Asha Bhosle Biography

Asha Bhosle, with a career spanning over six decades, is undoubtedly one of the most recognized female Indian voices worldwide. While she is famous for her contributions as a playback singer in over a thousand Bollywood movies, her versatility sets her apart from other renowned singers. Asha Bhosle’s repertoire extends beyond Hindi film music, encompassing ghazals, bhajans, pops, classical, and folk songs. Born into a musical family, singing came naturally to her, and she and her sister Lata had to start singing in films at a young age to support themselves after their father’s untimely death. Despite facing personal challenges, Asha ji remained resilient and emerged as a triumphant figure in the music industry.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In September Age: 90 Years, 90 Year Old Females
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: R.D. Burman, father: Deenanath Mangeshkar, siblings: Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Meena Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar
  • Playback Singers
  • Indian Women
  • Height: 5’2″ (157 cm), 5’2″ Females
  • More Facts
  • Education: Padma Vibhushan (2008), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2000), Filmfare Best Female Playback Award (1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979)

Childhood & Early Life

Asha was born into a musical family in Sangli, Maharshtra. Her father Deenanath Mangeshkar was a theater actor and classical musician. She has three sisters and one brother. Her father died when Asha was just nine years old. The burden of supporting the family fell on her and her elder sister, Lata’s shoulders. The girls began singing in films to make ends meet.

Career

In 1943 she sang her first film song, ‘Chala Chala Nav Bala’ for the Marathi film ‘Majha Bal’. It would be five years before she made her Hindi film debut with the song, ‘Saawan Aaya’ for the movie ‘Chunariya’ in 1948. Even though she was highly talented, her initial years in the film world were a struggle. By this time her sister Lata had made it big in Bollywood and so had singers like Geeta Dutt.

During her initial years as a struggling singer, Asha took up assignments which the more famous singers including Lata had refused. She earned her livelihood by singing for vamps and in second-grade movies. Throughout the early 1950s she sang many songs but failed to get much recognition. It was in 1954 when Raj Kapoor signed her to sing ‘Nanhe Munne Bachche’ for the film ‘Boot Polish’ that she began to get famous.

In 1957, she got her first big break when she was selected to sing all the female lead’s songs in the movie, ‘Naya Daur’. Her duets with Rafi like “Maang Ke Saath Tumhara”, and “Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri” became very famous. B.R. Chopra loved the singer’s performance and asked her to sing for several of his productions such as ‘Gumrah’ (1963), ‘Waqt’ (1965), and ‘Aadmi Aur Insaan’ (1966).

She was not afraid to experiment and gladly took up singing westernized songs that were picturized on the yesteryears’ glamour queen, Helen. Over the 1960s and 1970s, she became the voice of Helen and sang songs like ‘O Haseena Zulfon Wali’ which became very popular hits. However, she soon came to be stereotyped as a cabaret singer when she continued to sing songs like ‘Piya Tu Ab To Aaja’ and ‘Yeh Mera Dil’. This was an image she wanted to change.

In the 1980s she began singing ghazals in an attempt to change her image of a cabaret singer. While singing songs for the movie ‘Umrao Jaan’ in 1981, Asha experimented with lower pitched notes which surprisingly suited her voice very well and made her even more famous. Her streak of success continued well into the 1990s when she was selected to sing for the youthful actor Urmila in the movie, ‘Rangeela’ in 1995. The numbers ‘Tanha Tanha’ and ‘Rangeela Re’ were super hits. In spite of her advancing age, she continued singing even in the new millennium and is often appreciated for her youthful personality and optimism in the face of all the adversities life has thrown at her.

Major Works

Hailed to be a highly versatile singer, Asha Bhosle has sung over 12, 000 songs in more than 20 Indian and foreign languages till now. She has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history.

Awards & Achievements

In 2000 she was honored with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award which is India’s highest award in cinema, given to recognize outstanding contribution in the cinematic field. She was presented with the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 which is India’s second highest civilian award for her contributions to the art of India.

Personal Life & Legacy

As a young girl of 16, Asha became involved with an older man, 31 year old Ganpatrao Bhosle. She eloped with him and married him. The marriage which produced three children was a disaster from the very beginning and ended in divorce. Later on she started a relationship with Rahul Dev Burman and married him in 1980. This marriage lasted till Burman’s death. Tragedy struck the doting mother when her daughter Varsha committed suicide in 2012. She loves cooking and runs successful restaurants in Dubai, Kuwait and the UK. She often states that she would have been a cook had she not been a singer.

Trivia

This singer became the first Indian to be nominated for the Grammy Award in 1997.

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