Asha Bhosle (1957-’58-’59)

I’ve been presenting a song list on Asha Bhosle’s birthday for the last three years. This year as well I have plans for the post. For the last few months the idea of today’s post was on my mind. On previous occasions I presented Asha Bhosle’s association with Madan Mohan, Khayyam and Salil Chowdhury. But today I wish to reminisce about a particular time period of her singing career.

Asha Bhosle started her Hindi film playback career in 1948 when she was just 15. Contrary to popular belief, her first song was a trio for the film ‘Andhon Ki Duniya’, composed by Vasant Desai. The movie was released in January 1948, while Chunariya was released in November 1948, making the former her actual debut. Both the songs being trios, perhaps her presence was not noted. Both the songs are not available on YouTube at present. The following year, she married Ganpatrao Bhosle much against her family’s wishes. It is said that Lata Mangeshkar severed all ties with her and wasn’t on speaking terms for several years after the marriage. Unfortunately, Asha Bhosle’s married life wasn’t happy and she had to earn her living by playback singing. In the initial period, she accepted all the songs that came her way, the majority of the songs being picturised on dancers and other supporting characters. The films used to be low budget or B and C grade. Yet slowly but surely she developed her own style and began singing for first rung composers. Right from Shankar Jaikishan and S D Burman to Naushad and C Ramchandra, she entered the camps of all the leading composers.

But today I’m going to focus on her career during a particular period in the late 50s. I want to highlight her career during the years 1957-58. Why did I choose this period? For me, it was the period when her career was rapidly attaining heights of popularity and wide acceptance. She was the first choice for a few first rung composers, the reasons could be multiple! But the songs she sang during the period showcased her versatility and the majority of the songs belonged to A grade movies. That must have boosted her career to a major extent.

Let’s consider the composers on my list one by one.

1. Firstly, let’s see her association with S D Burman during that period. Due to the misunderstandings or differences between Lata Mangeshkar and S D Burman, the latter ceased the alliance. Asha Bhosle was in his musical team from the movie, Laal Kunwar, released in 1952. The next year saw her singing for him in the movie Armaan. Lata Mangeshkar had no songs in the movie. For the majority of the movies thereafter, Asha Bhosle was in a secondary position, with the exception of Taxi Driver in 1954 (where she sang for the heroine, Kalpana Kartik as well as for the supporting character, Sheila Ramani) and Fantoosh in 1956 (she was the only female voice of the movie). But the scenario changed in 1957-58. Barring a couple of songs in Paying Guest (1957) and three songs in Miss India (1957), Lata Mangeshkar vanished from Burman Da’s team. Again just a couple of songs in Sitaron Se Aage (1958) and that’s it! Asha Bhosle completely took over and became Burman Da’s main female voice for a few years. It is said that he was thinking of Geeta Dutt, but due to her personal problems, she wasn’t available for rehearsals and that she suggested Asha Bhosle’s name. Of course there is nothing to prove or disprove this story. And he took a wise decision to offer all the songs to Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt was relegated to a secondary lead.

Asha-S D

When the differences resolved, Lata Mangeshkar was back in his team in 1962 and unfortunately Asha Bhosle was thrown in second position once again. But for those 4 to 5 years, Asha Bhosle created magic for S D Burman, making the latter compose popular and hit songs despite Lata’s absence. Many of the composers couldn’t create popular songs once they departed with Lata Mangeshkar for various reasons. Burman Da was an exception. And of course equal credit should go to Asha Bhosle for fulfilling his expectations. Though the period was for a long four and half years, the story manifested in 1957-58. And what an association Asha Bhosle and Burman Da had! A full blast! Nau Do Gyarah, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Kala Pani, Lajwanti, Solva Saal, Insaan Jaag Utha, Sujata, Bombai Ka Babu, Kala Bazaar. I’ll add my favourites only from the mentioned period.

Dhalki Jaye Chundaria Hamari – Nau Do Gyarah (1957) / S D Burman – Majrooh
Though Asha Bhosle was sort of restricted to dance numbers and bubbly songs, Burman Da made her sing a pure romantic song. And the result was marvelous. Very apt expressions and fantastic voice modulation. Though Burman Da must have changed his style of songs to suit Asha’s voice, the latter must also have worked hard to deliver the desired effect.

Koi Aaya Dhadkan Kehti Hai – Lajwanti (1958) / S D Burman – Majrooh
I’m very much fond of all three solos of Asha Bhosle from Lajwanti. Asha certainly has changed her style altogether for these difficult songs. It’s near to impossible to imitate exactly the way she has sung the songs. I’ve added my favourite. It is also the most popular song, though Gaa Mere Man Gaa  and Ek Hans Ka Joda are equally enchanting.

