x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

A celebration of life and melody with Asha Bhosle

On December 13, the Bollywood bastion Farooq Sheikh will take the audience through Bhosle’s life in a narration tat will be punctuated by Bhosle’s performance of some of the most memorable songs of her career.

Asha Bhosle has sung in more than 1,000 films in a career that has spanned 70 years.
Asha Bhosle has sung in more than 1,000 films in a career that has spanned 70 years.

From beginning her career as a 10-year-old to becoming Bollywood’s most-recorded playback singer, Asha Bhosle’s career has been nothing short of illustrious.

In celebration of her 80th birthday (September 8), the 70th anniversary of her career and the centenary of Indian cinema, Ccreanss Communication brings to Dubai I’m Asha, a tribute concert hosted by the actor Farooq Sheikh and also featuring the veteran actress Rekha.

Bhosle, whose talent is considered second only to her sister Lata Mangeshkar (who is known as the Nightingale of India), is often – some would say unfairly – compared with her. Bhosle recently said in an interview that she loved singing with Mangeshkar, “because there was always this challenge within that kuch karna hai [I have to prove myself]”.

A veteran playback singer who has lent her voice for more than 1,000 films, Bhosle is currently writing her autobiography. She has also signed on as a judge for the sixth season of the Indian television reality show Indian Idol, and although she has ventured into making her own music albums, she says she “does not like today’s music very much”.

Tribute to a legend

Sheikh will take the audience through the story of how a small-town girl became a big-time sensation. It wasn’t until the film Boot Polish in 1954 that Bhosle gained mass popularity for the song Nanhe Munne Bachche Tri. Sheikh will narrate stories about Bhosle’s life that will be punctuated by Bhosle singing golden oldies to recent hits, as well as songs from her albums.

From a repertoire of more than 12,000 film tracks, expect songs such as Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Caravan, 1971), Dum Maro Dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1971) and Yeh Mera Dil (Don, 1978), which won Bhosle the Filmfare Best Female Playback award. Then there is Mera Kuch Samaan (Ijazat, 1986), which won her the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer, and Radha Kaisa Na Jale (Lagaan, 2001), which won her the IIFA Award for Best Female Playback Singer.

Rekha in a special appearance

Joining Sheikh and Bhosle on stage will be Bollywood’s reigning queen from the 1980s, Rekha, for what will be her first stage appearance in the UAE. With 180 films in a career that has spanned more than four decades, Rekha is the recipient of numerous awards including the Filmfare Award and the National Film Award, and is known for her portrayal of some of the strongest female characters in the cinema.

Among the myriad characters she has brought to life on the silver screen is a classical courtesan from Lucknow in Umrao Jaan (1981), a film based on a best- selling novel of the same name from 1905. The film won Rekha a National award for Best Actress; Bhosle won the Best Female Playback Singer for four songs: Dil Cheez Kya Hai, In Ankhon Ki Masti, Jab Bhi Milti Hai and Justuju Jiski Thi. Bhosle will almost certainly perform the first two tracks at tomorrow’s concert, especially given that Rekha will be present.

• I’m Asha is on December 13 at 7pm at the Sheikh Rashid Hall (Dubai World Trade Centre), Dubai, doors open at 6pm. Tickets are priced from Dh100 for balcony to Dh2,000 for platinum premium. Call 050 225 4010 or 04 433 7606

Trivia on Bhosle

• Asha Bhosle began her career at the age of 10, with the Marathi-language film Majha Bal (1943)

• Her early assignments consisted of work that reigning playback singers, including her sister Lata Mangeshkar, had rejected

• During the 1950s, she found a niche – singing songs portrayed by the “vamps” of Indian cinema • In her 70-year career, Bhosle has sung more than 12,000 songs in more than 20 languages

• In 1997, Bhosle became the first Indian singer to be nominated for a Grammy Award

• In 2011, Guinness World Records recognised Bhosle as the most-recorded artist in music history

• Bhosle is also a restaurateur. Her signature restaurant, Asha’s, has branches in Dubai and Kuwait

artslife@thenational.ae