She holds a place of her own in music, songstress supreme, whose voice is unique and adaptable, and spans many genres. At 80-plus this adventure lover has added one more frontier to her world of experiences, she has taken up acting. Her debut role is in the film Mai.
He is youngest of his siblings, but has taken on the role of being his mother’s manager. Advising, and charting her career path with business acumen, ensuring that she gets her due always. Anand Bhosle presents a little-before-seen son’s eye view of Asha Bhosle.
Firstpost: How did the movie role come about?
Anand Bhosle : The producer approached her, and asked her if she would consider the role. She was surprised, and reluctant, but the name of the movie intrigued her. Mai is her mother’s name, that is what everyone called my grandmother. And of course she consulted me. I told her of course you can do it, you can act. And the movie has turned out quite well.
Firstpost: Tell us a little about your early days . What was she like as a mother?
Anand Bhosle: I am the youngest of her children. By the time I became old enough to know, we were in the joint family, with my aunts and Mai, my maternal grandmother. My mother made sure we had a very normal childhood, a life away from the limelight. Her father had been an artiste, and his life had had its ups and downs and she had seen all that. She wanted to protect her children from all that.
Firstpost: How was it knowing she was a celebrity?
Anand Bhosle: Believe it or not, none of us knew our mother and aunt (Lata) were singers. My uncle would do riaz and sing at home but all my mother’s singing and my aunt’s singing was at the studio, so we never heard it. My friends would say, your mother is a famous singer, your aunt is a famous singer, but I was an idiot I think, because I did not know, and would hotly respond saying no, my aunt is just my aunt, my mother is just my mother.
Firstpost: Did she not tell you what she did as work?
Anand Bhosle: It was not important then. She would give us breakfast, drop us to school and go off to the studio. It was only when we were older that we attended recordings sometimes. I would go if Kishore Kumar was recording or RD Burman. Mostly it would be if there was no pending homework, or if it was a weekend.
Firstpost : Did the recordings give you an idea of how talented or famous your mother was?
Anand Bhosle: Actually I attended a lot of my aunt’s recordings. We did not know then who Madan Mohan was, or any of the other composers. There would be a recording at Mehboob Studio and we would go, and after the recording we would go to the cake shop inside and eat cake or mutton curry and bread. If we went to a recording at Rajkamal, V Shantaram’s studio, we would be treated by him to cheese sandwiches. We actually called him cheese sandwich uncle. The food was the USP, the recording did not have any importance for us.
Firstpost : Did you have a normal relationship with your mom, she was so busy!
Anand Bhosle: Yes of course, she made sure of that. Mom loves to cook, it is a passion with her. So she would try to replicate anything that we ate outside and liked. Often she would invent dishes for us, it was a culinary adventure living with her.
Firstpost: And did you have outings together?
Anand Bhosle : We used to go a lot to Gaylord on Sundays. It was a treat, chicken patties and cartoon films at Eros. She would keep her Sundays for us. During the week she would be very busy, she would leave early and come back late at night. Sometimes it would be 3 or 4 a m by the time she returned from a series of recordings; only in the 1980s was it disallowed to continue recording after midnight. However late she came though, tired and weary, she would be up in the morning to ensure we had breakfast. She took her role as mother very seriously, and gave us all her attention on weekends.
Firstpost : Was being a single mother a tough task then?
Anand Bhosle: Actually she did as much as she could for us, but we were in a joint family. There were aunts Meena and Usha too, and my grandmother was there all the time. They all doted on me, and I never felt alone. Even at school functions, annual days they would be there fir me, I don’t think I missed my father at all.
Firstpost: What is your mother like as a professional? How do you percieve her?
Anand Bhosle: I believe there is no one quite to match my aunt and my mother. I have no problems in saying they are the best female voices around, the good work they did is enormous. It is tough to find anything wrong in their music.
My mom is a thorough pro. She would give each song her best, even if she hated the composition. It us true that she hated a lot of the songs she sang, but never let that show when she sang.
Firstpost: Songs she hated! Do you remember any of those?
Anand Bhosle: There was the song from Dus Lakh, ‘Gareebon ki suno… ‘. She asked Ravi, ‘Raviji, what song is this, what lyrics’. She had a good rapport so she expressed herself. He explained the situation demands this…and so she sang it, gave it her best. She would also argue with RD if she did not like a song or agree with something in it. In fact he would often seek her advice in a composition.
Firstpost : Did you discuss her work at home?
Anand Bhosle: Never. She never brought her work home. She would not even listen to her music. In fact if it was playing, she would say stop the music. She would be fed up, tired of it after a long day of recording. But sometimes she would discuss music, discuss tunes, the lyrics or the poetry. She read a lot, and so there was plenty to discuss.