Asha Parekh – the ruling queen of Bollywood in the 1960s who did diverse genres of roles on big screen. Asha, nicknamed as ‘The hit girl’ has been one of the most celebrated female stars of Bollywood 1960s and early 1970s. An extremely talented artist, her good-looking features and dancing skills also helped her to remain at the top for many years. Obviously, she became a part of many iconic movies and evergreen songs in the most glorious era of Bollywood – 1960s.
No doubt Lata Mangeshkar fully dominated music scene during this period. Yet both the sisters’ voices – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle were used for Asha Parekh onscreen, and own several memorable songs during this period. But whose voice suited the actress most? Asha gave full justification to the songs given to her, whether the number was purely Indian or westernized in its rhythm. After all she was a trained dancer who was well-trained in different Indian dance forms!
Lata Mangeshkar for Sayanora from Love in Tokyo
Asha Parekh – Among the top A-grade listed artists for whom Asha Bhosle lent her silky voice in the 1960s
Asha Bhosle sang some classic melodies of Asha Parekh in the 1960s, when Lata Mangeshkar was the most sought singing artist of the industry. While most music directors urged Lata to sing for Asha Parekh, O. P. Nayyar, R. D. Burman and a few more directors chose Asha Bhosle as their first choice for Asha Parekh, which proved successful. Many of such wonderful songs have succeeded the test of time, and still remain classic.
Asha Bhosle – Asha Parekh’s ghost voice for her first film
After playing a few uncredited roles in the 1950s, Asha Parekh got her first lead role through the film Dil Dekhe Dekhe, which also marked the Bollywood debut of female music director, Usha Khanna. Read more about this female music composer’s association with K. J. Yesudas
. Usha Khanna used Asha Bhosle for recording all the songs featuring Asha Parekh, and the movie was a musical hit. All the songs were extremely popular. In fact, Usha Khanna’s second movie, Hum Hindustani also starred Asha Parekh in lead role. But this time she used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice to record songs pictured on Asha Parekh, and Asha Bhosle’s voice for the popular song – Neeli Neeli Ghata featuring Helen.
Best of Asha Parekh-Asha Bhosle combination songs given by O. P. Nayyar
If we list best of Asha Parekh-Asha Bhosle combination songs, I think songs composed by O. P. Nayyar will own position no: 1, followed by R. D. Burman. Some of their popular works include – Mere Sanam and Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon. Undoubtedly both these movies and its songs will be included among the career best of Asha Parekh. Its songs were melodious and extremely romantic also. Read here to know top 15 songs pictured on Asha Parekh
Mere Sanam included evergreen romantic songs such as Roka Kayi Baar Maine Dil Ki Umang Ko andJaaiye Aap Kahaan Jaayenge pictured on Asha Parekh. The movie also included sizzling number pictured on Mumtaz – Ye Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera sung by Asha Bhosle and Pukarta Chala Hoon Main sung by Mohammed Rafi. Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon is also remembered for its melodious tracks sung by Mohd Rafi and Asha Bhosle, and Aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein is a wonderful solo track sung by Asha Bhosle for Asha Parekh.
Asha Ji for Jaayiye Aap Kahaan – Mere Sanam
If we list the best solo songs composed by O. P. Nayyar for Asha Parekh, definitely Aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein and Jaaiye Aap Kahaan Jaayenge will be listed first, and both these songs were sung by Asha Bhosle, of course, as the composer is none other than O. P. Nayyar.
Hailed as one of the top music directors of 1950s and 1960s, O. P. Nayyar is one among those rarest breed of music composers who has never used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice for his compositions. In fact his name is recorded in the history of Bollywood music for never working with Lata Mangeshkar, though belonging to the most glorious era of Bollywood. However he used Roshan’s composition – “Sari Sari Rat Teri Yad Sataye” from the movie Aji Bas Shukriya for one less known movie of 1970s – Taxi Driver. Same was the case of most celebrated music composer duo of 1990s – Nadeem-Shravan who used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice for the first time in 2005 released film – Bewafa. They recorded their first song with Lata after 14 years of their association with Bollywood.
R. D. Burman worked extensively with Mangeshkar sisters for Asha Parekh movies
It’s quite co-incidence that R. D. Burman established himself as a promising young composer of 1960s through two big movies starring Asha Parekh. The movies are Baharom Ke Sapne and Teesri Manzil, and both these movies are ranked among his career best. While R. D used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice to record the memorable slow romantic solo tracks – Kya Jaanu Sajan and Aaja Tohe Pyar Doon, he used Lata’s younger sister’s voice to record the fast and naughty tracks of Teesri Manzil. O Mere Sona and Aaja Aaja were pictured on Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh, and sung by Rafi and Asha. Both these rocking songs definitely find place among the top duets of Rafi and Asha Bhosle all time.
