It is the month of September and well, today, on the 8th day of the month, we celebrate the birthday of one of the pioneers of Indian music of the modern era. She is none other than the forever radiant and luminescent Asha Bhonsle. In 2011, she was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the “most recorded music artist in world music history.” This year, on the eve of her eighty fourth birthday, we bring to you 10 best songs of hers from her music career that has already been spread over seven decades.
1. O Haseena Zulfonwali
Teaming up with the great Mohammed Rafi in the film Teesri Mazil from 1966, Asha Bhonsle gifted music lovers with a song which had the feelings of Western Rock N’ Roll and Blues combined. The awesome play of words from Majrooh Sultanpuri and the great Rahul Dev Burman heading the music team, this song proved to be a chartbuster. The great Shammi Kapoor and dancing queen Helen brought a larger than life feel for the song on-screen.
2. Mere Sona Re
From Teesri Manzil comes a second song in our list, with the beauty Asha Parekh trying to sincerely woo Shammi Kapoor in the song and later Shammi Kapoor adorned by Mohammed Rafi’s voice reciprocates. With Majrooh Sultanpuri penning the lyrics and Rahul Dev Burman’s great orchestration for the song makes it an audio treat and Asha Bhonsle did complete justice to the song.
3. Aaja Aaja
Teesri Manzil remains remains one of the fondest films in terms of music from the 60s and thus this is the third song from the film we have here. With the same music director, lyricist duo and Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh voiced by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle respectively, the on-screen pair set fire to the dance floor together with their crazy moves in this manic number based on the 50s style of American Rock N’ Roll.
4. Raat Akeli Hai
The 1967 film Jewel Thief, saw the musical direction genius of Sachin Dev Burman and the lyrical magic of Majrooh Sultanpuri alongwith Asha Bhonsle’s voice come together to create one of the biggest hits of the 60s. The on-screen chemistry exhibited by Dev Anand and Tanuja in the song is fondly remembered by all. The song’s great vocal range and modulations still make it one of the toughest songs to sing by any means and Asha Bhonsle had pulled it off fantastically well.
5. Piya Tu Ab To Aaja
This song actually catapulted Asha Bhonsle to the stature of “Queen Of Cabaret” in Indian music. It is from the film Caravan, released in 1971. With the supporting vocals and music direction of Rahul Dev Burman and written by none other than Majrooh Sultanpuri, this song is still sung all around. Helen, here again, plays the key role of the sensually, drunk woman in search of her lover. The phrase “Monica! Oh my darling!” is probably not unknown to anyone in India. This song made Asha Bhonsle win her third Filmare Award for The Best Female Playback Singer in 1972.
6. Dum Maaro Dum
Zeenat Aman became a household name with this song which has since achieved a cult status in India. This number from the 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna was a representation of the hippie culture that was prevalent during those times. With the Rahul Dev Burman as its music director and Anand Bakshi as the lyricist, the song also has supporting vocals by Usha Uthup. The song paved the way for Asha Bhonsle to win her fourth Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1973.
7. Ye Mera Dil
Don was a phenomenal hit in 1978 and the only song sung by a female in the film was this one. With Helen trying to seduce the angry young man Amitabh Bachchan in the song, Asha Bhonsle’s versatility is expressed immensely well in the song. Kalyanji-Anandji being the music directors for the film and Indivar being the lyrical bard for this piece of music, it has remained an immortal song over the years and also helped Asha Bhonsle win her seventh Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1979.
8. Chura Liya Hai
Yaadon Ki Baaraat still remains one of the most emotional films of the 1970s and its release in 1971 provided with an audiogasm for the masses. The song was a duet by Asha Bhonsle with Mohammed Rafi and the song was composed by none other than Rahul Dev Burman and was written by, you guessed it, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Parveen Babi and Vijay Arora’s mutual expression of admiration of each other became a naughty yet loving sequence for the eyes and the orchestration for the song shows what Rahul Dev Burman could really do in his heyday.
9. Dil Cheez Kya Hai
1981 saw the release of the film Umrao Jaan picturising the life of an Awadhi courtesan played by Rekha who falls in love with Nawab Sultan, played by the late Farooq Sheikh. This song became a milestone in Indian music with its complexities in terms of melody and its ballad like lyrics as exhibited through the delightful talents of Khayyam and Shahryar respectively. The song is still loved widely and is close to the hearts of millions.
10. Mera Kuchh Saamaan
Gulzar directed and penned the lyrics for the film Ijaazat. This 1987 film saw Rahul Dev Burman collaborate with his then-wife Asha Bhonsle as music director and singer respectively. In this song, Anuradha Patel requests her lover Naseruddin Shah to return her things which is a metaphor for the memories they shared tohether. Asha Bhonsle dubs it as her masterpiece and believes this song is the closest to her heart of all the songs she has sung till date.
What are your favourites among her songs? Have we missed out any? Make sure you remind us about them just as we have reminded you that 8th September is Asha Ji’s Birthday. Let us all get together, on behalf of the TadTooNew team, and wish her a joyous and beautiful birthday! May we have her blessings and love, and we hope she has a longer life!