If one were to go by the conventional meaning of cabaret (according to the dictionary, it is entertainment that happens in front of guests while everybody’s eating), Bollywood seems to have got it horribly wrong somewhere. Now, think of a peppy song in Asha Bhosle’s voice and actor Helen dancing to it on the screen. Surely, the literal meaning of the word is the last thing on your mind, right?
On Asha Bhosle’s 83rd birthday, here’s a peppy list of her most popular cabaret songs that got the crowd grooving so many years ago. The great thing about these songs? Put them on a loop on your music player, and try stopping yourself from breaking into a dance.
Listen to Asha’s birthday special interview
Song: Piya tu ab toh aa jaa
Film: Caravan (1971)
It’s a very suggestive song that completely relies on the voice quality and modulation of its singer. RD Burman and Asha Bhosle created magic in this one.
Song: Yeh mera dil
Film: Don (1978)
You may forget Amitabh Bachchan’s nemesis in this Chandra Barot film, but you’ll never forget Helen’s dance and Asha Bhosle’s haunting playback.
Song: Duniya mein logon ko
Film: Apna Desh (1972)
This song is the biggest example of the professional camaraderie between Pancham Da and Asha Tai. The way they have complimented each other is a lesson for even the professionals.
Song: Aaj ki raat koi aane ko hai
Film: Anamika (1973)
The elements of suspense brought into this song by the mere use of voice are phenomenal. The intercuts between Helen, Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri works on just one cohesive force that is Asha Bhosle.
Song: Aao huzoor tumko
Film: Kismat (1968)
OP Nayyar, the man who discovered and groomed Asha Bhosle’s latent potential, saved one of his best compositions for his favourite singer. This song is not exactly a cabaret, but it has a similar set-up. The classical touch makes it one of the most recalled songs ever produced in Bollywood.