Happy Birthday Ashaji! And Also, Coincidentally, Patsy!

It’s Asha Bhosle’s Birthday!!!!  How Wonderful!  84 years old today!  And you want to know something interesting?  It’s also Patsy Cline’s birthday!  Another female singer who had a lot of life and a lot of love and an amazing voice. (this is an updated and reposted post from last year)

I’m not going to do 84 reasons, because that’s INSANE.  But I am going to do 16, for the age Asha was when she ran away from home and started her life down a path that would lead to her being the most adventurous singer of Indian film.

1.1. Here is one of her first songs, her voice is mixed with 2 others, this is how she started out, the good journeyman singer who would do whatever she was asked and do it perfectly.

2. And she is still willing to support other singers decades later, after she achieved massive fame!  Asha did a duet video with Australian cricketer/aspiring pop star Brett Lee.  I find it adorable.

3. That’s what Asha is today, and for the past couple decades, a beloved icon representing all that is light and happy and good in Indian film music.  But back in 60s and 70s, she was just Lata Mangeshkar’s younger sister, a divorced mother desperate to pick up whatever singing jobs she could, your second choice if you couldn’t get Geeta Dutt for your fun club number.  That changed slowly, but it was her collaboration with composer (and her future husband) RD Burman in a series of fun club hits that really jumpstarted her career.

4. Not just RD Burman, but Helen brought Asha to a whole new level.  Or she brought Helen to a new level?  According to stories and interviews, Helen used to try to attend Asha’s recording sessions whenever possible, so she could better understand what Asha was doing with her songs and better plan her performances around Asha.

5.  Even without Helen dancing, or really any visual beyond a simple image of a woman singing, Asha’s voice can still soar.

6. This is a song from well into their mutual career.  Asha was 45 and Helen was 40.  And yet, oh my gosh!

7. I love this “song”.  RD decided to try an experiment and have it spoken instead of sung.  And, as always, Asha was up for the challenge!  That’s one of the best things about her as an artist, she was always willing to try something new.

8. Speaking of trying new things, after becoming the queen of cabaret numbers in the 70s, Asha pulled out this magnificent album to start off the 80s, lowering her voice an octave and drawing on her classical training to give voice to a classic Tawaif.

9. And then in the 90s, she reinvented herself again, with the help of AR Rahman and Urmila Matondkar, a elderly widow somehow embodying youth and sex and romance.

10. And also embodying youth and love and innocence.  I love this song, by the way.  It is so simple, and yet so lovely.

11. This song, not quite so innocent!

12. One thing that is really amazing about Asha, is how she is able to convincingly be the “voice” of every major actress for the past 50 years.  From Zeenat Aman.

13. To Sharmila (can I say again how much I love this movie?).

14. To Kajol.

15. To Aishwarya (am less fond of this movie).

16.  And finally, to end, my favorite Asha song, which isn’t by Asha at all, it’s just about her.  But it so perfectly encapsulates what Asha’s voice and music means to not just India, but to the Indian diaspora worldwide.

And, as I said, it’s also Patsy’s birthday today.  So, BONUS: a few songs from one of America’s great female voices.

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82 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Ashaji! And Also, Coincidentally, Patsy!

  1. My all time Asha favs:

    1. Do Lafzo Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani (The Great Gambler)
    Asha really captured the gondola ride/european romance mood.

    2. Mera Kuch Samaan (Ijaazat)
    This is such a broken hearted song but it isnt sung as “pity me” or “I have questions, a$$h@le!”. NO, just plain “gimme back who I was now that it’s over!”

    3. Sajna Hai Mujhe Sajna Ke Liye (Saudagar)
    Such a so very sensual song. It could have been very erotic but it isn’t and it’s just sensual.

    4. O Sathi Re Tere Bina Bhi Kya Jeena (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar)
    Only Asha bhosle could have matched Kishore Da who was at his peak.

    5. Jaiye Aap Kahan Jayenge (Mere Sanam)
    Oldie but you can totally feel the tameez and tehzeeb in her voice despite the BOLD lyrics.

