Asha Bhosle needs no introduction. At the age of 84, the vivacious singer continues to reinvent herself. She will soon be heard singing in Hindi and Marathi for a film called WhatsApp Love, for music director Nitin Shankar.
Asha ji and R.D. Burman first gave Nitin an opportunity to direct music for them over 30 years ago. Reminiscing her decision, the singer says, “Nitin was an exuberant percussionist and a good musician even before I met him. We knew that his music was par excellence, and so we decided to let him lend music to our songs. We supported him to the fullest, and he has grown consistently over time.”
Talking about her latest project with the music director, Asha ji says that she is happy to be doing a fun, pop song once again. “I just recorded a Hindi song for the film WhatsApp Love today. I was happy to note that it was a peppy, sexy number. The lyrics are undeniably catchy, and I enjoyed lending my voice to the song. I will be recording the Marathi version in a few days,” she says.
Pausing to think for a minute, she adds, “I have told them, ‘Jaise Hindi ke bol vajndar likhe hain, waise hi Marathi ke bol bhi likhe jane chahiye’.” (The Marathi lyrics should be as powerful as the Hindi lyrics)
Asha ji believes that lyrics can make or break a song. “If the lyrics of a song are not written well, it will vanish from the audience’s memory in no time. Songs that do not have meaningful lyrics are only good to dance to, and that too, not always.”
The singer has never shied away from seductive songs. And even at this age, she’s willing to have fun with a sexy number. “Anything that is disclosed in a graceful fashion is enjoyed by people. Songs may have sexy lyrics, but they should not be shameful. Such numbers become chartbusters.”
She doesn’t think today’s lyricists are able to maintain that balance between sexiness and grace. “Writers feel that bringing nudeness into a song will make it click with audiences. But that is not true. Lyrics are what everyone pays attention to. So if the lyrics are written carefully, and things are talked about respectfully, a song can be enjoyed by music lovers and laymen alike,” she says.
It’s after quite a long time that Asha ji will be singing for a movie. But with her years of experience, it’s only natural that she should be picky about the projects. “I do get offers to sing songs, but they’re usually not to my liking. If I do not like the lyrics of a song, I refuse to sing it. If I sing worthless songs at this point, people will point fingers at me and say ‘What’s wrong with her? Why is she singing such songs at this age?’”
But whether she’s working or not, the disciplined singer continues to practice on a daily basis. “I regularly devote four hours to riyaaz (practice). The timing isn’t fixed — sometimes in the morning, and sometimes in the evening.” Her message for budding talents — “Girls, work hard and remain grounded. Don’t ever let success get to your head.”