Asha Bhosle according to many is the queen of Indian pop. She has captivated millions of hearts with her melodious voice as a playback singer, cutting across film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, and Rabindra Sangeet. With a career spanning over six decades, she has recorded over 12,000 songs in various languages, making her one of the most prolific and versatile singers in the history of Indian cinema.
Aside from her career in the industry, her personal life has also gained interest. Asha has been married twice. She was first married to Ganpatrao Bhosle, a man she eloped with at the age of 16. Following their separation, she remarried Rahul Dev Burman and remained with him until he died in 1994.
A Brief Biography of Asha Bhosle
Asha Bhosle was born into a musical family on September 8, 1933, and she’s 90 years old at the moment. She was raised in Sangli, Maharashtra, India, and grew up alongside four siblings including her elder sisters, Lata Mangeshkar and Usha Mangeshkar who are also playback singers. Her other siblings, a sister Meena Mangeshkar, and a brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar are music directors.
Growing up in such an environment, it was only natural for Asha to be exposed to music from a young age.
At the tender age of nine, Asha lost her father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, who was a renowned classical singer and theater actor. His death led to financial difficulties for the family and to support her family, she started singing in a small Marathi theater troupe.
Her talent was soon recognized, and she was offered a chance to sing in films. In 1948, at the age of 16, Asha made her playback singing debut in the Marathi film “Majha Bal.”
Asha’s Career Kicked Off in the 1950s
Even though Asha had been in the entertainment industry since 1943 it was in the 1950s that her career truly took off. She started singing in Hindi films and gained recognition for her unique voice and versatility. Unlike her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, who was known for her soulful and melodious renditions, Asha’s voice had a distinct huskiness and sensuality that set her apart. She carved a niche for herself by singing cabaret and seductive songs, which became her trademark.
Asha’s collaboration with music director O.P. Nayyar during the 1950s and 1960s is considered one of the most successful partnerships in Hindi film music. Together, they created several chart-topping songs, including “Aaiye Meherbaan” from the film “Howrah Bridge” and “Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera” from the film “Mere Sanam.” These songs showcased Asha’s versatility and ability to adapt to different musical styles.
Apart from her collaboration with O.P. Nayyar, Asha Bhosle worked with several other prominent music directors, including R.D. Burman, S.D. Burman, and Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Her association with R.D. Burman, whom she later married, resulted in some of the most memorable songs of her career. Hits like “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja” from the film “Caravan” and “Dum Maro Dum” from the film “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” became anthems of their time.
In addition to Hindi, Asha Bhosle has sung in various other Indian languages, including Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Malayalam. She has also lent her voice to international collaborations, working with artists like Boy George and Michael Stipe. Her versatility and ability to adapt to different musical genres have made her a global icon.
Asha Bhosle’s contributions to music extend beyond the film industry. She has collaborated with renowned artists from around the world, including the likes of Boy George, Michael Stipe, and Bryan Adams. Her versatility and ability to adapt to different musical styles have earned her recognition and respect globally.
Her Awards and Nominations
Asha Bhosle’s impact on Indian music cannot be overstated. Her voice has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions, be it joy, sorrow, or romance. She has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is the highest honor in Indian cinema. She was given this award in 2000 for her outstanding contribution to the Indian film industry as a playback singer.
Another prestigious award that Asha has received is the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India. In 2011, she was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
In addition, she has also been honored with the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer on several occasions. She has won this coveted award a remarkable seven times, setting a record for the most wins in this category. Her wins include songs from films like “Umrao Jaan,” “Ijaazat,”.
Furthermore, Asha Bhosle has received several Filmfare Awards, the most prominent film awards in the Indian film industry. She has won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer a staggering seven times, making her one of the most decorated artists in the history of the awards. Her wins include songs from films like “Caravan,” “Don,” and “Chinatown,”.
Apart from these major awards, Asha has been honored with numerous other accolades throughout her career. She has received the Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer multiple times, as well as the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Award for Best Female Playback Singer. She has also been recognized for her contributions to the music industry with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA).
