Asha Bhosle, Bollywood’s nightingale turns 79

Bollywood’s playback queen Asha Bhosle, who can easily be credited with making pop music a rage among Indians, turns 79 today, adding a “year-full” to add to her six-decade long career.

Yet, the singer shows no sign of ageing. On the contrary, from singing in low budget films in the 80s to shaking a leg with the Kareenas of showbiz and judging the popular reality show Indian Idol with people half her age, this septuagenarian has successfully re-invented herself

Tastefully dressed in her trademark white saree, with a string of pearls around her neck, The singer exudes an enthusiasm that has kept her in-sync with generations through the ages and made the voice of actresses from Waheeda Rehman and Sharmila Tagore to Rekha, Urmila Matondkar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

When she had enough of pop and and cabaret songs, she re-invented herself yet again and went on to sing ghazals for Umrao Jaan starring Rekha. Her Dil Cheez Kya Hai from the same movie went on to become a chart-topper. They resulted in the first National Film Award of her career.

Ms Bhosle, who has a mindboggling 12,000 songs to her credit, made her entry into Bollywood’s playback singing with OP Nayar’s CID(1956). Her songs in the film Naya Daur(1957)-Saathi Haath Badhana and Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri-for the lead heroine, made her a household name. She sang for Mr Chopra in several other movies, including Gumrah (1963), Waqt (1965), Hamraaz(1965)and Dhund (1973). OP Nayyar’s future collaboration with Ms Bhosle also resulted in success. Surely and steadily, she gained a foothold in the industry and received offers from composers as SD Burman and Ravi.

But it was her partnership with composer RD Burman which produced some of the best songs of the golden era. Right from Aaja AajaO Haseena Zulfonwali (Teesri Manzil) and O Mere Sona Re toPiya Tu Ab Toh AajaYeh Mera Dil (Don) there was no looking back for this evergreen Jodi who went on to tie the knot in 1980 and were inseparable until Pancham da‘s death.

Besides collaborating with music directors such as OP Nayyar, Sachin Dev Burman, RD Burman, Khayyam and Bappi Lahiri, this versatile singer has also worked with younger music directors like AR Rahman and Anu Malik in the nineties for films like BaaazigarRangeela and Taal.

It was her sensuous voice which made the song Rangeela Re in the Urmila Matondkar starrerRangeela a chartbuster.

During the 2000s, several of Ms Bhosle’s numbers rose to the top of the charts-including-Kambakht Ishq from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), Yeh Lamha from Filhaal (2002).

In 2011, she was officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. The Government of India also honoured her with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.

Now, this dynamic singer is ready for her first silver-screen role in the film Maaee where she plays an abandoned mother. Lets hope she continues to enthrall us with that tinkling voice for all times to come.

Heres’ wishing Asha Bhosle a very happy birthday.


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