Asha Bhosle is an Indian playback singer and a vocalist. She has been singing playback in films for nearly six decades, an accomplishment that marked her entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for recording the highest number of songs in music history. Asha has recorded over 12000 songs in 20 different languages. Let’s put a spotlight on her personal and professional life journey.
Asha was born on 8 September 1933 (age 85 years; as in 2018) in Sangli, Maharashtra, British India. She was trained in classical music along with her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, by her father Deenanath Mangeshkar. She was very close to her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, in childhood. Lata took her along wherever she would go; she even carried Asha to her school. Asha was just nine years old when her father passed away. It was a tough time for the family. She took up acting and singing along with her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, to support her family. They moved from Pune to Mumbai on the insistence of a family friend, Master Vinayak.
In 1943, when Asha was just 10 years old, she got a chance to sing “Chala Chala Nav Bala” for the Marathi film, ‘Manjha Bal.’ At the age of 16, she eloped with 31-year-old Ganpat Rao Bhosle and married him.
Asha is around 5’ 2” tall and weighs around 64 kg. She has black eyes and black hair.
Family, Caste & Husband
Asha was born into a Gomantak Marathi Brahmin Family. Her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, was a stage actor and a classical singer. Her mother, Shevanti Mangeshkar, was the second wife of her father.
Her brother, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, is a music director. Asha has an elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar, who is a playback singer. Her younger sister, Usha Mangeshkar, is also a playback artist and her sister, Meena Khadikar, is a music director.
At the age of 16, Asha eloped with her sister, Lata Mangeshkar’s personal secretary, Ganpatrao Bhosle. She married him against the wishes of her family. Their marriage failed miserably. The couple has three children.
Her son, Hemant Bhosle, was a pilot and also worked briefly as a music director. He died of cancer in Scotland in 2015.
Asha’s daughter, Varsha Bhosle, worked as a columnist for “The Sunday Observer” and “Rediff”. Varsha committed suicide on 8 October 2012; she was 56 years old and was battling depression.
Her youngest son, Anand Bhosle, has studied film direction and business; he manages Asha’s career.
Asha was rumoured to be emotionally involved with O.P. Nayyar.
In 1980, Asha married R.D. Burman, who was 6 years younger to her. She used to call him “Bubs”. Their marriage was a happy one and lasted till Burman’s death in 1994.
Her grandson, Chaitanya (Hemant’s son), is a member of India’s first & only boy band, “A Band of Boys”.
Her granddaughter, Zanai (Anand’s daughter), is an entrepreneur. Zanai has also shared the stage with her grandmother, Asha, at a music award show.
Asha made her Hindi film debut, in 1948, with the song ‘Saawan Aaya’ from the film, “Chunariya”. In 1949, she bagged her first Hindi solo song for the film, “Raat Ki Raani.”
In the 1960s, the playback singing industry was led by Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, and Lata Mangeshkar. Asha only got the assignments that were rejected by them. She would only sing for bad girls and vamps, or the songs in the c-grade movies. In 1954, Raj Kapoor signed her to sing “Nanhe Munne Bachche” alongside Mohammed Rafi in the film, “Boot Polish.” The song earned her immense popularity.
In 1956, Bhosle received her first big break with the movie C.I.D. Under the patronage of O.P. Nayyar, Asha gave out hits like ‘Aaiye Meherban’, ‘Isharon Isharon Mein’, ‘Deewana Hua Badal’, and ‘Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri’ to name a few. It was the first time that she lent her voice for a film’s leading actress. In 1974, Asha recorded her last song with Nayyar and parted her ways with him.
In 1966, she collaborated with R. D. Burman and created many hit soundtracks for movies, Kaala Pani, Kaala Bazaar, Lajwanti, Sujata, and Teen Deviyaan. Her songs in the movie, Teesri Manzil, shot her to fame and earned her popular acclaim. She has also lent her voice for westernised songs like “O Haseena Zulfonwali”, “Aaja Aaja”, and “O Mere Sona Re”. All the three were duets with Mohammed Rafi and became successful.
Asha also tried her hand in ghazals like “Dil Cheez Kya Hai”, “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston”, “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke”, and “Justaju Jiski Thi”. The ghazals won her a National Film Award.
Asha collaborated with her sister, Lata Mangeshkar, and sang various songs including “Ai Kash Kisi Deewane Ko,” “Main Haseena Nazneena Koi Mujhsa Nahi,” “Mai Chali Mai Chali,” “Jabse Laagi Toose Najariya.” Their first duet was for the film, Daman.
In 2013, she debuted in the film, “Mai” as an actor. Her performance was praised in the movie.
A statement made by the singer, Himesh Reshammiya, enraged Asha Bhosle beyond repair, provoking her to express violent thoughts on him. It was during an event in Surat that Himesh Reshammiya accused, R.D Burman, of singing nasally; Asha responded, “If anyone says Burman sa’ab sang through his nose, he should be slapped.”
Awards & Honours
- Asha has received the Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards for “Garibon ki Suno” (1968), “Parde Mein Rehne Do” (1969), “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja” (1972), “Dum Maro Dum” (1973), “Chain Se Humko Kabhi” (1975), and “Yeh Mera Dil” (1979).
- She won the National Film Awards for Dil Kya Cheez Hai from Umrao Jaan (1981) and Mera Kuch Samaan from Ijaazat (1986).
- In 1996, she received a Special Award for Rangeela.
- In 2001, Asha was felicitated with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
- In 2002, she won the IIFA Award for “Radha Kaise Na Jale” from the film, Lagaan.
- Asha was honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001, and Padma Vibhushan in 2008 by the Government of India.
Asha has a net worth of around $10 million (as in 2016).
- Her hobby is cooking.
- She follows a Non-Vegetarian diet and prefers eating Fish and Chips.
- Madhubala tops her list of favourite actresses.
- Asha’s favourite singers are Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Shirley Bassey, and Frank Sinatra.
- She owns Audi A8 and Audi Q7.
- She is fondly called The Queen of Indipop.
- Asha told in an interview that if not a singer, she would have been a cook. She also added that she has made money by cooking in four houses.
- Asha owns restaurants in Kuwait, Dubai, and Manchester.