When Asha Bhonsle struggled with dreams of making it big
Mumbai, Sept. 9 (PTI): Asha Bhonsle is now one of the most revered singers in the country, but behind the success of that magical voice is the story of a struggle for survival and the desperation to get out of the mire of poverty.
The singer, who turned 74 yesterday, revealed her early days of struggle in a candid speech to a packed audience that gathered here to felicitate her on the occasion.
“My husband had a salary of merely Rs 100 and we stayed in a small one-room tenament in the northern-most suburb of Borivali. Only I know how I have struggled in those years,” Asha, daughter of noted Marathi artiste Dinanath Mangeshkar and Lata Mangeshkar’s younger sister, said.
“I used to travel in crowded local trains across Mumbai from one rehearsal to another, one recording to the other with my small child in tow. But throughout that difficult period, there was a perseverance, a belief in myself that I had to get out of this mire of poverty and give my children a better life.”
In an emotional speech, Asha recounted how many critics panned her for singing cabaret songs and not doing “serious work”.
“I never thought about what kind of songs I wanted to sing. I sang anything that came my way because to me, my children’s education and future was very important,” noted Asha, who is now recognised for her versatility.
Asha also dwelt on her failed marriage to Ganpatrao Bhonsle, whom she eloped with as a 16-year-old, saying, “I believed that one could survive on love and fresh air but of course, that is only possible in films. In real life, when poverty hits you, it is very difficult to cope but I’m someone who has learnt to laugh through all the troubles.”
All of life’s tough lessons taught Asha that no human being should be looked down upon.
“It is because I have gone through so much that even today I still have respect for every human being, no matter from which strata of society they are. My children do not like it when I speak to my watchman or the gardener but I tell them that that is the way I am,” she said.
The singer was earlier felicitated by veteran music directors Yashwant Deo and Khayyam and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.
Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said Asha deserved to be felicitated on a bigger platform. “We have our first Marathi president now and I think it would appropriate if you are felicitated at her (Pratibha Patil’s) hands.
“We will definitely make a case for it and let us hope that all those votes we have given her are of at least some use,” he said.
In her speech, Asha said she was recording a classical album with Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and that she would now concentrate on classical and Marathi folk songs.
Source courtesy: The Hindu News.