Asha Bhosle with reluctant Naushad and C Ramchandra: Part 1 (solos)

September 8, 2015

Greeting her happy birthday on her 82st birth anniversary (b. 8 September 1933)

Asha Bhosle with C Ramchandra and NaushadAsha Bhosle’s position in the early 1950s was very unenviable. Her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar, had debuted as a playback singer (Aap Ki Sewa Mein; 1947) only a year before her (Chunariya; 1948), but the former stormed the music scene in 1949 as a Tsunami wave, emerging soon as The Female Playback Singer. While most of the vintage singers disappeared fast, some of the early era stalwarts like Shamshad Begum, Suraiya and Geeta Dutt were holding their own. In this scenario, it was difficult for Asha Bholse to make a space for herself. The two dominant composers of the era, Naushad and C Ramchandra, were even more firmly on Lata Mangeshkar bandwagon. They gave a look-up to Asha Bhosle very sparingly in the early years. My view is that they came to Asha Bhosle in later years, especially in the case of C Ramchandra, reluctantly.

Hans has used a term ‘Sister Tax’ Asha Bhosle had to pay, but ironically she has to thank her elder sister for the big breaks she got. One of the big five, OP Nayyar, completely excluded Lata Mangeshkar because of some serious spat, as the popular lore goes (or purely for musical reasons, as some would suggest), and having moved on form Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum, settled firmly with Asha Bhsole. She was for him what Lata Mangeshkar was for C Ramchandra. Similarly, Lata Mangeshkar’s widely written-about rift with SD Burman created a big opening for her. Further, when her personal relationship with CR collapsed, this also signalled the collapse of their professional relationship, creating opportunities for Asha Bhosle with him, resulting in some prestigious projects like Navrang.

Lata Mangeshkar’s dissociation with Naushad is more subtle. This started at the turn of the decade from 60s to 70s, when the Great Mughal’s reign had all but ended (someone has said she had a sense of timing). But from quite early, he gave Asha Bhosle songs off and on, including some outstanding mujras, that fitted her singing style. Naushad gave some 40 songs for Asha Bhosle, which was about 25% of his songs for Lata Mangeshkar.

C Ramchandra, on the other hand, composed far more songs for her, about 120. In relative terms also, it is significantly higher – about 40% of his 300 odd songs for Lata Mangeshkar. The higher number in absolute terms is because he did many more films and songs than Naushad, albeit with a larger share of indifferent scores. The higher relative share of Asha Bhosle songs is explained by the fact that Lata Mangeshkar severed her association with C Ramchandra at the end of 50s when he was still at his creative best, i.e. at least a decade earlier than she did with Naushad, affecting him severely.

Songs of Yore is celebrating 2015 as the year of Naushad, and is also looking at his most worthy rival C Ramchandra. I have compared and contrasted them with regard to various singers. Asha Bhosle is another singer with whom there are similarities in their association as I have explained. She has a huge fan following, many regarding her no less than her elder sister. I am an inveterate fan of Lata Mangeshkar, but I find that a parallel Asha Bhsole Fan Club has come up on Songs of Yore (that is called true democracy 😀). Naushad and CR may have gone to her reluctantly, but they did manage to compose several outstanding songs for her. Here is my birthday greetings to her on her 82st birth anniversary with their songs for her (solos). Since they composed some outstanding duets, too, I would try to present their duets in Part 2.

1.  Ik baat kahun mere piya sun le agar tu from Amar (1954), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

This seems to be the first song Naushad did for Asha Bhosle. This was at the peak of Naushad-Lata Mangeshkar association. The melody is typical of what he would have created for the latter. My presumption is that he would have meant it as a Lata Mangeshkar song, and would have done it in Asha Bhosle’s voice for some reasons we do not know. The song is quite good, but not in the class of the songs by Lata Mangeshkar in the film.

2.  Ina mina dika from Asha (1957), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra

CR, too, takes Asha Bhosle in 1954 itself, and we find the songs of this combination regularly since then in films like Kavi, Meenar, Pahli Jhalak (1954); Insaniyat, Lutera (1955); Shatranj (1957) etc. None of the songs of the early period I could regard as a landmark. Then comes Ina mina dika, a twin song (male version by Kishore Kumar), in which both CR and Asha Bhosle are in their elements. Listen to this timeless Rock n’ Roll.

3.  Tora man bada paapi sanwariya re from Gunga Jumna (1961), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Naushad now creates a song for Asha Bhosle. A beautiful classical based mujra song. It takes you to the days when the courtesan singers were not only pleasure women (in many cases they were not), but pucca singers, with thorough training in classical music.

4.   Lahraye jiya bal khaye jiya from Sharda (1957), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra

This song also lends itself to speculation whether C Ramchandra had meant it for Lata Mangeshkar. By this period their relationship had started coming under strain. But Asha Bhsole does a very competent job.

5.   Haye haye rasiya tu bada bedardi from Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

I would call it a great Asha Bhosle song. It is clear Naushad has created this tune specifically for her. The film bombed either because of poor story line, or because of getting hopelessly delayed due to Dilip Kumar’s fetish for perfection, but the songs are memorable, this being one of them.

6.   Tum sainya gulab ke phool from Navrang (1959), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music C Ramchnadra

This is a major Shantaram venture after he lost his vision in the bullfight scene in Do Ankhen Barah Haath. The metaphor of nine colours was his way of moving on in life after that mishap, by showcasing the beauty of colours which we see by our eyes. Asha Bhosle has to carry this major project on her shoulders as the lead singer. She has already established her presence in a big way with OP Nayyar’s Naya Daur (1957). Here is quite a fast paced song with her typical khanak, picturised on an ebullient Sandhya, as Mohini of Mahipal’s imagination. As his wife Jamuna, however, she was an irritatingly nagging, plainly dressed woman.

