Asha Bhosle at 90: I faced difficulties but when I look back, it all looks ‘mazedar’
She turns 90 today on Friday with a live concert in Dubai.
Music, like an ever-flowing river, never ends, says Asha Bhosle. And as she turns 90 on Friday with a live concert in Dubai, India’s singer for all times and ages could well be describing her own career that started an incredible eight decades ago.
“At the age of 90, I have to stand for three hours on stage and sing songs, I’m happy I can do this at this age,” Bhosle told PTI in an interview ahead of the show.
She sang her first film song “Chala Chala Nav Bala” for the Marathi film “Majha Bal” in 1943. Eighty years and some 12,000 songs later, Bhosle is readying to hold the stage again – and shows no signs of slowing down.
Music, she said simply, is like breathing. And it wasn’t always easy, said the singer whose voice has emoted every nuance and every mood for actors down generations, right from Meena Kumari to Kajol and hundreds of others in between. “Humari saans nahin hoti hai toh aadmi mar jata hai. Mere liye music meri saans hai (For me, music is my breath). I have spent my life with this thought. I have given a lot to music. I feel good I’ve come out of difficult times. Many times I felt I would not be able to survive, but I did,” Bhosle said.
From peppy numbers such as “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja” and “O Haseena Zulfon Wali” to soulful ghazals like “Dil Cheez Kya Hai” and the classical “Tora Man Darpan Kehlaye”, Bhosle has been the voice millions of Indians have tuned into day and night.
Versatile could well be her middle name. Ever ready to experiment, her music has found popularity with international bands too. The Black Eyed Peas used the music of some of her songs. She also collaborated with Boy George and Stephen Lauscombe as well as with international cricketer Brett Lee.
And in 2020, she marked her YouTube debut with the single “Main Hoon”, dedicated to spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
“Music kabhi khatam nahin hota. Ye dariya hai (Music never ends, it’s like a river). If anyone says, ‘I feel complete’, then this is wrong to say, because no one is complete. It is always about how you can change or evolve with time,” she said.
“I’ve sung songs for the main artist and for the dancers as well. I believe I could fit in well with anyone. But I wish I had sung more songs in different languages. I wish I could have done more classical singing,” Bhosle added.
Looking back at her vast body of work, the singer said navigating the ups and downs in the highly competitive music industry hasn’t been easy but she feels glad to have overcome the difficult times.
“In every field, there’s politics. In films too there’s politics, so it is not easy. I believe a lot in destiny and I believe whatever is meant for me will come to me and what is not meant for me, I’ll never get that. I faced difficulties but today when I look back, it all looks mazedar (fun) as I came out of it,” she said.
As she readies to go on stage again, the birthday girl exudes the same spirit.
‘ASHA@90: Live in concert’ is big and special, she said.
“It is like a Broadway show, there are many dancers, musicians, and technicians. The stage is going to be big. I’ve never done a show on such a big level. It is a special show,” she told PTI over the phone.
“I didn’t plan to celebrate the birthday this way. My son and family members wanted it to be celebrated this way,” she added about the extravaganza touted as the first of its kind musical show.
This show comes almost five decades after Bhosle’s first international show in 1976 at the Royal Albert Hall, UK, which was attended by the likes of Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan.
In Dubai, she will be reprising some of her popular songs and will also pay homage to Indian legendary singers and musicians.