Asha Bhosle: I would have eloped with Helen if I were a man!

Mumbai: Playback icon Asha Bhosle doesn’t think twice when you ask her to pick her favourite among the numerous actresses she has sung for in her illustrious career. “Helen! She was so pretty that the moment she would enter the room, I would stop singing and look at her. In fact, I would request her not to come when I was recording! Do you know that famous story when I told Helen that I would have eloped with her if I were a man! That is true,” she laughed.

The legendary singer made her digital debut with her official YouTube channel on Wednesday. From recording in a studio with live rehearsal to sending an audio recording via Internet, the veteran has observed a huge transformation over an ongoing career since 1943. Now, at 86, she is gearing up to share many stories from her life, apart from her music, in the digital space.

Talking about her new venture, the National Award-winning singer told IANS: “I have sung so many songs composed and written by veterans like O P Nayyar, Khayyam saab, Shankar-Jaikishan, and they are all celebrated. That is great. But I also want young and good lyricists, composers and music directors to come forward and grab the opportunity to create music. I would like to encourage them. So, on my channel I will talk of and share my experience on how we struggled to find space here. I am sure they will also feel inspired by knowing them. There are several unreleased songs that were composed by RD (Burman) and I have them all. I will slowly release them, sing them on my channel. I want to share them with our fans.”

She continued: “I am old now. I have seen a sea of transformation inside the recording studio. When I started singing in the studio, we had the culture of singers, composers, writers, film directors and even actors sitting together and sharing their inputs and feedback on the song being recorded. All of us used to feel that we are doing teamwork. Aaj kal sab badal gaya, but main apne yaadon ki pitara lekar ayungi (things have changed now, but I will arrive with my trove of memories).”

Bhosel launched her YouTube channel on May 13 and sung the song “Main hoon”. In the video, we can see how she recorded the song in the studio, dressed in a beautiful saree.

Sharing what her driving force is, Bhosle mentioned: “I have a different personality on stage when I dress up. I interact with fans, take their request — that is different. But there is a moment that happens when I stand in front of the mic and sing the song. That is pure – rather, the purest — moment that I live as a singer. That’s the time creation happens. In all these years, that is the only thing that has not changed. I cannot explain that moment but I know when I am singing, it happens. I live for that moment and will be living forever.”

Remembering those good old days, she said: “Kishore (Kumar) da and I used to do so much of madness. We were great friends. I will share the story of our friendship with my fans. I have worked with so many artistes like Geeta Dutt, (Mohammad) Rafi saab. Raj Kapoor saab used to visit our recording studio. Madhubala, Nargis ji would visit us to hear the song that we were singing for them. Chintu (late Rishi Kapoor) used to come with Raj saab. Woh bhi to chala gaya (he too left us). I will share my best memories with my fans.”

About the COVID-19 lockdown, and referring to her dance numbers like ‘Piya tu ab to aaja’, ‘Rangeela re’, ‘Sharara sharara’, she said: “Ghar par baithke dukhi nahin hona, mere gaane pe dance karo na (don’t be sad sitting at home, dance to my songs). Don’t be upset, sab theek ho jayega (all will be fine). Before the recording of a song, just to set my mood right, even I used to dance! Then I would come out of my room and sing the song with a very composed body language. How can you sing ‘Yeh mera dil pyaar ka diwaana’ without dancing!”