In an age when technology has a solution to everything, songstress Asha Bhosle says it cannot add “soul” to a singer’s voice. But the octogenarian legend feels that singers can use technology in “constructive” ways….A special report by Arundhuti Banerjee for Asian Lite News
From Zeenat Aman to Urmila Matondkar, from Rekha to Vidya Balan — Bhosle has lent her voice for actresses of different generations over six decades and has managed to stay relevant by adapting to new styles and singing techniques. She is all in favour of natural talent backed by good training.
“We all have to get familiar with the use of technology in everything — whether it is music or film. But we must not forget that nothing can replace real talent.
“Call me an old school (person), but I believe that technology cannot add soul to our voice. Therefore, the longevity of those songs (newly made) is lesser,” Bhosle said in an interview on the sidelines of her granddaughter Zanai Bhosle’s iAzure Apple Store launch.
Looking ethereal in a cream and gold sari with strings of emerald adding a dash of colour, the 83-year-old was happy to talk about the pros and cons of technology in the world of music.
Happy that digital platforms are letting youngsters access all kinds of world music, Bhosle is all for using technology to nurture talent rather than for hiding its flaws.
The Padma Bhushan awardee said: “These days, kids are spending most of the time with their phones. I say, why not use them for something constructive? See, you have digital tanpura and tabla on your iPhone… So practise while sitting alone, practise while sitting in a quiet place.
“To become a singer, a certain ‘tharau’ is important. With good ‘riyaz’, you achieve not only a good voice but also a certain ‘nazaakat’ that you discover… It emerges slowly… It is a lifelong process. It should be in your lifestyle.”
Bhosle is one of the most versatile singers to have been associated with Bollywood. From cabaret to ghazals — she has sung songs like “Jhumka gira re”, “Dum maro dum”, “Chura liya”, “Mehbooba mehbooba”, “Mera kuch saaman”, “Dil cheez kya hai” to “Prem mein tohre”.
Also known for having crooned in multiple languages, she is unstoppable. Even at her age, she is still doing live performances.
Dwelling on how much the scenario has changed for singers today, Bhosle said: “Times have changed. Nowadays, with the help of technology, you can correct even one word, instead of singing the whole song all over again. But, usme woh jaan kahan, woh energy kahan? (where is the energy in that?)
“Earlier we used to record live. So, the interaction with your music director and co-singers, with instrumentalists… Everything created the frame of mind and added to our performance. I know you must be thinking ki kitni puraani baatein kar rahe hai, par beta hum toh puraane zamaane ke log hain (I know you must be thinking she is talking about really old times, but my child, I am an old timer),” she concluded with an endearing smile.