If you are someone who loves music as much as you can live every minute with it (if life permits), if you are someone who in your heart of hearts always live in that imaginary musical world that you have unknowingly created and if you have boundary less infinite love for a musician, no you do not need to be a music connoisseur. Just a devoted lover. Then this blog post might be worth a read since there is a greater chance that some of you might connect with this - more so at musical emotional levels.
I felt ecstatic that moment in my life - Sep 6th 2015 - a date that I will remember and cherish for years to come. I have had a chance to physically see and hear my all time favorite singer THE ONE AND ONLY - THE VERSATILE - EVER CHARMING - EVER YOUTHFUL - ASHA BHONSLE jee live on stage.
She entered the stage with such grace such vibrancy that you are sure to go WOWWW as you see her walk up to the front of the stage. Her voice was so deep, so clear, so sweet, so mischievous even now and of course so musical even as she talks to the audience and shares her experiences. Not that we all expected her to perform for a 2 plus hours musical concert at 80 plus. Am sure all fans were there just to see and hear her live in front of the eyes even if it were for few minutes. Auditorium was packed tight with 95% occupancy. Her intro was her own signature song BGM for "Churaliya hai tumne.." while she started the concert with one of her most popular number of none other but O P Nayyar composition from 1958..."Aayiye meherbaan...baithiye jaaneja". You can't escape not visualizing the naughtiness and mischief of Madhubala in Asha jee's voice. WOWWWW...what an entry that was. Clad in a beautiful pink saree she swept away all the hearts at once - thrilled and amazed crowd got glued to her until she took her first break.
72 years of singing leaving her place untouched with the Guinness book of world records. Recollecting her times with her father , sister and family as a child she says "Main kuch bhi gaati hoon. dus saal ki umar se gaa rahi hoon. bhajan se lekar helen kaa gaana tak. Bus munni nahi gaaongi...naahi shoba ki jawani (she meant shiela ki jawani LOL)" and laughts it off. She was vibrant, charming, energetic, witty, naughty and elegant all at once.
When you think of her, how many songs come to your mind that you want to hear at that moment? Countless numbers of those thousands and thousands of bollywood hits bringing her voice as innocent as it needs to be, as flirtatious as it can be, as heartbroken as it should be, as naughty as it has to be or as reverent as it occurs to be.
Read somewhere that Asha jee had collaborated not just with film composers but also with Indian classical musicians, like Ali Akbar Khan and with Westerners from Boy George to Michael Stipe of R.E.M to the Kronos Quartet. Now think of these unforgettable numbers - from classical to ghazal to folk to club song - Piya bavree from Khoobsoorat, In Ankhon ki Masti from Umrao Jaan ( It is sooo hard to pick one song from Umrao jaan indeed) , jhumka girare bareli ke bazaar me from Mera saaya, timeless classic dum maro dum, never before never after song "Mera kuch samaan tumhare paas pada hai " from Ijaazat as it can be this list is endless.
The more I keep thinking of her the more I want to listen, the more I listen the more I want to explore, the more time I spend the more I get into a trance. Yes I must say I am entranced in her voice her singing her style and her Charisma.
Asha jee simply hypnotizes her audience/listeners not just with her singing versatility but her exceptional energy levels. "Agar main nahi gaati to main hee nahi hoti" she says. She is born for music or may be music is born for her. Needless to talk about her versatile singing talent. What I am trying to share is that lovely persona that charisma that fans get mesmerized by. Recollecting her association with her family and of course Panchamda's influence on her she shared many such stories to keep the audience stay connected with her. Beautiful melody "Do lafzon kee hai dil ki kahani " still echoes in my ears with the Kashthi wale ki kahani that she shared. As she paid tribute to her loving sister the LEGEND Latha jee with "Lag jaa gale ke fir ye haseen raat ho na ho" there was sudden silence in the auditorium with moist eyes. One cannot escape that magic.
With each break she returns beautifully dressed with a different saree each time the last one being a silver shimmer saree. Vivaciously Asha jee comes back on to the stage picking up one of the most haunted numbers Dum maro dum followed by Piya tu ab to aaja which can be easily lip sync'd to Helen's performance played on the screen behind her. It was simply mind blowing. Let me remind you again Asha jee is now 83.
If ever I want to hear her soulful singing I get stuck to one of her soulful rendition of Gulzar - especially when she sings these lines - "Ek sau sola chand ki raatein , ek tumhare kandhe ka til", "ek ijaazat dedo bas jab inko dafnaaoongi main bhi wahin sojaaoongi" - unforgettable from "Mera kuch saamaan tumhare paas pada hai" This song remains in my heart forever.
I want to now borrow Qayyam saab's ghazal from Umrao jaan to say -
yaad aapki kabhi dastak kabhi saragoshi se
din dhale yun aapki aawaz bulaati hai hamen
zindagi jab bhi aapki bazm mein laati hai hamen
ye zamin chand se behatar nazar aati hai hamen
May GOD give you longer life and happiness Asha jee. With lots and lots and lots of love wishing you a very very Happy Birthday.