Empress Of Song

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Asha Bhosle
Asha Bhosle
Age: 76
Profession: Veteran singer
Taboo: She doesn’t eat anything khatta, hates to exercise and teasingly claims to be allergic to the sun. She also hates it when her hair gets wet Photo: Himmat Singh Shekhawat

ASHA BHOSLE, who just turned 76, received a very special gift this birthday. Putting much controversy to bed, The World Records Academy declared her the world’s most recorded artist, with 13,000 songs in her repertoire. She’s also working on an album with grandson Chintu. An early riser, she functions on four hours of sleep. She loves to cook and her recipes are craved by the crème-de-la-crème of Bollywood. Many years ago, Ashatai proclaimed that if she weren’t a singer, she would’ve been a cook. Except, her struggle to sing is one for the legends. A constant battle to establish her individual style in the face of relentless comparisons to her sister, Asha Bhosle became the voice of the ‘vamp’ in Bollywood. A difficult first marriage pushed her further into her passion, and the studio.

Recently, the country celebrated the venerable singer’s birthday, but it wasn’t always like this. “Music directors would schedule recordings on her birthday and she’d spend the day in the studio,” says Anand, her youngest son. Music is her raison d’être and keenness to learn is what keeps her on her toes. Like a child, she’s curious about everything. “She loves learning new languages and about new cultures,” Anand points out.

There is a lot that Asha Bhosle could reminisce about, but she effortlessly brushes past her 76 years and talks only of what lies ahead. Instead of being stuck in past glories, she would like to spend time engaging with younger audiences. She’s rather envious of Kishore Kumar, for he was still singing – doing what he did best – when he passed away.