Nazar Lagi Raja Tore Bangle Par – Kala Pani (1958) / S D Burman – Majrooh
Wonderful Mujra picturised on Nalini Jaywant. Excellent rendition, perfect हरकतें. The opening aalap is so crisp it steals your heart and ensures an audiovisual treat. Asha Bhosle was the only female voice for the movie and she sang for the lead, Madhubala and the supporting character, Nalini Jaywant. In fact the latter gets more songs.

Chhod Do Aanchal – Paying Guest (1957) with Kishore Kumar / S D Burman – Majrooh
I always wonder if Burman Da offered the song to Asha only because he departed with Lata Mangeshkar? No! I guess not. The song was indeed meant for Asha Bhosle. What a nice rendition. Such an energetic, bubbly and exuberant song.

Ruk Jao Na Jee – Chalti Ka Naam Gadi (1958) / S D Burman – Majrooh
Madhubala tries to engage Sajjan by singing a naughty song. She wants to engage him so that Kishore Kumar would follow him. And again what a perfect feel Asha adds to the song!

2. Let me present her association with C Ramchandra now.
Asha Bhosle joined his musical team in 1954. She was offered mainly the songs of supporting characters. In the late 50s however, her share of songs slowly increased (had Chitalkar foreseen his breakup with Lata Mangeshkar?). Till 1957, Asha Bhosle sang the songs of other characters. She was not offered songs for the main lead. For Devta, she sang for Vaijayanti Mala, who played a vamp. For the film Aasha (1957) however, a Rock N Roll song, Ina Mina Dika, demanded a different kind of singer. Asha Bhosle was a perfect choice. So she sang for Vaijayanti Mala. But majority of Vaijayanti Mala songs from Aasha were sung by Lata Mangeshkar. In Sharda, Asha Bhosle sang for three songs, one song each picturised on Shyama and Anita Guha. The third song that came her way was a dance number. Again Meena Kumari was the main lead, and all her songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar. In 1958, Lata’s songs started dwindling and slowly Asha took over. Finally in Talaq, Lata Mangeshkar completely disappeared from the team and didn’t sing for him till the end of the decade.

Asha - CR
In 1958-59, Asha Bhosle became his preferred choice for the main lead . But the association wasn’t as glorious as with Burman Da. Chitalkar lost all his creativity and charm. Though he could recreate the magic in Navrang, it was just an exception! So even if Asha Bhosle became his muse, I doubt if it really helped her. But the scenario fits my theme.
Let’s listen to a few of my favourites from the years 1958-59.

Ye Jee Chahta Hai – Amardeep (1958) / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
I couldn’t get the video of the song, perhaps it wasn’t included in the movie. But I have always liked it. The film has no clear assignment of a singer to a particular character. Both Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar sing for Vyjayanti Mala and Padmini.

Jhuk Gayi Dekho Gardan – Talaq (1958) / C Ramchandra – Kavi Pradeep
Wasn’t aware of this delightful fun song. It’s a pity what Rajendra Kumar is going through! It was Asha Bhosle’s forte to sing such songs. She’s excellent for sure in this one too!

Tum Mere Main Teri – Navrang (1959) / C Ramchandra – Bharat Vyas
Navrang was the film where C Ramchandra could deliver hit and popular songs in the absence of Lata Mangeshkar. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the story for any other film. While Navrang has a number of dance songs, I particularly chose a soft, soothing, romantic melody. Just listen to a mere whisper-like voice. Still it appeals so much.

Main Kyun Na Nachu – Paigham (1959) / C Ramchandra – Kavi Pradeep
Though a few of the songs of Paigham are still popular, it’s not one of the greatest hits by C Ramchandra. I chose this beautiful dance number by Vyjayanti Mala. Asha Bhosle has done a perfectly fine job.

3. The third composer on my list is, of course, O P Nayyar.
She was a part of his team right from his second film, Chham Chhama Chham (1952) where she was his main singer, with just one song to Shamshad Begum. But she was missing in the next two films, Baaz and Aar Paar, perhaps because both the films were directed by Guru Dutt. And hence Geeta Dutt was an obvious choice. Afterwards, she sang for him as the main singer for a few movies, like Mangu (1954), Baap Re Baap (1955), Bhagam Bhag, Dhake Ki Malmal, Hum Sab Chor Hai & Sab Se Bada Rupaiya (all from the year, 1956).

