Asha Bhosle, one of the greatest playback singers in the history of Hindi cinema, who mesmerised listeners over six decades celebrates her 75th birthday today with family.
Apart from spending the day with her family, she celebrated her birthday by interacting with fans. Saregama India Ltd launched her new album, Precious Platinum to mark the occasion. Notwithstanding her age, the vivacious and versatile singer is still going strong and continues to be the reigning diva of Hindi film music...A living legend who remains a heartthrob of every generation.
But, the singer's rise to stardom, was long and difficult. When she started singing in 1948, big names like Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt and Lata Mangeshkar were huge stars of playback singing.
However, she stood out and carved a niche for herself with the quality of her voice and by combining style, sensuality into her singing and adapting voice modulations to suit the situation of the song she was singing.
Even with a collection of over 12,000 songs in Hindi and Marathi, she is constantly enhancing her music collection and entertaining the people. Winner of several popular and national awards, Asha was conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country, this year.
Apart from Hindi songs, she has sang for many Marathi movies. Some of the songs which are still etched in people's memory are Bugadi mazi sandlig, jata sataryala and Nach re mora. Her Marathi bhajans, natyasangeet and bhavgeet are liked by people even today.
She revisited her Marathi roots recently by holding a concert of her Marathi songs in different parts of Maharashtra after nearly 15 years.
If Asha was popular for her Helen numbers in the 60s and 70s which included Piya tu ab to aaja (Caravan), O Haseena Zulfon wali (Teesri Manzil) and Yeh Mera Dil (Don), she could also belt out songs like Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan) and Mera kuch samaan (Izajat) and Ab ke baras (Bandini) with equal ease.
Initially, Asha had to struggle to get to sing for the lead roles. However, during the 1950s, she sang several songs, more than any other playback singer.
Her initial songs were mainly composed by Sajjad Hussain, A R Qureshi and Ghulam Mohammed.
Her career got a major boost with musicians O P Nayyar and S D Burman in films like CID, Tumsa nahi dekha, Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Kashmir Ki Kali and Chalti Ka naam gaadi.
Paying Guest, Munimji, Naya Daur, Howrah Bridge, Bandini catapulted her into the big league. She later teamed up with R D Burman and her songs in Teesri Manzil were also acclaimed. Her Dum Maro Dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna became a rage in the 70s.
Her versatility continued in the 90s making actresses several years younger to her sizzle on screen.
Rangeela Re and other numbers of the film Rangeela which re-introduced Urmila Matondkar to Bollywood in 1995, Mujhko hui na khabar (Dil to Pagal Hai) to Khallas (Company), Kahi Aag laage (Taal), Khambhakth Ishq (Pyar Tune kya kiya) to the recent Hai Rama featuring Sneha Ullal in the Salman Khan starrer Lucky topped the charts.
Born on September 8 ,1933, Asha like her elder sister, the legendary Lata Mangeshkar was trained initially by father Dinanath Mangeshkar in classical music. She lost her father when she was only nine.
The family of four sisters and one brother along with their mother travelled from place to place and finally came to Mumbai. At 16, she married 31-year-old Ganpatrao Bhosale, against the wishes of her family and alienated herself from them.
However, the relationship did not last long and she returned to her family after a few years.
Asha, who believes in changing with the times, came out with new albums Rahul &I and Janam Samjha Karo in 90s.
In Rahul &I she experimented with the remixed versions of R D Burman's songs. She was accused of tampering with the golden melodies of the past. However, the album was appreciated by the people. Her private indipop album Janam samjha karo brought her recognition and honour. She received the MTV award for it in 1997.
Asha's last non-film album was Friends in which she sang duets with Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar and Australian cricketer Brett Lee.