Even in her late 80s, Asha continued to mesmerize audiences with her live performances and remains a symbol of talent, versatility, and resilience in the world of Indian music. In addition to national awards, she has also been recognized internationally for her extraordinary talent.
Asha Bhosle Also Doubles as a Business Woman
Aside from being an entertainer, Asha also excels in the business thanks to her cooking skills. She ventured into the restaurant business and opened restaurants in Dubai and Kuwait known as Asha’s contemporary Indian cuisine. These restaurants offer traditional North-Western Indian cuisine and have garnered popularity among food enthusiasts. In addition to this, she also has restaurants in Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt Birmingham, UK.
She got inspired to open a restaurant following requests from Bollywood celebrities for her mouth-watering dishes. If you are a fan of Hindi films, you’ll see that her paya curry, Goan fish curry, and dal are usually eaten by the Kapoor family.
Asha has also hinted at her plans to make her brand global and in 2004, the former head of Harry Ramsden, Russell Scott secured the UK right to plan to open 40 restaurants over the next five years as part of her chains of restaurants.
The Playback Singer Has Been Married Twice
Asha’s first marriage took place when she was just 16 years old. She eloped with Ganpatrao Bhosle, who was 31 at the time and also her secretary. Unfortunately, her marriage was far from ideal, as her husband and in-laws mistreated her. After enduring a few years of a difficult relationship, she was eventually turned out by her suspicious husband.
She sought refuge at her maternal home with her two children, while pregnant with her third child. Asha and Ganpatrao finally parted ways in 1960. While her love marriage didn’t work out, she once noted that it was her Ganoatrao who forced her to continue singing when she was about to give up the mic for motherhood.
Rahul Dev Burman
Asha Bhosle’s second marriage was in 1980 when she tied the knot with Rahul Dev Burman, a renowned music director in the Indian film industry. He was six years younger than her and had previously been married to Rita Patel, from whom he had divorced in 1971.
Asha’s marriage to Burman lasted from 1980 until his untimely death in 1994. The couple shared a deep bond both personally and professionally, collaborating on numerous successful songs. Despite the loss, Asha continued to excel in her career, receiving critical acclaim and numerous awards for her contributions to the music industry.
She’s a Mother of 3 Children
Asha Bhosle is a mother of three children and she considers them her biggest achievements despite the success her career has given her. had three children from her first marriage; Hemant Bhosle, Varsha, and Anand Bhosle.
Her eldest son, Hemant Bhosle, named after the renowned singer Hemant Kumar, initially pursued a career as a pilot but later ventured into the music direction. Some of his notable compositions include the Kishore-Asha duets “Aji Kaho Kya Haal Hai” and “Sarika” from the film “Anpadh.” Tragically, Hemant passed away in 2015 after battling cancer.
Asha’s daughter Varsha, who worked as a columnist for The Sunday Observer and Rediff, sadly took her own life in 2012 at the age of 56. This was a devastating loss for Asha and her family.
Asha’s youngest child, Anand Bhosle, studied business and film direction. He currently manages Asha’s career and plays a crucial role in her professional endeavors.
Asha Bhosle Controversy with her Elder Sister, Lata
One aspect of Asha Bhosle’s personal life that has received significant attention is her sibling rivalry with her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar, who was also a renowned playback singer. While both sisters have denied any serious rivalry, there have been periods of tension and non-communication between them. Lata reportedly disapproved of Asha’s elopement with her lover and held Asha responsible for leaving her alone to provide for the family through her singing career.
Despite their differences, Asha and Lata have also collaborated on several memorable songs. Their duets, such as “Man Bhawan Ke Ghar Aaye” from the film “Chori Chori” and “Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahi” from “Mere Mehboob,” have left a lasting impact on Indian music.
Following Lata’s death, Asha shared that she was a strong woman whose humility and simple lifestyle continue to inspire millions.