Asha Bhosle for O Mere Sonare – Teesri Manzil
In fact after the huge success of Teesri Manzil and its rocking music, Asha Bhosle’s voice became synchronous to Asha Parekh, and R. D recorded the rocking item song – Parde Mein Rahne Do for the movie, Shikar in Asha Bhosle’s voice. Though he continued his association with Lata Mangeshkar for movies such as Katti Patang, Caravan, Pyar Ke Mausam (which included the soulful solo tracks – Mein Na Miloongi and Na Jaa O Mere Humdum pictured on Asha Parekh) in the early 1970s, he later preferred to work extensively with Asha Bhosle. By that time, Asha Parekh took almost a retirement from films. R. D used Lata’s voice for the dance number – Bangle Ke Peeche from Samadhi which became extremely popular, and years later its remixed version too repeated the same success.
Shankar Jaikishen used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice for Asha Parekh
SJ’s association with Lata Mangeshkar in the 1950s and 1960s is quite famous. Not only the case of Asha Parekh, SJ chose Lata Mangeshkar as the leading voice for all the leading ladies of Bollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of the popular movies in Shankar Jaikishen-Asha Parekh combination include – Love in Tokyo, Pagla Kahin Ka, Kanyadaan, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai etc.
Mujhe Tum Mil Gaye Humdum from Love in Tokyo
Ravi, Laxmikanth-Pyarelal and others who worked extensively with Lata
Madan Mohan for Chirag, S. D. Burman for Ziddi, Ravi for Do Badan, Salil Chaudhury for Chhaya, Laxmikanth-Pyarelal for Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke and Aan Milo Sajna and Kalyanji Anandji for Mahal are some of her noted Hindi films with memorable songs. Most of her songs were sync lipped by Lata Mangeshkar. Yeh Duniyawale Poochenge from Mahal and Jab Chali Thandi Hawa from Do Badan are counted among the best songs sung by Asha Bhosle for Asha Parekh, the screen sweetheart of the 1960s.
Lata Mangeshkar for Suno Sajna – Aaye Din Bahar Ke
Laxmikanth-Pyarelal extensively used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice for many movies of Asha Parekh, and most of the songs of Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke and Aan Milo Sajna were extremely popular too. May be just co-incidence, most of those film names starts with alphabet ‘A’! Suno Sajna Papihe Ne, Khat Likh De Sawariya Ke Naam and Yeh Kali Jab Talak Phool Banke from Aaye Din Bahar Ke,the popular duets –Saathiya Nahi JanaandTitle track of Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke, Acha To Hum Chalte Hai from Aan Milo Sajna, Title track of Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki etc are among the most popular tracks of this combination.
To reach a conclusion
1950s to 1970s – was an era when a hero or heroine’s voice used to be linked with a particular playback singer. For instance: Mukesh for Raj Kapoor, Rafi for Shammi Kapoor and Dharmendra, Kishore Kumar for Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan etc. Same was the case of heroines too – Lata Mangeshkar for Sadhna, Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini etc, Asha Bhosle for Helen etc. Undoubtedly, Asha Parekh is one among those rare actresses of Bollywood belonging to the era, whose body mannerisms and voice modulation perfectly matched with both the legendary singers of Bollywood – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Also, it was an era when almost music directors except O. P. Nayyar, preferred to use Asha Bhosle’s voice only for second lead or item songs in majority of movies. Asha Parekh was the most celebrated female star of Bollywood in the mid-1960s. Yet many music directors gave opportunity to Asha Bhosle to sing for Asha Parekh. It directly implies that Asha’s voice well suited Asha on screen. Asha Parekh is the leading screen face of 1960s for whom Asha Bhosle sang frequently. They also shared same first name.
So, without any second thought, I reached a conclusion. There is no comparison between two legendary voices, and I would love to play safe. In my opinion, it’s difficult to judge whose voice suits Asha Parekh most, and as a great fan of both these legendary singers, I am thankful to both for giving some of the priceless songs featuring Asha Parekh belonging to the most glorious era of Bollywood music. Asha Parekh too was lucky to get some of the best songs of Bollywood then.
This column is a tribute to Asha Parekh, one of the most popular and lovely screen faces of Bollywood ever, who celebrates her birthday on October 2. Happy birthday, Ashaji.
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