Asha Bhonsle – The Heavenly Female Voice!
Something common ran through the trio of Kishore Kumar, RD Burman and Asha Bhonsle. What was this common factor? Was it the ability to break norms, leave aside classical rules and sing without any hesitation? Was it their fondness for the alien music styles, mostly the western ones, to which they would often fuse in with the Indian sounds? Or were they simply genetically coded to give each other run for their money, whenever it came to performing together? If they sang of love, they did so full throttle and not hiding behind the usual veils of Indian-ness that you might experience while listening to Rafi and Lata, the other two stalwarts of the Indian playback arena. Though, this Indian-ness and the two dazzling names in Rafi and Lata had its own charm and romance, which even the hardcore KK, RDB and AB fans like me will not deny about or choose to part away with.
KK, RDB and Asha gave together some of the best duets, that my generation would vouch for. Songs like Jaane jaan, dhoondhta fir rahaa hun tumhein and Aapke kamrei mein koee rahetaa hai (even RDB could be heard singing in there) are a couple such in many. They enjoyed a very great chemistry amongst them indeed. At the same time, it was only Asha who could give KK a run for his money in the duets she sang together with him. At times she seemed to edge ahead of KK, the way Ganguly at his best would overshadow Sachin on occasions, with his maverick stroke-making. “Did any healthy rivalry run among this Bollywood trio?” I forwarded this question to somebody who is trying to produce a new documentary on Kishoreda. I may or may not succeed in getting its answer, but the fact is Kishore Kumar, Rahul Dev Burman and Asha Bhonsle were several notches above the rest in entertaining the Indian audiences, once they formed up as a team in the post-1970 era.