Live Review: Asha Bhosle

21 March 2016 | 2:58 pm | Guido Farnell

"Although well into her 80s, Bhosle's greatest asset is her delightfully sweet voice that so capably runs up and down octaves to brilliant effect."

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Singing since the age of ten and now celebrating 70 years in the business, Asha Bhosle is on one last hurrah around the world before supposedly retiring. Recording a phenomenal amount of music has landed Bhosle in the Guinness Book Of World Records as one of the most recorded artists in history. It's this repertoire of thousands upon thousands of songs that effectively makes Bhosle the heart and soul of Bollywood music and an iconic superstar. "Everyone loves Asha Bhosle in India," a young man explains to his friend with great enthusiasm as we take the escalator down to the auditorium. Hamer Hall is awash with expats who are all thrilled to be spending the evening with Bhosle. Barefoot but resplendent in a powder blue sari that features intricate gold embroidery, Bhosle deals plenty of sparkling Bollywood magic via two hours of greatest hits. Travelling with her own big band, Bhosle's show has the kind of funky '60s vibe that has clearly had a huge influence on local outfit The Bombay Royale.

The hymnal Aaiye Meherban gets the show off to a sober start. Chura Liya Hai Tumne elicits a huge roar of approval from the crowd and completely steals our hearts with all the romance those lyrics can throw at us. Bhosle proceeds to pay tribute to her musical family, which includes her illustrious sister Lata Mangeshkar, father Deenanath Mangeshkar and late husband RD Burman. Bhosle spends the first part of the show dealing more traditional and classical Indian music tunes including an exquisitely improvised version of Shoora Mee Wandile. Although well into her 80s, Bhosle's greatest asset is her delightfully sweet voice that so capably runs up and down octaves to brilliant effect. Bhosle's grand daughter and protégé, Zanai Bhosle punctuates the show with a kathak dance and later a respectable version of Sun Raha Hai.

There's a lot of banter in between songs in Hindi and, while we needed a translator, it's obvious that wisecracking Bhosle clearly knows how to make her audiences laugh. O Mere Sona Re signals that it's time to have some fun. Bhosle even pulls some classic Bollywood dance moves with a wink and a smile to the audience. Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Deewana and Dum Maro Dum bring the crowd to their feet and dancing in the aisles. It's the classic Aaja Aaja Main Hun Pyar Tera and romance of Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki that conclude the night and simply blow us all away. Bhosle delivers two unforgettable hours of pure gold with an amazing selection of greatest hits. It is sad to think that the sun is setting on Bhosle's stellar career. Tonight's spectacular journey into some of the best loved films from India showcases Bhosle at her sparkling best.