7.  Dil haarne wale aur bi hain from Dil Diya Dard Liya

You might wonder why Naushad didn’t compose more songs for Asha Bhosle. It is clear he has discovered her real niche, and could have done an SD Burman. But he had no compelling reason because Lata Mangeshmar didn’t have one of the famous spats with him. Looking at such outstanding Naushad-Asha Bhosle songs, their small number made me use the term ‘reluctantly’.

8.  Aa dil se dil mila le from Navrang

If you think Naushad can compose two excellent Asha Bhosle songs in the same film, C Ramchandra does it in Navrang. He, however, switches tack from fast and peppy to a slower classical dance based song. Mahipal has an escape mechanism of seeing his plain, nagging wife as the attractive Mohini of his imagination.

9.   Tasweer-e-mohabbat thi jis mein humne wo sheesha tod diya from Sunghursh (1968), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

This is the cut-off year from which, in my view, Naushad was overstaying his welcome. Jignesh does not agree with me. He has sent me links of some “absolutely superb” songs of later years, but I have not been able to gather courage to listen to them (sorry Jignesh, but you should not be deterred by my prejudices). One would not count it as a landmark song, but quite pleasant to listen to.

10.   Main teri dil tera re mitwa from Tasweer (1966), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra

In 1965, CR-Asha Bhosle had a more well known, superb twin song Dil laga kar hum ye samjhe in Zindagi Aur Maut. I wouldn’t be surprised if my friend, Arvind, and some more members of the self-created Asha Bhosle Fan Club, say that Asha Bhosle’s version is better. In my opinion, obviously, Mahendra Kapoor’s is way ahead. But why get into a controversy. In any case that song has been mentioned earlier in my Twin songs. I end with a somewhat less-known song, but which must be a delight for Asha Bhosle fans. It is my favourite too. As a bonus to boot, the song is in two versions, happy and sad.

Happy version

Sad version

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dinesh K Jain September 8, 2015 at 9:57 am

Thank you, AK, for another interesting compilation along with your inimitable and knowledgeable commentary…but this is one compilation that I, personally, can do without – none of these songs appears in my own collection that I listen to!

2 shyam September 8, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Bharat Vyas Ji is the lyricist for Navrang.

3 Ravindra Kelkar September 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Very nice article & good selection of songs. I would have included “Jadugar Quatil” from Kohinoor. I am an OP fan. So I like it more, because there is a hint of OP in the interlude of this song. I am also a predominently Asha & Geeta fan, but I have always been able to maintain an open mind & enjoy the vintage Lata melodies equally. Without doubt Lata is the greatest female “Plaback” singler & that too by some distance, simply because she sang a huge number of “Great” songs. Still I consider that Asha is greater singer due to her versetality in singing all types of songs. Just to stress the point, as far as I am concerned there is a difference between greatest “Plaback” singer & greatest singer.

4 AK September 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Welcome to SoY. Thanks a lot for the correction.

5 AK September 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. You are very generous considering that none of the songs is your favourite.

6 AK September 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I guess your fondness for Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt is a corollary of OPN. Jadoogar qatil was out of my favourite list precisely because of OPN tinge. Other songs are Naushad’s own.

Your last distinction is not clear to me. Both Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar derive their fame for playback singing. If one of them is the greatest singer, won’t she be the greatest, or greater of the two, playback singer, which is a sub-category of ‘singer’?

7 Ashok Kumar Tyagi September 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Ak ji,

Could you please enlighten whether Naushad or CR ever used Asha ji’s voice for a qawwali or a qawwali-like song?

In my view whenever any MD asked Asha ji to sing such numbers, she put up a lovely performance because her voice texture was very malliable and she was capable of giving stronger input of ‘power’ in her voice whenever required.

8 SSW September 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm

AK these are not a really good introduction to Asha Bhonsle’s oeuvre. Barring a couple they are pretty banal and I have great distaste for “Aa dil se dil mila le” from Navrang. Would that you had put up “Aadha hai chandrama” or “Dil laga kar hum …”.
“Aa dil se dil mila le” , is a perfect example of a good melody that can be destroyed by the singing (even when excellently rendered) and picturisation. I wonder if there was a tongue in cheek message in that song. Ugh or as Alan Jay Lerner put it
“I’d rather hear a choir singing flat
Chickens cackling in a barn”. 🙂
Asha deserves better , much much better.

9 mumbaikar8 September 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm

This comparison concept is working very well.
Good one! As usual I do not agree with your Amar songs I think that Asha’s Ik baat kahoon is at par at any other Amar song in fact I like her bhajan Radhe ke pyare too.
I am not a big fan of Naushad’s later songs except Sungursh. I agree with Avinder Kelkar with Kohinoor’s song, that is her better song with him.
C Ramchandra’s Sharda song with her was probably because he had Lata for Meena Kumari and Asha for Shyama.
You have two of her Navrang songs but for me the best one is missing and that is Tum meri mai teri.
Though true democracy but the defense can as be vocal as it was in recent popular case:)

10 AK September 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Ashok Kumar Tyagi,
I would have to trawl for that. But it goes without saying that Naushad-CR are not the best examples of Asha Bhosle qawwalis. For that we would need to go to Roshan.

11 AK September 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm

The problem is that Naushad and CR are not the best place to look for Asha Bhosle’s oeuvre. For that we have to go to SD Burman (which I have done earlier), and OP Nayyar (which I may get myself to do sometime. Madan Mohan and Roshan, too, had a flair for composing excellent songs for her.

In Naushad-CR, this was my favourite list. Aa dil se dil mila le – I agree with you on picturisation. I think the problem is with Sandhya. I remember I was horrified to see the picturisation of a beautiful song Pankh hoti to ud jaati re.

Aadha hai chandrama is a duet. Dil laga kar hum ye samjhe – I have some views, which I would mention in Part 2.

12 AK September 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Thanks a lot for your qualified appreciation. Our choices may vary.

Finally I bow down to democracy in some matters.

13 Siddharth September 8, 2015 at 6:49 pm

This one is my favourite of CR-Asha combo- (albeit a duet)
Dekh hamen awaaz na dena – Amardeep

14 SSW September 8, 2015 at 7:16 pm

AK I am aware that “aadha hai chandrama” is a duet. I missed your stress on the solo.
I don’t think the lady in “aa dil se dil” is Sandhya and it isn’t just the picturisation. It is Asha’s voice inflexion too. It grates, to me it seems every vowel is pulled, mangled twisted in perfect pitch in a honeyed wheedling voice that has the attractiveness of a road drill on a early summer morning.

There are music directors other than SD , OP, MM , Roshan etc who have used Asha well. RD is well known and Salil Chowdhury (who used her as sparingly but better than either Naushad or C Ramchandra did ).

This is of course only my opinion. 🙂

15 AK September 8, 2015 at 9:22 pm

It is also my favourite duet.

Thanks for correcting my goof up. It is not Sandhya. About the song, I found it more like screeching of a vehicle on a slippery road. You have put it in a more elegant way.

Among the MDs, one very prominent person for Asha Bhosle is Ravi.

16 ksbhatia September 8, 2015 at 11:19 pm

I think CR is a weak opposition to Naushad’s Asha . Instead OP or Ravi should have been there .
I will also go for Kohinoor song …..Jadugar katil ….for inclusion in the list.

17 AK September 9, 2015 at 5:52 am

KS Bhatiaji,
Naushad OP can’t be compared. For the former Asha Bhosle was a reluctant choice, for the latter she was his principal singer. OP might be compared with SDB. Ravi also does not seem to have taken her reluctantly. Naushad-CR fit in very well, both were greatly enamoured of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle was their reluctant choice.

18 Ashok M Vaishnav September 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

I would certainly count me in Asha Fan club, even when I may hold no more than a primary membership.

SoY, by known a strong Lata votary coming in with Asha Bhosle’s songs from Naushad’s stable is a welcome addition to Asha Bhosle’s (strong in the quality of the articles) presence on SoY. Asha Bhosle has made her first appearance on SoY on her 2011-birthday. That was ‘special’. The next ‘solo’ appearance is on her 2013 birthday. This time the SPV is SDB.
Now in 2015 the SPV is provided by the sense of competition between Naushad and CR.
So, one only hopes that if she keeps appearing at least one a year for other Lata-dominated music directors like Madan Mohan, Roshan, Chitragupt or for ‘other forgotten music directors, then too Asha-fan club would unhesitatingly vote for SoY’s ‘special’ membership to the club.
After a few good recollections from Naushad’s stable (like Amar). waiting for the second part would be interesting to see how both music directors have used Asha ‘voluntarily’.
Interestingly, Asha has hardly failed a music director , and certainly her fans, even when she was called in as a stand-by player.

19 AK September 9, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Et tu, Brute?

It is a new discovery that you too are a member of ABFC. You know I would have to make efforts to feature Asha Bhosle every year. It would be nice if one of the cardholder members of ABFC offers to write guest article(s) on her. I am thankful for your consideration for an unworthy SoY for this prestigious membership, but I guess it is meant only for individuals, and not institutions.

My Part 2 is also going to be on the two reluctant composers. The voluntary ones hopefully may appear some day, regardless of my own orientations.

20 Shalan Lal September 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

A very good post and timely as well.

I think Asha B needs a sperate appraisal and she is not the shadowo of anyone.

Her contribution is as vas as of Lata M’s

Her art is varied and sweet and long lasting in many songs.

She deservs simialr king of award that her sister has received.

21 AK September 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Shalan Lal,
Thanks for your appreciation. I am happy to know that there are lot many members of Asha Bhosle Fan Club than I had imagined.

22 Ravindra Kelkar September 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm

“Jadugar Qatil” is a good song. Even if it has a tinge of OP in it, still it remains a creation of Naushad, so it does not in any way diminishes the stature of Naushad.
Regarding your query that if Lata is the Greatest Plaback singer then how can I say that Asha is the better singer?, the answer is the ability of Asha to sing all types of songs. Suppose we roughly categorise the songs into Sensuos songs, Mujara songs, Quawalli songs, Carbaret songs, Playful songs, Classical songs, Happy songs, Sad songs, Sweet/melodious songs, etc. Of course there will be some overlapping amongst the category of the songs, like happy as well as sad mood song can be categorised as sweet/melodious. In my marksheet. Asha scores 90 + 90 + 90 +90 + 90 + 80 +90 + 70 + 90 respectively. My Lata score would be 70 + 70 + 70 + 60 + 90 + 90 + 90 + 100 + 100. So the Asha score is 780 out of 900. The Lata score is 740 out of 900. So Asha is the better singer in my book though Lata is the greatest playback singer, because she sang the huge number of great songs. In my estimate the great songs of Lata could be 1000, but for Asha it could be in the region of 300. How come this big a difference? Simply because Asha had only OP & may be Ravi giving best songs to her, while Lata had Anil Biswas, Naushad, C Ramachandra, SD Burman, Madan Mohan, Roshan, Salil Chaudhary, SJ, Hemant Kumar, Chitragupta, HB, Shyamsundar, Sajjad Hussain ( & some more names which I may have missed) all giving the best tunes to Lata. My time period is limited upto 1970. That’s why RD is out of consideration.
AKji, I would like to mention that, the above analysis of mine is done at the spur of the moment, so don’t take it too seriously. When you put that question, it set me thinking & this is the best defence I could put up to support my view. I will like to hear from all Asha fans what they think of this analysis.
I honestly feel that if you take a total of great songs sung by all female singers other than Lata, still the number may not exceed 600, which is way less that 1000 of Lata. I can not possibly pay any greater compliment to Lata than this. So, by far, Lata is the greatest female “Playback” singer.

