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The Sister Act

My ten favourite Asha-Lata duets

Happy Women’s Day! Today on the occasion of Women’s day, I would like to focus on two ladies, who have influenced Indian cinema in a way, which hardly anybody has done till now. The two ladies in question are Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

(by Gautam Rajadhyaksha, from: http://forbesindia.com/slideshow-big/recliner/gautam-rajadhyaksha-the-pharaoh-of-faces/28732/1)
Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle dominated the female playback singing in the Hindi film industry from the 50s to the 80s. Their art and artistry still influences the singing of the female singers in India. Each of them has allegedly sung more than 4000 songs, but it is said that they recorded only 75 songs (duets, trios, and quartets) together in Hindi films. Their first duet was recorded for the film Daman [1951] under the baton of K. Dutta and the song was ye ruki ruki hawaiyen.

(from: http://withfriendship.com/user/neeraj/Asha_Bhosle.php)
While Lata has that virginal, untouched, sweet voice, there is this dark, seductive tone of Asha’s. For me Lata’s voice is like a thandi hawa, which refreshes and cools, while Asha’s voice is one which though it might be outwardly calm brings a whirlwind bringing all my feelings and emotions in a chaos. What really strikes me about Asha’s voice is her phenomenal width. She seems to go from one octave to the other like a lift and bridge it with a effortlessness, which takes my breath away. Both of them have a phenomenal technique, which has assured them a long career.
Making a 10 favourite list for Lata or Asha is a futile task. I won’t even attempt it, thus I have taken an easier way out and listed my ten favourite Asha-Lata duets. In the duets their rivalry or let us say healthy competition can be seen in how the lines of the song are divided among them. It is also interesting to note that if the duet was between the leading lady and her friend, then Lata always gave playback to the heroine and Asha got to sing for the sakhi.
I will stop analysing and present my ten favs. Hope you like and enjoy them.
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Aanewaalaa phal, jaanewaalaa hai… (The fruits, they come and go… )

Fruits! Delicious, luscious fruits! One would say everybody loves fruits. They are nutritious, taste good and are attractive for the eye. Well, they have to be, after all the plant wants it’s children to travel far and wide. Why then this step-motherly treatment to these fabulous creations of nature in Hindi film songs?

Fruits were and are associated with lust. Offering of the apple by Eve to Adam is often cited as an example of this partnership in sin. The Indian censors were very strict about this and only let small and insignificant fruits be sung about in the film songs. As you must have noticed in my post Fruit cake, even if they allowed some fruits to slip through, they saw to it that they had the ugliest melodies possible or it is was done indirectly like ambua ki dali (a mango branch) or beri ke neeche (below the jujube tree). Not the fruits themselves but the tree was in the focal point. Lots of lyricists still wrote lyrics mentioning the fruits of their taste or which suited the scene and occasion. All these attempts were brutally suppressed and the words changed beyond recognition.

During my stay in India in July, in London in August and the last week’s stay in the Black Forest, I could meet witnesses and activists in exile. They told me stories of suppression and oppression of artists and poets of the Bombay film industry by the censors. They told me stories of how works of art where mutilated on the grounds of decency and morality.

I can only write about ten such songs. After reading this article, you, my dear intelligent readers will surely see through many other songs, which we sing every day and have been racking our brains why a certain word doesn’t quite fit in.
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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