But during that period, Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum were also prominent singers of the team, who sang for films like, Aasman (1952), Baaz (1953), Aar Paar (1954), Mehbooba (1954). For a few films like, Miss Coca Cola (1955), Musafir Khana (1955), Chhoo Mantar (1956), Qaidi (1957) and Johnny Walker (1957), a mixture of all the three female singers was seen. So for a few movies, Geeta Dutt would sing for the main lead, and for others, Asha Bhosle. And the other singers would sing for the supporting characters. But during the period 1957-58, the picture changed. Geeta Dutt wasn’t available for rehearsals as demanded by Nayyar, whereas Asha Bhosle managed to stick to her commitments despite her family problems. And it is also said that Asha Bhosle and Nayyar had more than professional relationships. So slowly Geeta Dutt and Shamshad faded away giving Asha Bhosle an opportunity to lead the female playback front in Nayyar’s musical team.

Asha - OP

From 1957 onwards, Asha Bhosle was the main singer, except for the film 12 O’clock in 1958. So later for a majority of the films Asha Bhosle was his Main female playback singer while Geeta Dutt was his choice for the other supporting characters. This went on for a few years until both Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt disappeared completely from his team. Nayyar was so obsessed with Asha’s voice that in the 1960s, for a few of Asha’s duets Nayyar didn’t offer separate lines for the other singer, making the latter more or less a Chorus singer.
Let me add a few of my favourites from the period, 1957-58.

Dil To Razamand Hai – Mai Baap (1957) / O P Nayyar – Anjaan
A typically delightful Nayyar melody. Pleasing to ears and eyes. There’s nothing exceptional, but still I like the cheerful song.

Aaiye Meharbaan – Howrah Bridge (1958) / O P Nayyar – Qamar Jalalabadi
An iconic song, still remembered for Asha Bhosle, Madhubala and O P Nayyar. Three of them create absolute magic with the song. No one can sing it the way Asha Bhosle sings it. Absolutely wonderful.

Teer Yeh Chhupke Chalaya Kisne – Phagun (1958) / O P Nayyar – Qamar Jalalabadi
The film was full of Asha Bhosle songs, a few solos and a few duets. I remember it mainly for its attractive tune and the flute pieces in the interlude. And to top it all, Madhubala looks great.

Chhota Sa Balma – Raagini (1958) / O P Nayyar – Qamar Jalalabadi
O P Nayyar had no formal training in classical music, still he composed a few semi classical songs. This is one of the songs. Excellently sung and enchanting pieces of Sarangi.

Ajab Hamari Hai Zindagani – Kabhi Andhera Kabhi Ujala (1958) / O P Nayyar – Hasrat Jaipuri
A sort of philosophical song, adorned with heart touching violin and shehnai pieces. Sung with apt feel and expressions.

4. The fourth composer on my list is Madan Mohan. Though I already had a couple of posts dedicated to the combo, it fits today’s theme as well.

Asha -MM
Asha Bhosle joined his team right from his second film, Ada (1951). Though the film is remembered more as Lata’s first film with Madan Mohan, it’s also Asha’s first film with him. She sang a duet which was for a supporting character. She went on to sing for him, notably for Chacha Choudhary (1953), where she was the main voice, perhaps because it was a low budget film. She was the main singer for Ilzam (1954) and Memsaab (1956), when she sang for the most beautiful looking Meena Kumari. In between she sang for Madan Mohan, but not always for the main lead. The story continued till 1957.

Let’s have a look at Madan Mohan’s films in 1958. A total of eight films were released in the year.


asha mm table


And out of Lata’s seven songs, one solo from Adalat (Jana The Humse Door) and a duet from Aakhri Dao (Woh Chand Muskaya) were not a part of the respective movies. It’s a clear win for Asha Bhosle, five times more than the songs by Lata Mangeshkar. But I am not concluding that Madan Mohan had plans to shift to Asha Bhosle as his lead singer. It might have happened by chance or he might have chosen Asha Bhosle due to a lesser budget. It’s just my observation, that’s it! But it can be noted that in forthcoming years as well, he offered Asha Bhosle a few songs for the main lead, even though the songs were duets. Still for a couple of films in 1959, Bank Manager and Minister, again Asha Bhosle had more songs. So the year 1958 after all had an impact on their association.

Let’s have a look at a few of my favourites by Asha Bhosle from the 1958 films.

Zameen Se Humein Aasman Par – Adalat (1958) / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
Adalat is the one movie where Asha Bhosle sings for multiple characters including the main lead Nargis. The romantic song is extremely popular and still considered one of the iconic songs. The softness in Asha’s voice is very soothing.

Hai Unki Woh Nigahein – Aakhri Dao (1958) / Madan Mohan – Majrooh
It’s an energetic, vivacious song. Nutan looks beautiful, Shekhar makes strange faces as if he’s in danger. I like the song for its youthful tune, pleasant whistling and Asha’s excellent expressions.

Jab Thoda Thoda Aankhon Se – Chandan (1958) / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
A wonderful qawwali, one of the handfuls, Madan Mohan composed. Though the audio quality is poor, we can very well appreciate Asha’s beautiful singing and the qawwali full of punch.

