Veteran singer Asha Bhosle, whose acting debut Mai releases on February 1, says it was imperative for her to carve her own identity and that she is still not able to escape comparisons with her Didi
Veteran singer Asha Bhosle, known for crooning a variety of songs during her over six decade-old career, admits she still faces comparisons with her elder sister, singer Lata Mangeshkar. But at the moment, she is rejoicing over the compliments that Lata has heaped on her.
“It felt good to hear her say in her interview that she can’t sing what I can. But I disagree with her,” Asha said. “I feel if she wanted to sing my kind of songs, she would have. But she didn’t want to. She didn’t have to. She got to sing all the songs for the heroines, so she didn’t have to sing for the other female characters in a film. I got those songs. And I made the best of them,” said the 80-year-old, who sung romantic songs, cabarets and ghazals.
Some of her popular numbers include Dum maro dum, Mehbooba mehbooba, Mera kuch saaman, Piya tu ab to aaja, Chura liya hai and Dil cheez kya hai.
Recalling her days of struggle, Asha, whose acting debut Mai is now set to release Friday, said: “When there was already a Taj Mahal, I came to build another one. Bahut mushkil tha (It was tough). Who would want to go to another singer when there was already a Lata Mangeshkar? On top of that, I was her younger sister. Hamesha humein ek tarazu mein tola gaya (We were always compared on the same scale)… It was very tough for me to escape all these hurdles. I still haven’t escaped those comparisons.”
She says it was imperative for her to carve her own identity. “Didi and I had to be different singers. Copying her would have meant the end of my career even before it started. No one would have entertained a copy of Didi. Just as long as Kishore Kumar was there, no other male voice stood a chance. I first had to get songs that were comparable with Didi’s. I had to cultivate a Western style of singing. I had no choice. I had to be prepared to do any kind of song that was offered to me. Didi became instantaneously successful. Plus there were other singers like Geeta Dutt,” she said.
Talking about the new generation of singers, Asha said: “The world has moved on. Earlier, the female singer sang at a high pitch and the male singer at a low pitch. Now that has been reversed. There’s no time for slow soft sentimental songs.”
But she adds, “No point in clinging to the past and pining for nostalgia. If you remember happy occasions, whether it is the mehndi ceremony or a wedding, they have always been celebrated with songs. Every individual wants to dance and sing. Rhythm ka zamana hai (Rhythm rules). No one listens to the words. You can’t stop the world from moving on. If you try, you’ll get left behind.”