Iconic Bollywood singer, Asha Bhosle, who has become somewhat of an elusive chanteuse of late, has recorded a ghazal inspired ballad for Vidya Balan’s upcoming film, Begum Jaan.
This is cause for celebration since the last time Bhosle’s beautiful vocals were recorded was four years ago for the Kangana Ranaut starring film, Revolver Rani.
One assumes that the reason why Bhosle isn’t as prolific with her recordings as she once was is because of her age, (the singer is reportedly 83 years old) but that doesn’t explain why she chooses to record songs for low-budget films like Revolver Rani and Begum Jaan and not mainstream blockbusters as one might expect from a singer of her caliber.
The answer to that might be found in the common thread tying these two films together.
Revolver Rani centers around a gun-wielding, no-holds-barred femme fatale while Begum Jaan‘s lead is not far off from that, except instead of being the leader of a political party, she’s a madam of a brothel.
A die-hard Bhosle fan knows that the singer’s very first recordings, back in the Sixties, were all songs sung by vamps and characters thought of as the bad girls.
But while she only recorded those songs out of necessity, because her uppity peers refused to, it now seems a bit strange that India’s most celebrated songstress is now only opting to sing for low-budget female-centric films.
Perhaps the seemingly sansakari, reserved Bhosle sees herself in these renegade characters or wants to vicariously live through them.
That wouldn’t be a tall claim. After all this is the same petite woman who once called herself “a shark”.
Listen to Bhosle’s new song below.
ARTWORK BY MIRA MALHOTRA