore Kumar, 2 Bollywood legends in their own right are presented here.
The duet with Kishore Kumar is from the film Andaz and the song is " Zindagi Ik Safar Hai Suhana". In this and the the only song ever, Asha has tried her hand at yodelling like Kishore who was a master at such stuff..
The second song is a duet with the legendary Mohd. Rafi who had a divine voice that could bring out the finesse and purity of any note of the musical scale. The duet with Rafi is from the movie " Teesri Manzil" and the song is Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera.
Awards, Honours And Recognitions
Asha Bhonsle received numerous awards, honors and recognitions in her illustrious career. The list is too long to enumerate here. Some of them are :
- She won the Filmfare awards for the best female playback singer 7 times from 1968-1979, after which she voluntarily withdrew her name from the future nominations to promote new talent.
- She won the National Film Award for the best female singer 2 times.
- Best lifetime achievement award from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
- First Indian Singer to be nominated for the Grammy Award, for Legacy, an album with Ustad Akbar khan
- Dada Saheb Phalke Award for outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema.
- Padma Vibhushan from The Govt Of India
- Guinness Book Of World Records entered her name as the most recorded artist in the history of music.
Apart from this she collaborated with many international artists like Bay George (Bow down mister) & Stephen Lenscombe, the boy band "Code Red", sang a song 'The way You Dream' with Michael Stipe, used in the English film " BulletProof Monk" .
Some Personal Facts About Asha Bhonsle
- Asha stays in Mumbai. She has 3 children & 5 grandchildren.
- Asha is an excellent cook & a successful restaurateur, owns restaurants in Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Doha & Bahrain.
She has given rights to opening a chain of restaurants in the UK under her name" Asha".
- She is always dressed in shimmering embroidered sarees, white color being her favorite, pearls and diamonds.
- She is a good mimicry artist.
- She is writing her autobiography.
My other hubs on Bollywood Singing Legends
- Lata Mangeshkar - The Legendary Indian Bollywood Singer - Award Winning Songs
Lata Mangeshkar is a living legend of Bollywood playback singing. Read on for snippets from her life history, listen to some of her award winning songs and others...
- Mohd Rafi - The Legendary Bollywood Playback Singer - A Tribute
Mohammed Rafi, the Legendary Bollywood Playback Singer was as great a human being as a great singer. To know more about this thorough gentleman singer read on...
- Kishore Kumar - A Tribute To The Legendary Bollywood Playback Singer
Kishore kumar, was a versatile bollywood singer, who was known for being the singer who introduced yodelling into hindi film songs and the only one to yodel. Learn more about this multifaceted legend who was a singer, comedian actor, script writer, p
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly