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Down Melody Lane – Asha Bhosle Transports Listeners To The Magical World Of Bollywood Music

Shuchita Rao

Down Melody Lane – Asha Bhosle Transports Listeners to the Magical World of Bollywood Music

The Farewell tour of legendary Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle made its last stop in the US in Boston on Sunday, August 20, 2017. The show held at the beautifully constructed Lynn Memorial auditorium began at 8pm with a welcome by emcee Swathi Subramanian and a sweeping instrumental score of popular yester-year Bollywood hits by a twelve piece professional orchestra band from Mumbai. More than a thousand music enthusiasts were entertained for 2.5 hours by the singing diva Asha Bhosle accompanied by guest artist Javed Ali as well as two backup singers, Mrs. Shankar and fifteen year old Zanai who happens to be Asha Bhosle’s granddaughter. Supported by a talented orchestra consisting of string, wind and percussion instruments, the team of four singers presented a collection of hit songs from 70s, 80s and 90s as well as songs from recent films allowing the audience to re-live some of the best moments of Bollywood film music.

Asha Bhosle is a well respected name in the Bollywood music industry with a presence in the Guinness book of World Records as the most recorded artist. She has sung for more than a thousand films and has recorded several melodious semi-classical albums. Interacting comfortably with the audience, she narrated several stories about how melodies were conceived by her late husband, the legendary composer R.D Burman, her discomfort with the current trend of marketing of song re-mixes even while the original artist is alive as well as her affection and reverence for her older sister, the renowned singer Lata Mangeshkar.  Dressed in a  blue and silver sequined sari, with a large white flower in her air, she enchanted the audience with a fantastic stage presence, dancing on stage while singing several hit songs from the yester-years such as Dum maro dum, Kajra mohabbat waala, Lag ja galey, jhumka gira re, Rangeela re, Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko, Saathi re tere bina bhi kya jeena, Ye mera dil pyaar k adeewana and more. Her candid attitude on stage, keen intelligence and charm had audience members greet her with standing ovation at the start and end of the evening’s show.

Earlier, special guest Javed Ali who has sung in several Bollywood films, hosted TV shows and judged singing reality shows sang several popular numbers from old and new films and impressed the audience with a strong opening act. Endowed with a rich voice that could execute classical (Kesariya baalma padhaaro mharo des) as well as filmy touches (Darde dil, dared jigar) with finesse, the singer presented several high energy songs with Punjabi and Sufi flavors such as Nagada bajaa and Kaya fun. Zania, daughter of Anand Bhosle and granddaughter of Asha Bhosle got an opportunity to present a solo O Meri Sona Re Sona Re and also sang Piya tho ub tho aaja with Javed Ali and Asha Bhosle. The orchestra master Nitin Shankar and all the musicians in the orchestra (special mention to the drummer) created a powerful musical landscape on which the singers layered their songs. They contributed in a large capacity to the success of the evening’s show.

Revolving, colorful, flower shaped images created by special lighting, a large TV screen serving as the backdrop with projected images to supplement the stories Asha Bhosle narrated to the audience between songs, the enthusiastic emceeing by Swathi Subramanian, interactive singing session with the audience and allowing attendees to dance in the aisles added to the overall ambience and positive audience experience. “I came to the show knowing that Asha Bhosle being in her eighties would not be the same as she was in her younger years but her performance today was a special experience for me” said a concert attendee who wished to be quoted as anonymous.

The show ended around 10:30pm. Stardust and Generation Bollywood were the sponsors of the Farewell Asha Bhosle Tour and need to be commended for bringing the legendary Bollywood musical personality Asha Bhosle and her team to Boston. 

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