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Asha Bhosle was born on the 8th of September, 1933 in the small settlement of Goar situated in Sangli, Maharashtra. Asha’s father was a classical singer as well as a theatre actor. Her father passed away when she was nine years of age. Her family shifted to Kolhapur and later on to Mumbai. She along with Lata Mangeshkar, her elder sister started acting and singing in movie so as to support their family. Asha Bhosle’s first song in the industry was ‘Chala Chala Nav Bala’ for the 1943 Marathi film named ‘Majha Bal’. Her first song in Hindi films was the song called ‘Saawan Aaya’ for the film ‘Chunaria’ (1948), directed by Hansraj Behl. She was the solo singer for the 1949 film ‘Raat Ki Raani’.
When she was sixteen years of age, she ran away with Ganpatro Bhosle and she married him against the wishes of her family. This marriage failed miserably and she was treated very badly by both her husband as well her in-laws. After some years, in 1960 she was turned out by her husband and she went back to her maternal home along with 2 children and being pregnant with the 3rd child.
During that time, the renowned female lead singers included Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt. Asha Bhosle used to sing for the projects which they refused and this included songs in the second grade films. Most of her songs in her early days used to be composed by Sajjad Hussain, Ghulam Mohammed and A. R. Qureshi. Majority of these songs failed to create much of a stir amongst the people at large. She earned some considerable amount of recognition when she sang in the 1952 film called ‘Sangdil’. Soon after this, she got an offer from the director, Bimal Roy, to sing for his film, ‘Parineeta’ (1953). Next up, she was signed by Raj Kapoor for the song ‘Nanhe Munne Bachche’ in the 1954 film, ‘Boot Polish’. She sang this song along with the renowned Mohammad Rafi. Some of her duets with Mohammad Rafi include ‘Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri’, ‘Saathi Haath Badhana’ and ‘Maang Ke Saath Tumhara’. All these above mentioned songs were penned down by Sahir Ludhianvi and these earned her a lot of recognition.
The first time Asha achieved success was in B. R. Chopra’s 1957 film named ‘Naya Daur’. Following the success of this film, Asha Bhosle was approached by B. R. Chopra for various other films such as ‘Dhund’ (1973), ‘Aadmi Aur Insaan’ (1966), ‘Hamraaz’ (1965), ‘Gumrah’ (1963) and ‘Waqt’ (1965). Soon enough she established herself in the place along with other renowned singers of that time.
By 1990, she had already established herself in the industry and inspite of her versatility and abilities she has at times been stereotyped as a ‘pop-crooner’ and a ‘cabaret singer’. In the year 1981, Asha Bhosle tried singing in a different genre by attempting to sing a few ghazals in the film ‘Umrao Jaan’. These included ‘Justaju Jiski Thi’, ‘Dil Cheez Kya Hai’, ‘Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston’ and ‘In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke’. With these songs, she received her first National Film Award.
R. D. Burman, Gulzar and Asha Bhosle jointly created a double album which was titled ‘Dil Padosi Hai’. This album was released on the 8th of September, 1987.
In the year 1995, Asha Bhosle sang for the renowned actress Urmila Matondkar in the film, ‘Rangeela’. Some of these songs which were sung by Asha and composed by A. R. Rahman included ‘Rangeela Re’ and ‘Tanha Tanha’.
During the month of October in 2004, ‘The Very Best of Asha Bhosle, The Queen of Bollywood’ was released. This was a compilation of all the songs sung by her in films as well as in albums during the period 1966-2003.