23 KB September 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm

You may also include two songs Mr John from Baarish (1957) and Aajare aaja from Sarhad (1960). They were quite popular those days.

24 AK September 9, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
I think I can understand what you are saying. Asha Bhosle is better (than Lata) because of more variety of her songs, though the latter remains the greatest because of her far larger number of great songs compared to all other female singers put together. The second part is ovious. The first is an interesting way of looking at it. Let us see how other Asha Bhosle fans view it.

25 arvindersharma September 9, 2015 at 10:03 pm

AK Ji,
Many thanks for the post and a heartily welcome to the Asha fan club, though the halls you have chosen are not the most glamorous ones, in this arena. It is very heartening to know that some of the stalwarts of Soy, like Ashok Vaishnav Ji also figure in the list.
Both Naushad and CR did not give their best to Asha, but some good ones were there, nevertheless. The spot was reserved for the elder sibling, which could have been the only solace for Asha.
I concur with SSW Ji’s opinion about Aa dil se dil from Navrang. My choice would have been the other two, namely Tum sainyaa and Tum mere.
Another one is the Amar song. Radha ke pyare is a class apart, as mentioned by mumbaikar8.
One more pair of songs by the stalwarts is worth comparing, in my opinion.
Firstly, the dance song from Leader, by Naushad which has been mentioned by you earlier also,

Daiyya re daiyya, laaj mohe laage

In comparison, a dance song from Paigham, by CR,
Main kyon na naachun Aaj suno ji

26 mumbaikar8 September 9, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
I was not surprised by you differentiating between best playback singer and best singer because I have been thinking the same for a long time but the theory surprised me because mine is exactly reverse.
I am a huge of Md. Rafi, I know that Lata has almost perfect legacy of songs the same cannot be said about Rafi.
Rafi mainly sang for the characters, he was best at that while Lata was best at singing the song and hence my rational thinking is that Rafi is the best Playback singer while Lata is the best singer.
But after reading your analysis मुझें सोचना पड़ा!

27 AK September 10, 2015 at 6:00 am

Arvinder Sharmaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. It is surprising that the two of the greatest stalwarts fail to make great impact with Asha Bhosle. Was it because their style was not compatible to hers or something else? Being an ardent AB fan you may like to answer that.

Daiyya re daiyya is a perfect duet that is really a solo. I remember very clearly Rafi’s ‘Aa aa aa aa’. Excellent song. Somehow I thought Paigham score was very indifferent. Overall I agree with KS Bhatiaji that Naushad-Asha songs, even though much less in number, are more memorable than CR-Asha’s.

28 Ravindra Kelkar September 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Thanks for your comments. As you mention, let us wait & see if we get any reactions from Asha fan club members.

I am happy that I managed to give you some food for thought.
I had not in mind comparison between Rafi & Lata. I was thinking only about Lata & Asha. I think what you are suggesting about Rafi is that from the cotext of the Movie situation for which the song was being created, he tried to get under the skin on the character & then sang the song.& this aspect was less apparent in Lata’s song. May be you are right. I will need to do more study before forming my opinion. But I am with you in that I am also a big Rafi fan…not a surprise, since I am an OP fan first….

29 mumbaikar8 September 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
My shortcoming I cannot express as eloquently as most of you can. Yes I meant that Rafi was more of a playback singer and Lata a singer.
Talking about favorites I am fluid about female singers but highly emotionally charged for Rafi.
My favorite MD is SDB mainly because I believe that he could extract best of Rafi, Hans does not agree with me on that you too might disagree as well, being OP fan.

30 Ravindra Kelkar September 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Oh no!! I fully agree with you that SDB got the best out of Rafi. I think SDB was the real professional when selecting singer for a particular song. He had no hang-ups about a particular singer, so he selected Rafi or Kishore or Hemant Kumar or Manna Dey or Talat depending upon the composition he had created, So in case of all these singers, SDB songs will always feature in the top 20 or 10 or 25 songs.
OP was different. It’s basically, for most of the tunes that he created, Rafi suited the best. Speciality of an OP tune was the unique throw of the words, & to get the full effect, OP needed Rafi/Geeta/Shamshad & finally Asha.

31 gaddeswarup September 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

AK Ji @ 24,
I am not a fans of either though I think Lata is a great singer. Her supposed lack of versatility may be due to choice. Was it Taxidriver; she sang some club songs for Sheila Ramani which compare favourably with most of that genre. She rarely sang such songs later, I think but am not sure. My favourites vary from day to day depending on the mood and the song.

32 AK September 11, 2015 at 10:51 am

I was responding to Ravindra Kelkar. He was rating Asha Bhosle as better because of her diversity. However, he also says Lata is the greatest. To my mind this distinction is not clear, nor material when it comes to Lata because of the sheer numbers of her landmark songs. How many singers have sung Ye zindagi usi ki hai, Yaad rakhana chaand taaron, Ye thandi hawayein, Ae ri main to prem diwani mera dard na jaane koy, Lag ja gale ki phir ye hanseen, Ae mere watan ke logon, Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein, Khuda nigahbaan ho tumhara?

33 Sathya September 11, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Another very thought provoking post. You do have a great knack for coming up with such subjects.

In my view, Asha has very little contribution to Naushad’s music. Yes, the two Amar songs are good but they in no way compare to Lata’s songs in the same film. He slated Asha into a particular type of songs and there she stuck.

But while CR definitely was a near all-Lata composer but he did compose a few Asha songs that compare very well with sone of his best Lata songs. Samples –

1. kahin se shaam hote hi (Shatranj): A sublime creation. This Meena Kumari-Ashok Kumar had two songs that rank amoung by all-time favorites, one by Lata (tu hai meri zindagi ka sahara) and a second by Asha (kahin se shaam hote hi). The Asha song is a gentle, romantic melody that has CR written all over it. Simple, sweet and pure melody.

