When singer-composer Abhishek Ray (Yeh Saali Zindagi, I Am Kalam) approached Asha Bhosle for a song in director Ananth Mahadevan’s film, Life’s Good, her immediate reaction was, “I’ve stopped singing for movies. I don’t like the kind of songs being written and scored today.”
Ray admits that he got a
(shock), but he coaxed her into listening to the tune he had composed keeping her voice in mind. He played the first few notes for her over the phone, followed by the ‘mukhda’ (first stanza). Bhosle reacted with an abrupt, “Call me back after an hour.”
She called him back before the hour was up and sang what she had just heard. Then she demanded to hear the ‘antara’ (last stanza). Ray hummed it for her, pointing out that there was an interesting scale change from the ‘mukhda’ to the ‘antara’ that was uniquely western-classical. “That shift in scale appealed to her,” he says, adding that the solo number, ‘Rut bhege tan aayi thi…’ is not a typical Bollywood rain song.
“It’s more in the style of a western symphony with live violins, cellos, harps, a piano and Ashaji’s voice cutting across the concerto like an opera singer. The song is in the space of a ‘Circle of life…’ from The Lion King (1994) and Celine Dion’s ‘Life will go on…’ from Titanic (1997).”
Mahadevan, who is planning to wrap up the sensitive film, scripted by the late Sujit Sen, before he starts rolling with his bio-pic Gaur Hari Dastaan, is elated to have recorded with Bhosle: “I had seen Lataji (singer Lata Mangeshkar) record with Raj Kapoor for Prem Rog (1982) at Famous Studios in Tardeo. Last evening, at Yashraj Studios, it was a dream come true to have the other Mangeshkar sister, Ashaji, sing for one of my films.”
For Ray, it was a magical moment when Gulzar agreed to collaborate with him on Udhaas Paani in 2002. He says, “After almost a decade, just before hanging up, Ashaji told me, ‘Bahut badhiya’ (good work), that was another memorable moment. A compliment from an icon comes once in a lifetime.”