Main Hoon Jadugar – Night Club (1958) / Madan Mohan – Majrooh
As the name suggests, the film had a number of club songs. The songs were picturised on Kamini Kaushal and Nishi. I’ve added one that is picturised on the former. It’s in a typical club song style, sung with perfect expressions by Asha Bhosle. Quite an enjoyable song! But it was difficult for me to watch Kamini Kaushal in such a role. Usually I’ve seen her playing sober roles.

Jogiya Jogiya Kahan Jane Laga – Khota Paisa (1958) / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
It’s a beautiful dance number picturised on Shyama and Johnny Walker. Shyama looks beautiful and dances well too. Asha’s flawless rendition makes the song an audiovisual treat. What effortless rendition ! She makes it look so easy.

Here, I end my post. I hope the readers find the concept interesting and add their favourites befitting the theme.

Before I sign off, let me wish Asha Tai a very happy 88th Birthday and many more years of healthy life.

Photos taken from Internet. Asha Bhosle & C Ramchandra photo by Kaustubh Pingale

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

13 Replies to “Asha Bhosle (1957-’58-’59)”

  1. What a lovely lot of songs – some of my favourites are here. Thank you so much for these, Anupji. In addition, I really like Dekhke teri nazar from Howrah Bridge and Yeh zaalim nigaahon ki ghaat from Khota Paisa.

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  2. Anup,
    This is a very impressive perspective of Asha Bhosle’s early career, her evolution and her hitting the jackpot with four music directors. There were some fortuitous circumstances, such as SDB-Lata Mangeshkar spat, OP Nayyar’s ‘more than professional’ relationship with her etc. But luck plays a very important part in most successes. If you listen to her early songs, you would feel she was trying to find her destination – at times she sounds like Lata Mangeshkar, and other times seems to be following Geeta Dutt. To OPN goes the credit of giving a complete makeover to her voice, but this obsession to turn her into contra-Lata also limited her. SDB had no such hang ups. He just created superb melodies with her, as he did with Lata Mangeshkar before and after. Later, Khayyam should be given the credit for bringing a new Asha Bhosle to our ears.

    I thought in OPN-Asha Bhosle, you would mention ‘Naya Daur’ (1957) as a turning point. Any reason for this omission?

    You are giving a new information about Asha Bhosle’s debut. You must have cross-checked the information. But we are so conditioned with ‘Chunariya’ (1948), Hansraj Behl, that we may not be able to shake it off.

    Everyone would have his favourite song. In ‘Phagun’ I have different favourites, such as ‘Piya, piya, na laage more Jiya’.

    Congratulations for a nice presentation.
    AK

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    1. Thank you AKji for your appreciation.
      I agree in her initial days, she does sound like Lata Mangeshkar or Geeta Dutt, means she was following their style of singing.
      Naya Daur is always mentioned as a turning point, but in 1956 as well, Asha Bhosle was O P Nayyar’s chosen voice for a number of films. I think as the film was a superhit and so were the songs, it is mentioned prominently. And as I was mainly going for solos as far as possible, I didn’t include any song from Naya Daur on the list. Her only solo from Naya Daur wasn’t a part of the movie.

      I found the mention of Aandhon Ki Duniya in Manek Premchand’s book ‘Yesterday’s melodies today’s memories’, so I asked about it to Arunji. He also confirmed it.
      Piya piya na lage mora Jiya is a beautiful song of course.

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  3. In spite of appling few a bit odd filters,it has not narrowed search result of the Legend Ashaji. The end result is just fantastic !

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  4. Very well researched and presented, Anupji! Statistical blogs of this kind are not easy to write. They need a lot of hard work. Anupji, what do you have to say about Asha singing for children like in Boot Polish (1954) or Gharana (1961). I feel she was the one who lent her voice for child artists more often than not.

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    1. Thank you Anitaji for the appreciation. Yes, it was a long process for this post, but I started early researching for it, so could finish it time.
      As far as playback for children is concerned, both the Mangeshkar sisters contributed to it quite often. In addition, Sudha Malhotra and Kamal Barot also had a share in it. I’m planning a post on songs picturised on children, but haven’t yet started for it. Let’s see.
      🙂

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  5. Dr. Anup,

    A very well-written and informative tribute to Asha Bhosle on her birthday, along with a nice list of songs.
    I like most of her duets of that period composed by OPN and SDB.

    Adding one solo from Sujata, that I am fond of..
    Kali ghata chhaye

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    1. Dr Rajesh,
      Thank you for your appreciation. I’m glad you liked the list.
      And thanks for adding the song from Sujata. One of my great favourites.
      Actually most of the films, Burman Da composed during 1957 to 1962, had good songs, let the films be hit or not.
      🙂

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