Asha Bhonsle has been around on the Indian music scene for nearly 50 years. If
the plaintively innocent voice in the Geeta Dutt-dominated film score of
Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam -- singing Meri baat rahi mere man mein
-- shows her
in one mood, her cheeky songs for R D Burman, like
bring out another, incredibly different
and contrasting character to her voice.
O P Nayyar created for her a singing
style that made her throw out her voice and lend it more
expression and body. Uptil then, she was singing without that
added stress and style which now is characteristic of her singing.
Just listen to the way she goes over the words, the lilt in the
cheerful songs, the ring of truth in the sad songs, the breeziness
in songs filmed on Helen, and the daring to rise to musical
challenges offered by Ghulam Ali on his quirky, quicksilver ghazals.
Ayee re ayee re from Rangeela is one of Asha's more recent
hits, and it's nowhere near her best, and around the same time
she did an album of classical compositions with Ustad Ali
Akbhar Khan, underlining both her versatility and
openness to new and old styles.
And this is
the latest of her efforts, composing music. She is reported to have said, "I
thought it would be very difficult to compose music and I always put
it off whenever people asked me. But when I got down to it, I found
it very easy."
Asha also acknowledges that this was the last
album that Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote lyrics for, and wishes he were around to
listen to her tunes and critique them.
debut album, which came about thanks to
the prompting of Vijay Lazarus of Universal Music, was released in May
2001 in Mumbai by Sachin Tendulkar.
The R D Burman and O P Nayyar feel
is evident in all songs on Aap ki Asha
. Na marte hum is more RD whereas Dil mera gaye ja
is definitely in the O P Nayyar form, with its leaning towards
the ghazal idiom.
Na marte hum sounds
like R D Burman of the Sanam Teri Kasam days, in the '80s to
be precise. A fast track. Haske mila na karo doesn't make
much of an impression.
salamat is Arab in its inflexions
and works from a low pitch. Asha, needless to say, handles the micro inflexions with ease and her voice adds a pouting, sultry dimension. The
orchestral arrangement by Tarun Sutradhar is intelligent and dreamily introduces voices
and lutes and takes its time developing instead of prosaically
Dekhna aa ha is too light to stay on, though
it tries to bring back the R D Burman aa-aahs to Asha's voice. The interludes are all done in the pop style but the overall effect is insipid. Dil mera gaye ja starts with a bansuri and synth strings, and its slow movement reminded me a little of Yeh subah kabhi na ayegi by Hemant
Kumar and O P Nayyar of course.
Aisa bhi kya has a fast version and a hip hop version. Interesting in its unexpected progression, the tune has the drawback of using a rather unimaginative violin and guitar orchestra arrangement, which thanks to the Hindi film music industry's overuse, sounds stale.
Dil pyar mein lutake has all the influence that Asha, as O P Nayyar's
favourite singer, must surely have imbibed. It also has some of
those jazzy trumpet influences. The ei ei chorus in the present-day style adds a contemporary touch to a tune reminiscent of the good old days.
Uljhi laton ki tarah starts with an alaap in
raga Miya ki Malhar. Then the bass and chorus take over. The opening
stanza goes back to a traditional raga based tune, and in the
interlude the beat stress changes and a solo violin, in the style of
L Subramaniam, dazzles with its quick phrases. On the song itself tip
toeing notes on the piano lend a charm all their own.
with her long years of experience and intimate knowledge of so many
great composer's styles needs to come up with her own distinct
style. With her name she can be bold enough to test unusual
arrangements. While commercial filmdom sets cliches as standards,
for someone of her stature the way to being different is surely
S Suchitra Lata
Posted on 20
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