LYNN, MA—Just like her songs of all genres, octogenarian legend Asha Bhosle gave it all to Bostonians last night: humor, wit, emotions, action and of course her iconic Bollywood songs with occasional anecdotes. And, audience went euphoric and loved every bit of Bhosle.
“Boston ke bhai bahno jo mera pranam,” she greeted everyone and conducted the entire show in Hindi. “This is my last show. I don’t know if I can sing the songs I want to sing.”
The audience shouted “no, no, it is not your last show” as Bhosle, 84, became emotional. Boston was the last leg of her US concerts which was billed as Bhosle’s farewell tour to the United States.
At 84, Bhosle looked elegant, charming and sang some of her famous Bollywood songs that many in the audience grew up with.
One of her opening songs was: O Saathi Re Tere Bina Kiya Jeena from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978.)
Bhosle also joked about today’s remixes, saying that when she listens remixes of her songs, she has to ask someone if it was her song or not. Then, she sang Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko from Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973.)
She told the audience a story about one of her visits to Calcutta with her husband legendry musician R.D. Burman (who passed away in 1994). She recalled that both were quietly sitting on the banks of Ganges in star-lit night and listening to “panni ki chham chham” and Burman became very quiet and told her that he had composed the tune for the song he was working on, and then she sang that song to the Boston audience: Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani from The Great Gambler (1979.)
She asked the audience to join her and the audience loved every bit of it. Bhosle said that wherever she goes on a big musical tour like the one she currently completing, she visits her elder sister: Lata Mangeshkar to get her blessings. She told Mangeshkar that people often ask about her during her trips and that what message she should give. Mageshkar told Bhosle that sing this song, and Bhosle delivered this beautifully to the audience: Lag Ja Gale Ki Phir Ye Hasin Raat Ho Na Ho, Shaayad Phir Is Janam Men Mulaaqaat Ho Na Ho from Woh Kaun Thi (1964.)
Others songs she sang included: Kajra Mohabbat Wala from Kismat (1968); Jhumka Gira Re Bareli Ke Bazaar Mein from Mera Saaya (1966); and Dum Maro Dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971.)
She also introduced a new young singer to the Boston audience: her granddaughter Zanai Bhosle, who beautifully sang O Mere Sona Re Sona Re Sona from Teesri Manzil (1966.)
Bhosle was joined by Javed Ali, a Bollywood playback singer who has been singing since 2000. Known for tracks like “Ishaqzaade” and “Tum tak”, Ali earlier this year released a new single “Rangreziya”, which is a tribute to love.
Ali sang his own songs as well song sung by other legendary singers. Ali sang his hit Nagada Nagada from Jab We Met (2007)
The Asha Bhosle Boston concert with a live orchestra was organized and hosted by Generation Bollywood USA. Emcee of the evening was Swathi Subramanian, founder and president of SwaRaag Performing Arts, Inc. The concert was held at Lynn Memorial Auditorium in Lynn, MA.
Best known as a playback singer in Hindi cinema, Bhosle’s career started in 1943 and has spanned over seven decades. She has done playback singing for over a thousand Bollywood movies, in addition to recording several private albums and participating in numerous solo concerts in India and abroad.
Apart from Hindi, Bhosle has sung in over 20 Indian and foreign languages. In 2011, she was officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. The Government of India honored her with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Seven Filmfare awards, two National Awards and a dozen other laurels adorn her trophy cabinet.