Asha Bhosle@82: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart

Updated: September 08, 2015 09:20 IST

Bollywood's playback queen Asha Bhosle, who can easily be credited with making pop music a rage among Indians, shows little signs of ageing as she turns 82 today.

Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Bollywood's playback queen Asha Bhosle, arguably India's first pop star, shows little sign of ageing as she turns 81 today. On the contrary, this octogenarian has successfully re-invented herself through the ages. Her personal journey has been full of ups and downs, yet the singer exudes an enthusiasm that has kept her in-sync with generations through the ages. Ashaji has been the singing voice of actresses from Waheeda Rehman and Sharmila Tagore to Rekha, Urmila Matondkar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Here's a pictorial look at her journey as she turns a year older.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Asha Bhosle was born on September 8, 1933 in Sangli, Maharashtra. Her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a classical singer who died when she was just nine years old. She then took to singing to make ends meet.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Ashaji is very close to her sister, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.

However, there was a rift between the sisters after Ashaji eloped with her neighbor at the age of 15. She admitted in an interview that Lataji considered her act irresponsible. However, over the years the two phenomenal voices of India have set their differences aside.

Ashaji's other siblings are Usha Mangeshkar, Hridayanath Mangeshkar and Meena Khadikar.

(This image was posted on Twitter by Asha Bhosle)
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
When Asha Bhosle began her career, a large share of the pie was monopolised by the prominent singers of those times and therefore decided to change her style of singing. In an interview to IANS she said, "The challenges that I had to face during my early years were humongous. There were many established singers and it was difficult for me to get into the industry. So, I decided to change my style of singing. Eena Meene Deeka was the first song I sang trying the new style. Although the old people criticised me a lot, I had found many fans and that is how it started."
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Asha Bhosle first gained recognition with the movie Sangdil (1952), starring Dilip Kumar. She sang the song Dharti Se Door in the film.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In 1954, Raj Kapoor signed her to duet with Mohammad Rafi on the song Nanhe Munne Bachche in the movie Boot Polish. This was a turning point in Ashaji's life. Surely and steadily, she gained a foothold in the industry and received offers from composers such as S D Burman and Ravi.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Ashaji sang for S D Burman's soundtrack in movies such as Kaala Pani (1958), Insaan Jaag Utha (1959), Lajwanti (1958), Sujata (1959), Kaala Bazaar (1960) and Teen Deviyaan (1965).
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Her soulful number Ab Ke Baras in Bimal Roy's Bandini (1963) moved the audience to tears. In contrast her seductive song Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief (1967), picturised on Tanuja, became equally popular.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Asha Bhosle also worked with music director OP Nayyar who gave her a break with CID (1956). She got the chance to work with him again in BR Chopra's Naya Daur (1957). Her songs in the film - Saathi Haath Badhana and Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri - for the lead heroine, made her a household name. OP Nayyar and Asha Bhosle gave many hits together, but the two parted ways in the 1970s.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
But was her partnership with composer RD Burman which produced some of the best songs of the golden era. Their work was first noticed in 1966 in the movie Teesri Manzil. The songs Aaja Aaja, O Haseena Zulfon Waali and O Mere Sona Re from the movie became chartbusters.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Ashaji and Pancham da delivered many hits together through the Seventies. Their songs Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Caravan, 1971), Dum Maro Dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1971), Duniya Mein Logon Ko (Apna Desh, 1972) and Chura Liya Hai Tumne (Yaadon Ki Baaraat, 1973) became smash hits.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In the '80s Panchamda and Asha Bhosle's songs from Sagar (1985) and Ijaazat (1987) remain popular even today. Mera Kuch Saaman, Khaali Haath Shaam Aayi Hai and Katra Katra from Ijaazat and O Maria from Saagar remain etched in our memories.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Asha Bhosle became the voice of Helen in the late 60s and early 70s. Some of her most popular songs from those times are Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Caravan, 1971), O Haseena Zulfon Wali (Teesri Manzil, 1966), and Yeh Mera Dil (Don, 1978).
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
When she had had enough of pop 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. Umrao Jaan, whose music director was Khayyam, fetched Ashaji a National Award.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
She even won a National Award for Umrao Jaan, whose music director was Khayyam.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Ashaji's association with Khayyam dated back to the late 40s when the two worked together in Biwi (1948). They later worked together again in Phir Subah Hogi (1958) and Dard (1981).
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Besides collaborating with music directors such as O P Nayyar, S D Burman, R D Burman, Khayyam and Bappi Lahiri, Ashaji has also worked with younger music directors like A R Rahman and Anu Malik in the Nineties for films like Baazigar (1993), Rangeela (1995) and Taal (1999). It was her sensuous voice which made the song Hoja Rangeela Re in the Urmila Matondkar film Rangeela a chartbuster.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In 1997, Asha Bhosle received three awards for her pop 'comeback' album Jaanam Samjha Karo.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
During the ‘2000s, several of Ashaji's numbers rose to the top of the charts, including Kambakht Ishq from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), and Yeh Lamha from Filhaal (2002).
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
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.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In 2012 the dynamic singer made her silver-screen debut with the film Mae where she played an abandoned mother. However the movie failed to create ripples at the box office. Ashaji is also famous as a reality show judge on the small screen and has co-judged contests such as Indian Idol 6 and Sur Kshetra.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Asha Bhosle's first runaway marriage with her neighbour Ganpatrao Bhosle at the age of 15 was troubled from the very beginning, even though the couple did have three children. Her in-laws ill-treated her and turned her out of their home in 1960. In 1980, she married music director R D Burman with whom she had already established a successful professional partnership. The two remained inseparable till his death in 1994.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In October 2012, she faced another personal tragedy when her daughter Varsha committed suicide by shooting herself in the head. She was 56 years-old that time.

But the ever resilient Ashaji has tried to rise above this tragedy as well. She is busying herself with judging her reality shows and, just days ago, re-recorded two of her songs with one of her fans named Dinesh Shahra, who had dreamt of singing with her.
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
In 2014, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar came together for a new music album titled Mein Hawaa. Lataji has produced the album in which Ashaji and Shaan have lent their voices.

(This image was posted on Twitter by Asha Bhosle)
Asha Bhosle@81: A Song on Her Lips, a Song in Her Heart
Here's wishing Ashaji a very happy birthday and a great year ahead.

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