    6. Aage bhi jaane na Tu (WAQT)
    I love how opera-esque this song is. And rightly so. The film itself is opera-esque too!!

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  2. I can’t believe there can be a whole post dedicated to her without mention of the iconic cult Dum Maaro Dum, my hands down favorite of hers. Not sure if she has ever sung like that in a low kinda drawl almost. Blasphemous she had to do that to match the character’s mood.

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    • Oh please. That’s one of her least amazing songs. Nobody that smokes weed ever gets those peppy tones out. The high notes she hit in that song make it sound so unauthentic you know. I know it’s just a song but still.

      She has quite a few unauthentic sounding songs in her kitty which make her less of a legend than Lata Mangeshkar.

      Top, top favourite and most authentic sounding — Chura liya. The item songs with the fake gasps– yuck!!

      My favourite most authentic weed smoker song of all time-Chordo by Bohemia.

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      • The word Chordo only reminds me of Chod Do Achal Zamana Kya Kahega :p

        And what’s with your insistence of seeing everything with the prism of reality. 90s film not progressive? Bad. 70s song not authentically rendered? Boo. Fake gasps? Bah. Escapism in general? Dhat teri ki.

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          • Kahaan? I just said the drawl was obv needed because she can’t just sing normally given what the character was smoking na. And that versatility me likey. But now of course Deepika has ruined it for us.

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          • Was she too real? She’s an actual junkie you know. Plus she’s struggled with depression so chances of her being on prescriptions when she shot that are quite high. Excuse the pun.

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          • Not related to the above comment, but every morning I wake up and find out you’ve been partying in the blog comments without me. Oh well, that’s what I get for being in the opposite time zone.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It is! I roll awake in the morning and reach for my phone right away to see what all you nice people have said.

            Early on, I got a series of angry trolls on the site (also from India), and that was a very depressing way to wake up, to find out a bunch of people had been yelling at me all night and now I have to respond. I like this, a bunch of people being happy at me first thing in the morning.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 9:36 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • Also, hey! New comment icon! Much less good girl.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 10:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Okay, something about is this blog an escapist and this blog is your escape? Is an escape? Seriously, NO facility for languages here! I even kind of know each of those words, I just can’t put them together in any way that makes meaning.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 12:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • Hehe that’s why I put in the pic assuming you’ll defly know that famous line and what it means and so you can just substitute gunda (thug) for what I was saying, escapist.

            So its the same line “every team can only have one thug and I’m that for this one” except replace thug with escapist. of course I can totally be a thug as well mind you.

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          • I don’t know, you’re the escapist? I’m the one doing TGIF links every Friday and sexy fanfic every Sunday. I may have to challenge you on that.

            And next time I get a troll, I’ll take you up on the gunda offer and you can beat him/her up for me. But hopefully that will never happen again.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 12:57 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yep I’ll kill with both word and sword (sorry)

            I steer clear of fanfics to avoid escapism within escapism :p the first and only time I read one was of the Harry Potter variety and immediately realised it could be a dangerous path for me.

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          • You are very wise. I avoided fanfics (both reading and writing) for years and years and years, and then I did a random one-off post here (what if Dear Zindagi is a sequel to Josh?) and it got a ton of views, so then I wrote another and another and now I am addicted.

            And you should really really steer clear of the fanfic here, because it is extremely…….not friendly to hetero males.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 1:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s true!

            Sample sentence: “Shahrukh cuts her off by leaning forward and gently stroking her hand and giving her the sex eyes when he says “if you want to feel like a woman, I can do that for you. Every night. And every day, you can go off to work and feel like a man.” ”

            (okay, now I am blushing at work)

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 1:59 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s fanfic, it’s not supposed to be subtle. Plus, Indian film fanfic, so twice not subtle.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But even 50 shades is more subtle than that!

            Shoot, did I just give away that I saw that film (didn’t read the book I swear) in secret without anyone knowing? Damn.

