x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pitch perfect: Bhosle's career spanning six decades

Asha Bhosle began her singing career at the age of 11 when she featured in a regional Marathi-language film.

Bhosle with the singers Kishore Kumar and RD Burman in Mumbai in 1986.
Bhosle with the singers Kishore Kumar and RD Burman in Mumbai in 1986.

Asha Bhosle began her singing career at the age of 11 when she featured in a regional Marathi-language film.

Her father, Dinanath Mangeshkar, was a theatre actor and classical singer, while her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, is one of India's most respected playback singers.

The Indian government recognised Bhosle's talent with two National Awards in the 1980s. One of her recordings, Legacy, was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1996 in the best contemporary world music album category.

She has teamed up with the British pop singer Boy George, the boy band Code Red and has appeared in a music video with the Australian cricketer and musician Brett Lee.

Her sultry vocal pitch and range across genres featured in songs such as Aaiye Meherban, Sona Re, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Umrao Jaan, Rangeela and Radha Kaise Na Jale.

Her most recent work was recorded last month with the sitarist Shujaat Khan, the son of the maestro Vilayat Khan. Still, she misses the early years of her career, when she says there was more collaboration between singers and music directors.

"We had to think 'who is the artiste, what is the situation, where does the song fit, who are you singing to, who are you trying to seduce, what is he saying'," she said.

* Ramola Talwar Badam