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Asha does a Kishore

The prima donna of playback singing is now a music composer. Aap ki Asha is Asha Bhonsle's first effort in a new capacity, and she says she has naturally taken inspiration from the legion of music composers she has worked with.

Asha says she first showed her tunes to her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar, who wasn't exactly impressed. That made her put in extra efforts to polish her tunes.

Asha with R D BurmanAnother star singer who had turned composer was Kishore Kumar, who made the score a couple of films like Jhumroo. His southern counterpart S P Balasubramanyam too took up a couple of composing assignments; none of his songs became smash hits though. Among Hindi cinema's better known singer-composers is Hemant Kumar. Composers like S D Burman, R D Burman, Bappi Lahiri, and lately A R Rahman have sung a stray song or two, but it is rarer to find singers venturing into composing.

Sachin Tendulkar released Asha's album in Mumbai, and the launch was a high glitz affair. As if Asha wasn't glamour enough, there was a fashion show with models like Nethra Raghuraman (she was the heroine in the film Bhopal Express) and Aditi Gowitrikar, who showed off period costumes to match classics like O meri sona re sona re. The '90s were represented by a Rangeela number. 

Vijay Lazarus of Universal Music spurred Asha to try her hand at composing. Sonu Nigam and Adnan Sami Khan also came for the launch.

Asha ahaha Asha: Read review of Asha's Legends collection

Malgudi man is dead

Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman in Narayan's 'Guide'R K Narayan, who wrote a lifetime of novels and short stories about a small south Indian town he called Malgudi, died in Chennai on May 13. He was 94.

Narayan was one of the earliest to write about smalltown India in English, and along with Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand, set the stage for later Indian writing in English.


Narayan's novel The Guide turned out to be a big hit when it was made into a Hindi film
 directed by Vijay Anand. Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman played the lead roles, and the songs they sang, Aaj phir jeene ka tamanna hai and Gata rahe mera dil have entered the ranks of Indian cinema's evergreen favourites. Narayan humorously described in one of his essays how, as a special invitee, he watched the shooting of this film for a day.

The Financial Expert, another of his famous novels, was turned into a Kannada film called Banker Margayya. Narayan was appreciative of this effort, and was also very happy with Malgudi Days, a serial in Kannada and Hindi directed by the actor-director Shankar Nag.


Killer dye claims singer

Sri Lankan singer Malini Bulathasinghala died on March 28, and the killer is suspected to be a hair dye.

Malini was on a US concert tour, and her sudden death sent the Lankan media speculating on the cause. She collapsed at the Sri Lankan's consul's house in Los Angeles after she smeared dye on her hair.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office report has reportedly concluded that her sudden onset of difficulty in breathing supports the diagnosis of an ashtmatic response to the henna dye.

The brand Malini used, Eagle's Black Henna, is popular in Lanka, and is made in Delhi. Ram Gopal and Sons, manufacturers of the dye, told The New Indian Express that said they suspected a fake which used their brandname. 

Daler's word trouble 

Daler Mehndi has decided to change the words of a song after a Mumbai-based Islamic group objected to the use of Nabi in it.

Raza Academy said the bhangra-pop singer had hurt Muslim sentiments by using a word that refers only to the Prophet. It also complained that the video shows "women dancing in an obscene way". The group also demonstrated against the singer at Azad Maidan.

Daler Mehndi's latest album, in Punjabi, is titled Nabi Buba Nabi. On May 10, Andheri police raided the office of Universal Music and seized copies of the audio and video cassettes. They were also tracing out other godowns where the tapes could be stored.

A day before the raids, Universal Music had decided to drop from the album the words Nabi, Ali and Medina. The singer has denied the charge that he meant disrespect to the Prophet. He says the idea for the album came in a dream, and the video been done with "full respect to Islam".

Ilaiyaraja records for Yuvan

Ilaiyaraja has just recorded a number for son Yuvan Shankar Raja.

The maestro's younger son is making the music for Nanda, which will be directed by Bala, who shot to fame with Sethu, which portrays the life of a psychologically distressed lover.

Sethu was an unexpected hit, and Ilaiyaraja, besides making the music, had sung Yenge sollum, a melancholic solo in it.

Yuvan went on record to say it was difficult to get his father to sing. Ilaiyaraja was apprehensive that if he sang people would say that he was helping Yuvan with the composing as well. He relented after the young composer told him that the film's situation demanded his voice.

Yuvan's recent albums are Poovellam Kettupaar and Deena, the second of which did well.

Sethu won a national award, and its hero Vikram missed the national award for best actor by one vote to Mohanlal's performance in Shaji N Karun's Vaanaprastham.

In Nanda, the lead role is played by Surya, son of actor Shivakumar.

Namagiripettai Krishnan
is dead

One of India's greatest nagaswaram maestros died of a heart attack. He was 70.

Read review of a Namagiripettai Krishnan album

More obits:

PREM DHAWAN (78), lyricist and music director, died in Mumbai on May 8. He created songs for Ziddi, Do Raaha, Pyar ka Sagar and Dus Lakh. He had also choreographed some numbers.