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          • And now THE WHOLE INTERNET knows you watched it!!!

            Also, does this mean I have claimed the crown as the single escapist of the blog? If I wrote something worse than the worst film you have watched?

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Now I am picturing the whole locker room failed seduction scene and I don’t know what to do with that.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Let me sound the tharki alert again lady. Even basic decency is too much to expect from me beyond such points. But I also think it’s good this lets you feel the cruel vixen in you so everyone can see it exists.

            Liked by 1 person

          • See, that’s why it’s good you changed your avatar!

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 5:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes because that’s what a guy needs who’s now been forced to decide between continuing to play the pervert as is or wake up and begin the recovery!

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          • Hey, either way is fine with me! It adds a nice variety to the blog to have someone making these comments about ladies instead of Shahrukh. Although, on the other hand, your grown up commenting is very nice too.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 4:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • *time for the outburst in the plot where the character has had enough and starts pushing back*

            It’s always about the blog with you! Blog this blog that!
            You don’t care about me!

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          • and now’s when I do the big stupid thing like killing myself or quitting my job or swearing ever dying devotion because it is a woman’s place to be sacrificing and so on. Except, NOT. I get like 0.00000001 cent per view! that’s money in the bank!

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 5:07 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Well, part of it is for that sweet sweet fraction of a penny, part of it is because I love you all and just want to make you happy.

            On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 12:13 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Also, guys, I’m beginning to hate WP a bit because the thread is all jumbled up and I don’t know which one of you said what first and now I have to watch this delicious exchange like a foreign film with bad subtitles!!

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    • See??? This is why I expanded it to 8 replies yesterday (because karthik told me). And then I changed it back (because karthik told me)

      Also, this is exactly what happens when I wake up in the morning and you have been talking all night. Very frustrating!

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    • Lol like I said I just wanted to protect myself against being served an injunction :p

      That change did seem to break some other already existing threads on other posts. But perhaps it wasn’t left on at that setting for long enough to see a bit more how it went. Maybe it can be tried again for a day or two instead of just an hour or two.

      Or maybe M decides to splash the cash and upgrade the WP package if she accepts the blog is getting too big for WP basic!

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      • I did just upgrade one more slot, but there’s no direct comments advantage to it that I can find. I can change my entire theme/set-up thing, but comments are just one small part of that. If I feel like it, I might set aside a time to cycle through a whole bunch of themes and see how the comments look. Oh, and so far as i can tell, still no plug-ins.

        And I’m not switching to the grown-up tricky version! I need my nice easy baby version of WordPress so it can protect me from all the yucky spammers and trolls and spam trolls.

        On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 6:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yep, that’s what I’m seeing. But premium lets me have unlimited storage (those TGIF posts are eating into my photo upload space!) and more “themes” available and some other stuff I don’t understand but sounds good. Anything you see that I’m not using and I should?

            On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 12:19 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Well so this is the page i’m referring from about the tiers. And according to that you still don’t seem to have unlimited space, only up from 6GB to 13? Or maybe I’m looking at the wrong page.

          As for the features I have no clue about WP and its jargon so will have to read up about that.

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        • And even if I do figure out all the features I reckon you’ll still be fairly reluctant to experiment too much and I don’t think they even have like a test page or something so you don’t have to try out stuff directly on the blog itself every time inconveniencing readers.

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          • I think you missed the last time I changed themes around, MASSIVE COMPLAINTS. Well, minor complaints, but my readers are so nice that it was massive to me. So I might just keep it simple and update the header images and menus every once in a while and nothing else.

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          • Function over form, substance over style? You do realise that this is a Hindi film blog, right? That kind of thinking is antithetical to the very basic elements of our existence!

            I should probably just try asking the WordPress people how to make things better. That’s actually my job in the “real world”, I do tech support for another web service. Which makes me reluctant to call for help because I know how much I dislike/judge/make fun of the people who call me.

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          • Ooo, 24×7 means probably in India! I just need to figure out what region they are working from, and I can win them over with movie gossip.

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