2. shammaa par jal kar (Meenaar): I had forgotten this song all these years and was recalled to its beauty recently when I watched the film. A beautiful melody which in my view, is the stand-out melody in this film. CR did not use the piano too often and this may well be his best ever piano song. Superb !!

3. o chanand jahan vo jaayen (Sharada): Perhaps the most famous Lata-Asha duet. Its another beautiful melody. I have little to add here except I feel that Asha equalled Lata in every way in this song.. a gentle breezer..

In addition to these pure melodies, he also did the typical dance numbers (deemed secondary) with Asha which became hugely popular as well. Sample “shamaa pe aake o paravaane jal jal jal” and “mistar khan o baba khan”.. real fun songs.

So, CR-Asha is not just about “ina mina deeka” and “Navrang”. There is a little more substance 🙂

34 Shalini September 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Interesting and enjoyable post. While I think the characterization of CR and Naushad as “reluctant” users of Asha is a fair one, I do think you’re underselling the CR-Asha oeuvre a tad. My preference for Asha over Lata no doubt colors my view [as yours for Lata does yours :-)], but I think the CR-Asha collaboration was quite good and on occasion equal to or better than the CR-Lata combo.

Sathya has already mentioned two songs (kahin se shaam hote hi and shama par jal kar) where I personally find the Asha solo better than the Lata numbers in the respective films, but here is another where I consider the Asha solo to be the best song of the movie.

Raat hai sitaronwali (Talaash)

35 AK September 11, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Sathya, Shalini
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Interesting to meet so many Asha Bhosle fans. Soon I would be in a minority of one.

Perhaps I should grant CR-Asha Bhosle was better than her combination with Naushad. But some mujra style songs of Naushad-Asha Bhosle are my special favourites. Except Wo chaand jahan wo jaayein, other songs were new to me. Thanks a lot.

36 Jignesh Kotadia September 12, 2015 at 12:44 am

i have never thought Ashaji with Naushad and CR. If i strain my mind i can recall only 3 Songs : 2 from Amar and Lehraye jiya from Sharda. But i wonder you have made 2 full posts on these unusual pairs..Brilliant !
i dont say that Naushad has given great music of his level after Saathi, Sangharsh and Aadmi. I too believe that his last memorable year was 1968. I have emailed you his post 1968 songs which are very good at ears reminding the golden period though they are very few in numbers. I believe that his last Grand Slam was Mere Mehboob. After Mere Mehboob some of his films can be compared with Masters 1000 titles.

37 AK September 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Now that you have the list before you, I am sure all of these must be very familiar to you.

I have cursorily heard the songs from your list. Naushad II does not impact me anywhere near what Naushad I did. But thanks for acknowledging his post-68 songs too.

38 Shalan Lal September 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Fristely I praise all those who have created so much information and intelligent arguments and brought alive the Soy and make it seductive to read again and again.
Now my new comment:
Following AK’s quotation in the present post and his mentioning Naushad as Great Mogul made me write down following comments:

“Asha Bhosle’s position in the early 1950s was very unenviable. Her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar, had debuted as a playback singer (Aap Ki Sewa Mein; 1947) only a year before her (Chunariya; 1948), but the former stormed the music scene in 1949 as a Tsunami wave, emerging soon as The Female Playback Singer.

My view is that they came to Asha Bhosle in later years, especially in the case of C Ramchandra, reluctantly.”

Very true it is but he has forgotten to mention the third sister (?) who is Suman Kalyanpur in this scramble for looking elsewhere to surmount the precipitous and unwinnable problem.

The non- filmy song but very film like “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo” was created for the voice of Asha B but Lata B snatched it from Asha’s mouth and put it in her own throat and gobbled it and made it her own private property kicking out both Asha and C.Ramchandra and to date she had not expressed apology. And more so the song has played a great role on her getting B.R award.

Question is why C.Ramchandra allowed this to happen? Was the Giant mousy before a Shorty? Was he expecting Lata would forget and forgive him? If so then he misjudged her. But if he would not have allowed her to take the song then……

The entitlement of the Great Mogul to Naushad by Raju Bharatan, is very shallow and without really studding the life of Akbar the Great.

Akbar was thought a Great King by the British historians after studying their own repressive Tudor Monarchs. At least Tudor Kings have to give credits for taking away wealth of churches and creating universities like Oxford and Cambridge And various reforms that could be useful for humanities at large. Akbar and Mogul empire vanished just like the baseless fabric as mentioned in Shakespeare’s Tempest.

First of all when one does a comparison one must think about whether the two things that compared are comparable.

One has to find what was really great about the Mogul King. Akbar was in his early life as monstrous as his ancestors Genghis Khan and Timberline. After deafeating the Hindu King of Delhi at the Panipat Akabar sent his severed head to his mother in Kabul. In Delhi he created a huge tower of the his opponents and hostile courtiers nailed on the walls to warn all if they rebelled they would have the same fate as those are on the tower. His reign was sheer reign of terror and hence the term “Mogul-e-Azam.”

In his later life he cooled down and started looking at the Hinduism and other religions with curiosity. It is supposed that due to his newly grown interest in Hindu culture the Kathak Dance and Classical Indian Music were re-organized to acceptable status for the Muslim taste.

Nevertheless he was not Great as Ashok Maury who after the Kaling war spread Buddhists religion and vegetarianism and much other humanistic work. Akbar did not do a single one like what Ashok did.

Naushad on the other hand was a Shia Muslim whom Sunni s looked as their enemies. Akbar started destroying Shia Kingdoms in the South India and Aurangzeb finished that project. Naushad would have been ashamed of himself to be called Moghul. He did not wear his religion on his sleeve. Most of the films Naushad gave music had Hindi stories and characters.

Raju Bharatn’s use of Great Mogul to Naushad is as false as Bunny Rubens’ use of the term Cecil Mille for Mehboob in his big book.

