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80 going on 18

Friday, September 07, 2012
By Chaitanya Padukone

Asha, who turns 80 tomorrow, is set to make her Hindi acting debut

Defying her age, the agile Asha Bhosle  danced merrily to Bhangra beats with singer ‘guest’ Suresh Wadkar, as he hummed a filmy song on stage at the event hosted to mark the diva’s 80th birthday (on Sept 8) and for unveiling the first look of her Hindi acting debut in the movie ‘Mai’, directed by Mahesh Kodiyal. Asha regaled the audiences with flashback-anecdotes about her childhood antics, where as a sweet-toothed kid she would often steal sugar from the neighbour’s house, only to be spanked by her ‘Mai’ (mother). She also revealed her philanthropic agenda. “Backed by the ‘Mai Mission’, we plan to have a fund-raising musical concert and from the proceeds, we will help at least 80 homeless senior citizens. The Bollywood industry has given me so much fame, money and affection for seven decades. It’s my turn to reciprocate,” she declared amidst thunderous applause.

Known for her incredible culinary skills, Asha, whose  voice boasts of a fabulous and versatile repertoire ranging from cabaret-songs to ghazals and from qawwalis to romantic duets, also has a fetish for magic tricks. “Whenever I get the chance, I present my startling ‘jaadoo-bhara’ tricks from a kit which I got from the U.S. and people watching get zapped,” she chuckles.

While a galaxy of  star-singers including Shaan, Sukhwinder Singh, Poornima, Wadkar, composers Anu Malik, Lalit and Salim came up with zestful live numbers under the baton of  ace percussionist (and ‘Mai’ co-producer) Nitin Shankar,  it was Asha-tai’s Bollywood singer-composer grandson, Chintu (Chaitanya) Bhosle, who preferred a low-key profile at the event. Taking a brief break, Chintu who has made a pop-album recently with his glorious grandma, shared his sentiments.

 “It’s such a pleasure recording with Aai (Asha). She is so modest that she was game for instructions from a composer-person like me, who is so junior to her. She bridges the generation-gap instantly and can musically vibe with just about anyone of whatever age. She once wistfully told me, that ‘the day I can’t sing any more, I think will be ready to leave this world’,” confides Chintu.

Appearing upbeat about his directorial debut, noted ad-film-maker Mahesh Kodiyal feels, “Asha-ji is a spontaneous actress in ‘Mai’. She has given some heart-rending shots in the emotional scenes. As a happy-go-lucky aged mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her soul-stirring performance will bring tears to every female in the audience. For the first time in a Hindi movie, Asha-ji has lip-synced her own playback,” smiles Mahesh, who has cast seasoned actress Padmini Kolhapure-Sharma as the doting daughter and, in an image-defying move, cast TV actor Ram Kapoor (Bade Achhe Lagte hain) as the not-so-achhe, hate-worthy son-in-law.

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