Interview with Bollywood singer, Asha Bhosle

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Legendry Bollywood singer, Asha Bhosle is in the UK for her much awaited tour with classical maestro, Shujaat Khan. BizAsia.co.uk catches up with the superstar about her successful music career.

You�۪ve been a singer for 68 years, from the age of 10 – that�۪s a long time. How did it all start? Have you never tired of it?
You have got your maths right. It all began with me listening to my father singing and watching him act on stage. I was mesmerised by music, acting and theatre. My older sister Lata entered the entertainment world before me and found almost overnight success. I guess music and drama runs in our blood. I naturally gravitated towards it took to it like a duck takes to water. Music will never tire me. It’s like the air I breathe. The day it stops, I will stop breathing.

It�۪s been 14 years since you last teamed up with a classical musician. Why now? Tell us about the new album, Naina Lagai Ke, with sitar virtuoso and vocalist Shujaat Khan.
My earlier Grammy Nominated album ‘Legacy’ was recorded in 1995 with the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan who was one of the greatest musicians of our time. At first I was wary about recording with such a great man and even told him so, but he had full faith in my abilities and said I would do justice to his centuries old tunes (handed down to him through generations from father to son). Many years have passed since then, but the yearning to record classical music was in me and the perfect opportunity arose when Shujaat asked me to do an album with him. Shujaat, as you know is the son of Ustad Vilayat Khan, who I consider one of the best sitar maestros in the world. His father and I were close friends and colleagues. I have recorded for him too. When I heard Shujaat’s tunes, I was immediately captivated by their simplicity. Please note that they are not simple to sing but the way they have been constructed makes them appear simple, but they are intricate and beautiful. Shujaat is a wonderful human being and musician. It was great fun working with him on the album as it’s going to be performing in concerts with him.

You�۪ve playback sang in more than thousand Bollywood movies.
Which was the best, in your opinion?
And, were there any you missed out on that you wish you�۪d been featured in?
This is really tough question to answer. When I sang, I gave my 100% to each song. They are like my children. Some became famous, while others disappeared into obscurity, but I love them all and if I show favouritism to a few, then the others will get upset.

There must be so much to chose from, but what has been the highlight of your career, and why?
I have never thought of any one incident as my career highlight. There have been many such instances. My attitude to life is to look forward. I don’t pause to look back. Move ahead. The future is waiting and there’s so much more to do.

What music do you listen to?
Who do you rate right now, on the Indian/Bollywood scene, and in Western society?
I don’t favour a particular style. Good music is good. Period. It doesn’t have to be of a certain genre to be good. I listen to all types of music. There are many good composers in India and in the West.

We hear you are quite a cook, and have a few restaurants.
What is it about cooking that inspires you? Who taught you to cook?
Music and food are my 2 true passions. Food began as a hobby and blossomed into a successful business. I have several restaurants in different countries, including the UK. My chain of restaurants are called ‘Asha’s’ and there’s one in central Birmingham as well, which has one many accolades and awards and has been in the Michelin Guide for 2 years running. I’m proud of my restaurants. Like Music, Food is a passion for me. When I cook, I feel happy, as though I’m creating a masterpiece and when my food is appreciated, it gives me a tremendous high. I feel well and accomplished. Some one pointed out to me that quite a few musicians are good chefs as well. Perhaps, music and food go hand in hand ? Cooking is about experimenting. Adding ingredients and getting it right. It’s similar to music, where we strive to hit the right notes and chords and once we succeed, it feels wonderful. I have learnt cooking from various teachers. Everyday housewives, musicians, great chefs, etc. I have mixed and matched their recipes, added some bits of my own and created something to appreciate.

BizAsia.co.uk is the Official Online Media Partner for the UK leg of this tour.

Visit the Saregama Events website: www.saregamaevents.com for further information.

Wednesday 16th March
Royal Festival Hall
London
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: �15 – �55
Box Office: 0844 875 0073
www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Friday 18th March
Symphony Hall
Birmingham
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: �15 – �55
Box Office: 0121 780 3333
www.thsh.co.uk

Sunday 20th March
De Montfort Hall
Leicester
Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: �20 – �45
Box Office: 0116 233 3111
www.demontforthall.co.uk

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