Asha Bhosle performs, recalls debt to sister Lata Mangeshkar

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Asha Bhosle performs with granddaughter Zanai Bhosle. Photo: Nandini Vishwanathan

The Shanmukhananda Auditorium in Mumbai came alive with applause, as legendary singer Asha Bhosle took to the stage and belted out some of the best compositions of the (late) music composers from Bengal in a show titled Asha Bhosle Live with the Bengal Tigers. The show was a tribute to S.D. Burman, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhury and R.D. Burman.

Asha Bhosle sang Acchaji main haari (Kala Pani), O mere sona re (Teesri Manzil) or Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera from the same film among many others. And by the time she crooned Dum maro dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) and Piya tu ab to aaja (Caravan), some people left their seats, came up to the stage and cheered on the legend.

It was a night of many emotions as she sang, shook a leg, joked, and shared anecdotes from the past. There was also a teary-eyed moment when she remembered Lata Mangeshkar and said, “I am here because of Didi.”

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The event also saw many songs from Sudesh Bhosle. Asha’s granddaughter, Zanai also participated, leaving the audiences mesmerized with Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi), the last song Zanai had sung to Lata Mangeshkar when she was alive, though composed by Shankar-Jaikishan and not by any Bengali composer. Proud parents Anand and Anuja Bhosle looked on.

Asha was also accompanied by grandson Chintu Bhosle, vocalist Hrishikesh Ranade and a 20-musician band led by Kamlesh Bhadkamkar. The event was created, designed, produced and directed by Rahul Ranade.

Asha, who will turn 89 this September, is perhaps the only singer in India to perform live at this age. When asked how she manages to be so sharp and youthful on stage, the singer beamed and quipped, “Mujhe pataa nahin main kaise kar leti hoon, par main hamesha gaana chahti hoon (I don’t know how I do it, but I would always want to sing and perform).”

Incidentally, the term “Bengal Tigers” could have been better replaced by “Eastern Tigers”. It is a well-known misconception that the Burmans were Bengalis, as they actually hailed from Tripura. With this term, Assam’s Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, for whom Asha sang memorable numbers in at least two Hindi flms, could have been included too! And in addition to those listed, Asha has also sung in Hindi under eminent names like Shyamal Mitra and composer-singer Kishore Kumar, besides a few other composers (who can hardly be termed “Tigers” though!) in Hindi cinema.

 

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