10 Timeless Ghazals of Asha Bhosle

Aasha Bhosale Birthday Special - Seniors Today

One normally associates Asha Bhosle with peppy songs but she also sang some excellent ghazals, writes Narendra Kusnur

When one mentions Asha Bhosle, one normally talks of her peppier numbers, dance hits, songs she did with music director R.D. Burman and duets with Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. She also sang some excellent ghazals, mainly when the genre was in vogue in the 1980s.

To mark Bhosle’s 87th birthday on September 8, we choose 10 of her well-known ghazal-based songs, popular mainly among hardcore fans and connoisseurs. Interestingly, with online home concerts being the order of the day in these lockdown times, some of these songs are doing the rounds quite often.

Singers like Gayatri Asokan, Pratibha Singh Baghel and Kalpana Gandharv have been singing these ghazals and geets at digital concerts or creating special videos to keep them in circulation. Since the tunes are known by the target audience, and they only need a harmonium, tabla and electronic tanpura, they are easy to execute from home.

1. Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo – non-film

The song is best known for its rendition by Pakistani singer Farida Khanum, and was written by Faiyyaz Hashmi. In 2006, Bhosle recorded some famous ghazals and nazms rearranged by Somesh Mathur. The video of this song was a huge success.

2. Dayaar-e-Dil – non-film

From the 1984 album Meraj-e-Ghazal with Ghulam Ali, this popular tune was penned by Nasir Kazmi. The lines went, “Dayaar-e-dil ki raat mein charagh sa jala gaya, Mila nahin toh kya hua, woh shakl toh dikha gaya”. Ghulam Ali composed the tune too. Another version was recorded by the legendary Noor Jehan.

3. In Ankhon Ki Masti – Umrao Jaan

Muzaffar Ali’s 1981 film Umrao Jaan had many popular mujra-based numbers composed by Khayyam and sung by Bhosle. Written by Shahryar, they included ‘Dil Cheez Kya Hai’, ‘Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston’, ‘Justaju Jiski Thi’ and this song, which is often sung at ghazal mehfils. Bhosle worked with the music director again on the album Asha Aur Khayyam.

4. Khali Haath Shaam Aayee – Ijaazat

Composed by R.D. Burman and written by Gulzar, the songs of Ijaazat were a highlight of Bhosle’s career. One of the best parts in this number was the flute by Ronu Majumdar, which made way for some scintillating vocals by Bhosle.

5. Yun Sajaa Chand – non-film

Also from the album Meraj-e-Ghazal with Ghulam Ali, ‘Yun Saja Chand’ was penned by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The live video featured maestros like flautist Raghunath Seth, violinist Uttam Singh and sarangi maestro Sultan Khan, and Bhosle’s singing was heartfelt.

6. Log Kehte Hain – non-film

Bhosle followed up her collaboration with Ghulam Ali by recording an album with Hariharan. Aabshaar-e-Ghazal had some wonderful songs and this one written by Bashir Badr began “Log kehte hain ajnabee tum ho, ajnabee meri zindagi tum ho”.

7. Kisi Nazar Ko Tera – Aitbaar

The song was released in 1985 when the ghazal wave was in full swing. Music director Bappi Lahiri, known more for this disco numbers, forayed into ghazals with this tune, which became a hit. A duet with the classy Bhupinder, it was written by Hasan Kamaal.

8. Saathi Re Bhool Na Jaana – Kotwal Saab

A gem composed and written by Ravindra Jain, it featured Bhosle at her soulful best. The opening lines went “Saathi re bhool na jaana mera pyaar, meri wafa ka ae mere humdum, karle na aitbaar”.

9. Jab Saamne Tum Aa Jaate Ho – non-film

Composed and featuring Jagjit Singh, this was used In the album Dil Kahin Hosh Kahin. Lyrics were by Nida Fazli who wrote “Jab saamne tum aa jaate ho, kya jaane kya ho jaata hai”. Singh presented the song at his shows.

10. Raat Chup Chaap – non-film

A landmark in Bhosle’s career was her 1987 album Dil Padosi Hai with composer R.D. Burman and lyricist Gulzar. This one was penned in nazm format with the opening lines “Raat chup chaap dabey paaon chali jaati hai, Raat khamosh hai, roti bhi nahin hasti bhi nahin”.

About Narendra Kusnur

Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

View all posts by Narendra Kusnur

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