This kind of entitling is just to appeal one section of the filmy population to gain fame and money.

AK’s bringing C.Ramchandra and Naushad together looking up for Asha as the replacement for Lata is amusing but the post says more about the composers than the musical ability of Asha. So his tributary mention of Asha is just a passing phrase and not a real tribute to Asha.

Likewise Mubaikar8 I too am not a fan of one musician singer or celeb. I am fna of the individual songs and voice they bring in common domain. Then make the following statement that both Asha and Lata enriched popular musical culture and in doing so they have achieved the Himalayan pinnacles hardly reachable again by any other singer as that period in the history of India and history of the filmy music is gone and will never comeback again.

Shalan Lal

39 AK September 12, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Shalan Lal,
We generally use “Mughal” or “Mogul” as a colloquial expression to denote a powerful person who dominated a field, without associating it with any Monarch, whether he was really great or not. Now that you have brought in Akbar, whether he was great or not, can we agree that he was the greatest Mughal? I would not venture to say anything more on this, because history is a most contentious subject. There is a left wing history, there is a right wing history. There are projects for rewriting history. The hero in one history is another history’s villain. SoY is hardly a forum for discussion on such topics.

You have a very colourful history of Ae mere watan ke logo. I get a picture that Lata Mangeshkar sent hired gunmen to CR with the message, give the song to me, else. Short of that there was no way she could have snatched the song – because they had already broken up – unless the people involved with the project thought she was the best suited to sing that song. Incidentally, the controversies around this song has been discussed in detail in my post on My favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs by C Ramchandra (please see comments #49 to 56). I should end by saying that this song is pure Lata Mangeshkar, and if you are suggesting Asha Bhosle would have done a better job, you have to be the most ardent fan of hers on the planet.

Nuashad was very conscious of his position in the industry, and under the veneer of Lakhanavi modesty, he also took care of his PR. He would have been pleased to be known as the Great Mogul (I doubt he would have made the Shia-Sunni connection).

40 Ravindra Kelkar September 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Both the songs from Shatranj & Meenar are wonderful songs. Thanks. Asha has sung them beautifully. Sharada song is already well known & Asha has matched Lata at every step in that song.

The song from Talash is superb. Asha has again sung it beautifully. Thanks.

One wonders what made CR go to Asha instead of Lata for these songs.
Asha has done a superb job. So we have these 3 songs added into the number of great songs sung by Asha (consequently Lata lost these 3 songs which would have boosted her tally of great songs). This again confirms my viewpoint that
1) The disparity in the number of great songs sung by Asha & Lata is because for most of the MDs Lata was the first choice.
2) Quality of tune really determines if the song will turn out to be a great one or not. The singer will enhance the quality of final song only to a limited extent.

41 Hans September 16, 2015 at 12:20 am

This is a good comparison of two MDs who used Asha reluctantly. The song selection almost would have matched mine. The Meenar song, of which I was not aware, deserves inclusion. ‘Aa dil se dil mila le’ not liked by some is one of my favourites and which to me is a classy song.

There are other very good songs by Asha for CR in Talaaq and Paigham.

I would disagree that Asha benefited either directly or indirectly from Lata. As to OPN, I am not aware of any popular lore except that he has emphatically declared he never thought of using Lata. Lata was in the habit of not singing for new MDs, but OPN directly ignored her and this hurt her ego, so she has circulated some stories through her chums which has no basis. She did not sing a single song for Chitragupta for a decade. If Lata discontinued singing for some MD, how could it be said that he would use only Asha not for her merit but because she was her sister.

It may be noted that in 1953 itself Asha had crossed Lata in total number of songs and after that barring two years she always sang more songs than Lata. So there were a lot of MDs who were giving Asha songs. Of the principal MDs, leaving OPN, Ravi gave songs to Asha and Lata in the ratio of 4 and 1 and in the matter of solos he has many many more and varied kind of songs for her than OPN. N. Datta’s ratio for them was almost 6:1 in favour of Asha. Hemant Kumar and Madan Mohan gave her almost equal no of songs as compared to Lata. For Chitragupta Asha was the main singer before Lata started singing for him in 1955. Lata’s magnanimity for Asha caused Asha to be banned from Chitragupta’s recording room for 4 full years after that. SDB, who has composed some great songs for Asha is given undue credit for establishing her career. When he started using her after his break with Lata in 1958, her career was well on way, with the help of the MDs I have mentioned. Besides the above MDs, quality MDs like SNTripathi, Vasant Desai and Avinas Vyas made good use of her in historical and mythological films which were very popular in the 50s.

42 AK September 16, 2015 at 6:45 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation and detailed comments. You have amazing mastery over statistics.

The popular lore refers to the rift between the OPN and Lata Mangeshkar arising out of Mehbooba (1954) episode, when Roshan was midway replaced by OPN, and Lata joined the MDs brigade to take up a ‘principled’ cause against this wrong. She declared, as the lore goes, that she would not sing for him, and an equally proud OPN is said to have retaliated who cares for you (the paraphrasing is mine). I am sure you would have read it at several places. I take all these as nice stories, without making any judgment about either party, hence ‘principled’ in quotes.

It is now well established that Asha Bhosle has sung the largest number of songs, and significantly higher number than Lata Mangeshkar, which bears correlation with your data. How does this reflect in quality, and my other point about SDB’s role or whether Lata’s rift with SDB and OPN or other MDs being a contributing factor, are matters of personal opinion. I am aware that there are good number of Asha Bhosle fans who regard her greater than her elder sister.

43 Shalan Lal September 16, 2015 at 2:26 pm

This is reference to the AK’s comment number 39
The discussion about the comparison of Naushad as Mogul is missed and I do it again.

In the Indian books called Alankarshastra famous among them are called Kavya Praksh, Sahitya Darpan etc. They discuss fully how similes and metaphors etc. should be and in English they are called Figures of Speech. In English the discussion is not well done but the Englsih poets use the comparison fully as the Sanskrit poets have done in their works.

