Updated: Sun, 08 Sep 2013 10:45:00 GMT | By IANS

Asha Bhosle turns 80

She has sung more than 12,000 songs in 18 languages, been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan and is still raring to go. Singing legend Asha Bhosle is celebratig her 80th birthday on September 8, with her position in Bollywood still strong and her legion of fans intact.


Asha Bhosle (© Rex Features)

After being in the industry for over six decades, her voice remains seamless. With her colourful silk saris and jewellery to match, Asha's style still makes a lasting statement.

The singer, who started singing at a very young age, is known for her versatality. After crooning a series of hits for the Hindi film industry's dancing queen Helen, she was tagged as a cabaret singer.

But she dispelled that notion when she went behind the mike to croon "Maang ke saath tumhara" for Dilip Kumar-Vyjayantimala- starrer 'Naya Daur' (1957). It established her as a singer to reckon with.

Since then, there has been no looking back.

She collaborated with renowned musicians of her time like Ravi, Khayyam and Shankar Jaikishan, but Asha's real talent was exploited by composer R.D. Burman, who was instrumental in bringing her out of her elder sister and singing legend Lata Mangeshkar's shadow. Asha and Burman later married.

Songs like "Dum maro dum" ('Hare Rama, Hare Krishna'), "Mehbooba mehbooba" ('Sholay'), "Mera kuch saaman" ('Ijaazat'), "Piya tu ab to aaja" ('Caravan') and "Chura liya hai tum ne" ('Yaadon Ki Baraat') bear testament to the amazing creativity of the Asha-Burman combination.

"Pancham (Burman) had this unique quality of bringing out the best in every artiste by making him or her feel comfortable. He knew how to make me sing to get the maximum effect in every situation," Asha said.

Known for her voice range, Asha has sung in over 18 languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English, Russian, Czech, Nepali and Malay.

Adding to her list, recently she crooned her first Kannada song for composer Veera Samarth who was overwhelmed with her professionalism even at this age.

"Didi took just two-and-a-half hours to sing the song. And the rehearsal of the song was done a day earlier. Asha didi wrote the lyrics in Hindi in her own handwriting and what a song it was. I was in tears when she completed the song. I am sure it would be one of the most brilliant songs in Kannada," Samarth said.

Not just that. She has cut many albums and was recently named among the top 20 music icons of the past 50 years by CNN.

She doesn't shy away from new technology either. Buoyed by the Twitter mania, she too joined the microblogging site. Usually she posts music and film trivia, but sometimes uses it as a tool to express her views on current topics.

(Continued)
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