Asha Bhosle

Biography

By some counts, Asha Bhosle has been the playback singer for over 588 movies; she is one of the premier voices of Indian cinema along with her sister, the renowned Lata Mangeshkar. Bhosle got her start in film at the age of 10, in 1943, acting in a Marathi film called Majha Bal. Blessed with an innate gift for mimicry, the native Marathi speaker was soon singing in Punjabi, Bengali and Hindi; she had her Hindi debut in Hansraj Bahl's Chunaria in 1948. (Later in her career, Bhosle would take on Russian, Malay and other languages.) But success didn't come easily to the singer. Her older sister had won the hearts of most composers, and through the 1950s Bhosle took any song she could get, vying with Geeta Dutt for second place in the public's affections. Though the sisters shared a duet in the 1951 film Daman, their relationship was famously acrimonious during this period. Bhosle's underdog status led her to become a bit more risqué than Mangeshkar, and she was lucky enough to work for one director who preferred her to Lata and helped her develop a distinctive identity: O.P. Nayyar. Their string of hits included "Chainse Hum Ko Kabhi" (Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye), "Aankhon Se Jo Uttari..." (Phir Who Dil Laya Hoon), and "Chhota Sa Baalama" (Raagini). In the '60s Bhosle's star rose, and she won of string of Filmfare awards for Best Female Playback Singer for movies including Rangeela, Naina, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Caravan, and Dus Lakh. R.D. Burman also began to work more with Bhosle, and the two married in 1979. Bhosle has never been afraid to cross boundaries; she's worked with Boy George and Ornette Coleman, among others, and was the first Indian vocalist to be nominated for a Grammy in 1997.
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