The discussion insists that the qualities of the two sides of the comparisons should be similar and in status as well. And if dissimilar then in Hindi there is a phrase “Kahan Ganga Teli aur Kahan Raja Bhoj?”

For example a woman’s face is often compared with the moon in the bright fortnight of fourth, fourteenth and full Moon day. These kinds of comparisons are richly contained in the poetry of all nations.

This example is from the chapter six of Bhagvad Gita called “Self Control”


Yăthā dīpo nĭvātăstho nèṅgătè sopămā smṛĭtā
Yogĭno yătăchittăsyă yŭñjăto yogămātmănăḥ 06.19

The simile of a steady flame of a candle in a windless niche is suited best
For the unwavering mind of the Yogi in the Yogic Self 06.19
Translation by Sasha Dee

Here is Shakespeare in the sonnet number 18 describes a woman (?) or a person. See how cleverly he discards good comparable items one by one and achieves the same effect as a good comparison.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Mark the last line in which he says her beauty is long lasting as his poem will be.

So when one does the compare one item with another, both items need to be equal.

AK defines the word “Mogul” used in connection with Naushad as “We generally use “Mughal” or “Mogul” as a colloquial expression to denote a powerful person who dominated a field, without associating it with any Monarch, whether he was really great or not”

The words associated Mogul are “a powerful person dominated a field”. He does not want it associated with “any Monarch, whether he was really great or not.”

But the word “power” associated with the word “Mogul” comes from the rule of the “mogul” kings. And I say the word “Mogul” invokes terror and arbitrary justice more than the art, architects, and culinary art.

Here readers should go back to the Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 and see how Shakespeare distils all the images that have used for the comparisons and finds them unsuitable.

Using the term “Mogul” was a fashion arose in the English journalism of post Indian Independence. But as the “Political Correctness” arose it faded from the English Journalism. Somehow Raju Bharatan decided to invoke it in his “Naushadnama”. The term “Naushadnama” seems clearly came to his mind due to Naushad being Muslim.. See if you can find tasteful saying “Burmannama, or Ramchandranama, Shankar Jikishannama?

In my opinion, considered from many sides “Mogul” is a bad comparison for Naushad. Firstly the image of Mogul though invokes power it is not the power of justice but it is a demonic in level of reign of terror and arbitrary judgmental and bloodshed etc heavy in one pan against the other pan which has architecture, song and dance, of the balance.

Nuashad was nothing like that and putting him against the image of Mogul is doing an unfair assessment of Naushad just because he was a Muslim. In no way he was a remnant or relic of the Mogul era.

Some of his music was drawn from the Islamic reservoirs like singings styles at the Urus celebrations etc but most it was either common folk or classical music of India.

Here is an anecdote not really but a real incident:

Naushad came to London to launch his CD perhaps the last one in his life. In the audience Lata Mangeshkar was present but it seems she was an invited guest. At the beginning of the launch Naushad approached Lata to start the launch with a song. Lata seemed to be reluctant to do it. Perhaps her voice was not ready. However she was persuaded by the “Lakhnavi Lehara” of the language. She went up the podium and sang a Hymn to the Goddess Saraswati.

Naushad lighted the lamp bejewelled by a Ganesh statue on the brass stand and his CD was launched.

Now about “Aye mere Watan…:
Lata dominated this song and we are conditioned to hear it only in Lata’s voice and so it is her as we cannot think anyone else should touch it. This is our slavery to our conditioning. Now her voice is waning and she may not be able to sing it with full gusto. Remember the song “Muzko Meri Pahelisi Muhoban Naa Mang”. And why make demand on her. She has done her work well. She has introduced acting in singing with subtle shades in her singing voice very difficult to follow except Asha does similar job well.

Anything Lata did Asha has done it well. Anything Latad could do Asha could do better. Lata refused tossing in Englsih. Ashas could doEnglsih songs well and better than the original songs. I could make a list of Anglo American, French and Italian classic songs of pop, rock and folk tradition that Asha could do and further on Asha could perform them as well. She could go for an Emmy Award as well.

Then again whyAye Mere Watan should be Lata’s alone? I am sure Asha could do full justice to it. Not only she but Manna Dey, mahendra Kapoor and Rafi in their heydays could have sung it well. I am sure new male and female singers could sing it well as well. It also needs new voice and style and orchestration.

Ak has fair imagination and he tried to use it rather unfairly on me. The incident I mentioned is not of my making except putting in cocky- cheeky and impudent words but the incident is there in the autobiography of C.Ramchandra called “Maza Jivan Sargam” in Marathi language written in mid seventies or towards the end of seventies. My Marathi words may not be correct but something to that effect and it was read to me by a Marathi person. Perhaps Mr Deshmukh may be able to throw right light on it. He is a library incarnate of information and knowledge and the final authority.

As mentioned in my previous comment I am not a fan of any singer or Musician per sè. But I am a fan of songs, lyrics, melodies, orchestration and sometimes the acting of the songs or the way they were presented in the films.

I can make a list of my favourite songs of Lata amounting to one hundred to two hundred and similar list of Asha as well.

And I could do the similar lists of many singers starting from Saighal down to Kavita KrihnaMurti and not to forget Vani Jairam, not as large as Asha and Lata funds of songs but slimed down to fifty or less so.

I like various voices to hear and appreciate their art.

