Asha Bhosle: I was the first rapper
Asha Bhosle on how the spoken-word format was employed in Bollywood way before it became the trend it is now
Rendering the female vocals of the track Dil Sarphira, along with an array of male singers who are way younger than her, Asha Bhosle's ebullient voice seems in no way, out of place. If anything, it could evidently be the highlight of the romance number, that was launched only last week. As futile as it may be to point out, Bhosle's playful voice is always instantly identifiable.
She laments, this ability of making an identity with their voice is missing in the current crop of singers. "There is neither much talent, nor a strong voice. The way people could hear a song and say, 'Oh, this is Lata [Mangeshkar],' they can't do that anymore," says the veteran. Even though she says she isn't particularly clued into the offerings of the younger lot, that they bank on numbers that have been rendered in the past, hasn't gone unnoticed. "New artistes are rendering old songs, while girls are only being encouraged to sing in low [keys]. The rhythms are also similar. Koi zabardast melody aani chahiye."
Point out that the industry has been celebrating the works of rappers of late, and Bhosle is quick to point out that rapping is, in fact, "spoken-word". "It's not a song," she says, quick to add, "I was the first to rap. What else would you say were songs like Mera Naam Hain Shabnam or Hungama? Today's English raps which employ foul language, are not favourable." In an industry that's as commercially inclined as Bollywood, Bhosle cues us on how veterans like her teach their children to keep the love for the craft alive. "Classical music should be taught. My granddaughter is learning Indian and Western music. She hasn't lost sight of our culture."
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