Legendary singer, the queen of melody Asha Bhosle, who is popularly known as Asha Taai talked about her camaraderie with her sister Lata Mangeshkar, her inspiration in life, her young-at-heart nature and a lot more, in an exclusive interview with Indus Age.
By Nidhi Kumari
Ever since you ventured into singing, (since the age of 10) you never looked back. What has been your inspiration?
I was young and I had to work hard, whoever heard me, they said that I sang well. I used to travel long distances to reach the studio for rehearsals. And people encouraged me that I would do well in life. And this was my dream as well. I kept working hard and I devoted my life to singing. My kids were small at that time and I wanted to sing for them. I kept singing and reached till here.
You are a genre of your own. And your songs are high in spirit. Furthermore, you give an example of being, young-at-heart, always. Your comments on that:
I don’t know, but I think I have sung songs of all types, in all languages known, songs of all genre and styles. I have sung in all the languages spoken in India. I have not only sung in English but also many other foreign languages and have always experimented with my style.
With reference to being young-at-heart, I think I have been like this by birth, young at thoughts. I wanted to try everything. I was the one who started Rock and Roll, I only started the style of Elvis Presley, I have collaborated with many English singers like Michael Stipe, Boy George, though I didn’t know English, I have sung with them. And people appreciated it a lot. I feel we should try everything and do everything we can. I also sing for the kids, the songs that they would like to hear. Kids don’t like old kind of songs, so for them also I sing what they would enjoy.
Your songs have been ahead of time and you’ve touched each generation with the magic of your voice. Your thoughts on that:
I got offers to sing and also the opportunity to work hard. Nowadays one of my songs, Hungama Hogya is doing well from the film Queen, this song is old but the newer generation is liking it, so if an old song is given a new touch the songs look new and afresh. Another song, Sona Re Sona is also an old song but the newer version of it is also touching the younger lots.
In this commercial age, the life span of music has been reduced unlike in the past. Songs of those days are termed, ‘evergreen’. Your take on that:
I fail to understand why songs come and go, may be because the wording isn’t good. Songs of yesteryears’ have its own joy in expressions, words and meanings. We don’t get to find that these days. In very few of the songs you’ll find that joy. However time is changing, now we can see slow songs as well, from earlier it being just fast paced ones. These days’ Punjabi songs are doing well, on important occasions like sangeet ceremony, etc you will hear fast songs. Baki ghar me log kya gun gunate hain, I don’t know (laughs).
Do you miss the classic era of Indian Music?
I don’t look back. I always feel that, that director, that singer won’t come back, Kishore Kumar, Rafi Sahib, Madan Mohan, S D Burman, R D Burman won’t come but I enjoy and relive those moments when I sing their songs, and they will remain evergreen with their songs. I will always try new. I don’t go back.
You’ll be performing in Australia. The fact that you’ll be on stage is an experience in itself yet we want to know what different are we going to see this time?
This time I will be performing the different types of Indian music like qawwalli, folk music, rock music but popular ones. And my 13 year old granddaughter will accompany me. We will also hear her sing and also see her perform Kathak. She’s a very good Kathak dancer.
You will be having your farewell performance in Sydney and this is quite emotional for your fans as well. What do you want to say to them?
I am very excited to come to Australia and I hope I get to meet Brett Lee as well. I will see my own people and It’s going to be really nice. Those away from India would also be happy to see me that someone from India has come. Everyone loves their country. And I won’t disappoint them.
Any sweet memory/memories from your life that you want to share:
I have so many, which one to remember? I have many sweet memories with Kishore, Rafi, Didi (Lata Mangeshkar). To sing with Lata didi used to be an examination, an elder sister who is so popular and to sing, to compete with her was always enjoyable. Pahaar se takkar lene me maja ata hai (it’s fun challenging a mountain). So, she was like a mountain I always thought I was singing with. Also I had the fear that I shouldn’t be any less than her.
Are we going to see Asha Taai and Lata Ji on stage performing together?
Amm, No. Didi doesn’t go anywhere now. I try to pull her out of the house but she doesn’t like to go out now.
Message for your fans.
If the fans are singers, then they should practice, if the fans are music listeners, they should listen to my songs. (Smiles).