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Interview : Asha Bhosle

"I want to dance on my grandson's wedding"

Veteran singer Asha Bhosle turns 78 on Thursday (Sept 8).

With a career spanning over six decades, Asha has done playback singing for over 1000 Bollywood movies. She has recorded many private albums and has participated in numerous concerts in India and abroad.

Our correspondent was in conversation with Asha Bhosle in recent times. Excerpts from the interview:

What do you think about the new generation of singers?
You know what, I am scared for the new generation of singers. I have sung so many songs... how many more will I sing? But what will the new generation do? Now-a-days, no record company is ready to release new albums in face of piracy and internet downloading. What will happen to the new singers...will they stop singing if they don't get films! If you do stage shows, you get money, but in the process, the shouting takes a toll on your voice. We seriously need to stop this piracy thing or else the singers will be in deep trouble.

But the new talents get platform at reality shows...
Now-a-days we can pick and bring anyone at reality shows...the 'Boogie Woogie' types. Say, for three months the person stays 24x7 in front of public eye, he gets his two minute fame. But what happens after the show is over? The 'saas bahu' serial ('Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi') went for years...people got addicted to it. But now that the serial has gone off air, who remembers it?

You have reigned for decades, you have seen the changing times. Why do you think, we don't get soothing melodies like Paan khaye saiyaan humaro now-a-days?
The films have changed totally...let aside the songs. Name a recent film where you can spot a soothing village scene or find an innocent 'Gaon ki chhori' singing love tunes for her beloved! Sorry to say, there is hardly a sensible music director or a lyricist around at present. See what sort of film titles we have? KAMINEY ...can't even differentiate if it's a film or an abuse. Earlier, the mahaul was something else...Uttambabu (actor Uttam Kumar) stage pea ate the, toh hum mar jaate the jawani mein. Now it's all about cheekhna chillana. We only get dance songs without situations in films.

So, you do miss Pancham (husband and music composer RD Burman) now?
Why only Pancham...I miss Kishore (Kumar), Rafi, Latadidi (Mangeshkar)...everyone...those times were different. We used to have so much fun at recordings...if I start telling you it will take at least four days to complete. I used to teach Hindi to Pancham. But he never taught me Bengali...I learnt the language by listening to RD converse with his Bengali friends like Kishore in-between recordings. Now-a-days I don't feel like singing in films. And as it is, there won't be a second Asha.

With whom did you enjoy singing duets most?
Latadidi...because there was always this challenge within that kuch karna hi hai (I have to do something special).

Even today, there is a Lata-Asha comparison...
That comparison is unavoidable because we are sisters. And since I am the younger one, people will tend to compare my singing with her. Had I been from outside the family, these things could have been avoided.

Is there anything more that you want to achieve in life?
What I want is not important, what happens, is. I have never planned life because it is not necessary that what I fix will be fulfilled. My life has taken me from one place to ordinary woman like me has got name, fame, RD, family, children, grandchildren, respect...what else can I want. But given a choice, I have twin grandsons...I want to dance at their weddings.

Any plans for your birthday on Sept 8?
No plans yet (smiles).

- Sreya Basu, IBNS, Bollywood Trade Editorial

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