After this if we go on arguing more it would be argumentative. So I leave this argument by quoting the Parul Ghosh song in Basant 1942

“Tum Ko Mubarak Ho Unche Mahal Ye, Hum Ko Hai Pyari Hamari Galiyan”


44 N Venkataraman September 16, 2015 at 5:32 pm

When you speak of Asha Bhosle, unmistakably we recollect O P Nayyar’s name first. S D Burman, Ravi and Madanmohan and in the later period R D Burman and Khayyam are the other MDs that one can call to mind. Naushad and C Ramchandra are not the obvious names that one can recollect.
Asha Bhosle’s greatness is regardless of the ‘reluctant’ duos’, Naushad and C Ramchandra, contribution to her career. She reinvented herself time and again to accomplish a long and successful career. She was a versatile singer, modified her singing to suit the characters with remarkable flexibility.
Thanks for yet another interesting post which has provoked an energetic discussion. Nowhere else in the blogosphere one will find a post dedicated to Asha Bhosle’s association with Naushad and C Ramchandra. . Here lies the uniqueness about SoY, and therefore attracts a wide range of distinctive and matchless readers.

45 AK September 16, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Shalan Lal,
I should thank you for your detailed and very erudite comments. It gives new perspectives to me. I understand you are saying that the metaphor/simile ‘Mughal/Mogul’ is not laudatory, rather it has associations with terror or tyranny of the Mughal emperors.

On Ae mere watan ke logo I hope you have been able to go through the detailed discussion on SoY which I had linked. Arunji had also clarified the incident in his comments. You might also have seen he has posted translations of C Ramchandra’s autobiography on Anmol Fankaar. Basic details are known. If you feel there is something specific you would like to know I can request him to enlighten us.

On Lata Mangeshkar-Asha Bhosle, I should honestly thank you and other fans for increasing my awareness that personal tastes can be so diametrically opposite. In such matters we have to finally agree to disagree.

46 AK September 16, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Thanks for your appreciation. No question that the two names that come first for having made contributed most to Asha Bhosle are OPN and SDB. I have converted SDB, now I have to look at OPN sometime. Naushad-CR reluctance for such a prominent singer is itself so interesting that the theme occurred to me in the natural course. But in the process we have some very learned comments.

Thanks again.

47 Shalan Lal September 17, 2015 at 4:46 pm


Thank you very much for your comment. I have read your fabulous post on My Favourite Lata Songs” and enjoy it each time I read it.

I now am aware that there is a great confusion over Asha’s involvment in “Aye Mere Watan”. But I am glad that you are aware of it. But I was astonished at your remark imagining that Lata went with a gun to CR” after my comment, however comic it was. The fact it that Asha was chosen by him as he could not ask her or even after asking she would have refused to do any song under his baton.

It will be interesting to read the full translation of CR’s “Sargam” book. But it will take a long time before I come to it as I am so much engrossed in many other activities. But I am now sure that CR did rehersal of “Aye Mere Watan” with Asha and it is in his book. if you are not certain then please ask Mr Deshmukh. What CR was suggesting that Lata realized later the significance of that song as Nehru was going to be present. So she was taken by the magnitude of the publicity she was going to get. Rest is history.

Thanks again for ubndestanding the area I hilighted in my comments

48 Arunkumar Deshmukh September 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Ms. Shalal Lal ji,

I am simply amazed with your amazing use of impeccable English expressions which are not only accurate but also bring out the exact meaning you want. These days,it is very rare to find people with such mastery over the language and its correct use. It is indeed a pleasure to read anything that you write. Thanks.
CR’s Marathi autobiography was titled ” Majhya Jeevana chi Sargam ” ( माझ्या जीवनाची सरगम ), and was first published on 12th January 1977. Unfortunately this was the only edition ever published. The book mysteriously disappeared from the market and was never reprinted,inspite of great demand. It was unofficially estimated that only 150 copies were sold. His son as well as daughter became Doctors and have happily settled in USA. Their mother is still alive and with them. A very close relative of them is in my contact and we meet whenever he comes to India. The son, who has the copyright of the book,has refused any reprint or translation. in fact he does not want any connection with the past anymore.
This is only as an additional information for the readers of SOY.

49 Nitin October 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm


This website is a great source of information on old songs and you do a fantastic job of writing about carefully selected topics.

I also enjoy the comments posted by readers and am quite aware of the fact that there will be divergent views.

On Asha CR solo – one of the best in my view was – Ae mere dil jo chal diye – from Sarhad 1960. Not sure why it does not appear in your list.

I feel CR did not get credit that was due to him – for obvious reasons. It’s a shame that his family has decided that they have nothing to do with the past. It would be great to know more about CR not just musically but also as a person. But that’s their personal choice.


50 AK October 3, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your application. It is very difficult to say anything in personal matters. One can understand the antagonism of the wife and the children if the man gets emotionally involved with another woman. The same thing happened with OP Nayyar.

51 kamalakant chitnis July 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Songs of Naushad show how poorly and indifferently he scored songs of Asha Bhosale may be deliberately to show Asha Bhosale down to Lata Mangeshkar, by composing sub-standard melodies for Asha Bhosale. However Asha’s songs of CR are really gems. Well whatever the selection is very good. Naushad a repetitive with little variety compared to CR, since his exposures to other than Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshakar are almost nil after 1950. I however differ with SSW about his remarks of melody spoiled by poor singing and picturization of ” Aa Dil Se Dil Milale”. I am afraid he missed the situation in the film that the cause why Asha singing that song! It in the “pitch” and “voice” of “Tamasha Artist” to distinguish her voice rendered to heroin in the same movie! It is extremely difficult to sing in that fashion. True that Asha actually screams while singing in high pitch though it too is extremely difficult and not easy to keep pitch, pace, harmony and melody in “screaming”! For example look at Western Artists who scream excellently! Whatever Asha has not “erred” or spoiled that song! Somebody feels CR is no match to Naushad, actually it is vice-versa!

52 AK July 27, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Mr Chitnis,
Welcome to SoY and for your detailed comments.

53 Sanjay Kulkarni February 8, 2017 at 3:08 am

In my opinion though Lata’s songs are better Asha’s “Singing” is faaaar better. Even in the songs like ‘Bango Bango Bango’ she sings as per the requirements.

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