A whole new chapter

A whole new chapter

CHANGING TRACKS

SINGER-TURNED -ACTRESS Asha Bhosle

She always had a desire to perform in front of the camera.

In fact, her husband, R D Burman, had always inspired her to become an actress. However, her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar did not approve and has preferred to remain silent on Asha’s decision.

In a long distance call from Mumbai, Asha Bhosle  talks in an excited tone, “I play the character of Padmini Kolhapure’s mother in Maaee. It is an emotional subject which delves deep into a mother-daughter relationship. On reading the script, I realised that this was a challenging role and that I should go for it. Also, I was growing tired of my routine work and wanted to try something I have never done before.”

Long-lost desire

In the 50s, Raj Kapoor wanted to cast Lata Mangeshkar in the film Satyam Shivam Sundaram, which was about a character who wasn’t good looking but had a melodious voice. Lata Mangeshkar politely refused the offer as she was never keen to make it as an actress. Decades later, Raj Kapoor shot the film with Zeenat Aman in the female lead and Lata Mangeshkar lent her inimitable voice for hit numbers like Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Bhor Hui Panghat Pe.

Does Asha Bhosle remember that her illustrious contemporary, Geeta Dutt, was also keen to be an actress and that the film Gauri, in which Guru Dutt launched her, never went on floors? Asha Bhosle  thinks for a moment and answers, “I am not at all aware of this fact. May be I don’t remember. But I sincerely feel that along with her astonishing singing abilities, she also had what it takes to be a successful actress.” Asha Bhosle is all set for her latest assignment. She says, “I am not a trained actress. I will completely depend on my director and I hope he gets the best out of me.”

A conversation with Asha Bhosle is incomplete without mentioning her playback singing.  How does she feel when reminded of Sudhin Das Gupta, with whom she has created memorable music? She smiles, “A fantastic music director who, prior to R D Burman, extracted the best out of me as a singer. Remember, Naach Mayuri Naach Re? Based on the same melody line, O P Nayyar created the haunting Aye Hai Door Se, my duet with Mohammed Rafi for the film Tumsa Nahin Dekha. Another song, Sagar Dake, composed by Sudhinda, still remains to be one of my all-time favourites.”

S D Burman, Shankar Jaikishan, O P Nayyar, Jaidev, Khayyam and R D Burman are a few music directors who composed memorable numbers rendered by Asha Bhosle. She says, “Each of these maestros was a genius. After O P Nayyar, it was R D Burman who experimented the maximum with me, leading to resounding success. I personally admit that A R Rahman is also a highly gifted musician, but I do not believe in comparing him with the likes of O P Nayyar or R D Burman.”

Speaking about singers, Asha Bhosle explains, “The 50s, 60s and 70s were the golden decades of melody in Hindi films. During this time, the industry was blessed with talented singers like Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. Each one had a distinctive style of singing. She remembers how R D Burman, Kishore Kumar and she used to have fun while rehearsing for their songs. Asha Bhosle reminisces, “ I was unable to render Lekar Hum Deewana Dil number from Yaadon Ki Baaraat perfectly. R D Burman, who had a sharp ear for melodies, recognised this and simply requested me to lower my vocal octaves and sing in a plain style. It really worked.”

Does she feel that her voice has been used only for tantalising and sensuous numbers? She replies, “I don’t think so. I did sing a large number of tantalising numbers, but I have also sung classical, romantic and sentimental tracks. I am remembered for Tujhe Mili Roshni, Abhi Na Jao Chod Ke and Aankhon Se Jo Ujri than a Raat Akeli Hai or Dil To Mane Na.”

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