Asha Bhosle, iconic legend of playback singing, has added a new facet to her repertoire. Bhosle, 77, has nodded assent to ‘Maaee’, which will illumine her acting debut in a fictional Hindi flick, wherein she shares screen frames with Padmini Kolhapure. Ajit Ramachanddran engages the veteran in a candid chat…
She redefines feisty. Her tinkle bell laughter echoes naughtily in the suburban Mumbai apartment as Asha Bhosle fields queries from the scribe tribe on Mahashivaratri Day (March 2, 2011). And with good reason, that is.
On the auspicious occasion, Asha Bhosle has chosen to spotlight a new aspect in her over crowded cap of credentials. The crooning diva will soon greenlight her debut as an actress with ‘Maaee’, a fictional Hindi movie centred around a mother daughter relationship with debutant director Mahesh Kodiyal at the helm of affairs.
Slated to roll in April 2011, ‘Maaee’ co produced by Subhash Dawar and music director Nitin Shankar (Alliance Entertainment and Rhythm D’vine Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.) will be canned entirely in Mumbai.
Excerpts from a chat with the irrepressible Asha…
You’ve been a successful singer and are now making your acting debut. At an age when most people retire, why did you agree to act in ‘Maaee’ which is based on the relationship between a mother and daughter? What did you particularly like about the script?
The film’s story is lovely. I really liked it. Why am I doing it? Because I’ve already sung all types of songs in many different languages. I’ve sung hit songs in languages as difficult as Tamil and Malayalam. Take any other language. Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, I’ve sung songs in all those languages. I’ve been doing this for the past 60 to 65 years. I’ve gone to Russia and sung Russian songs. I’ve sung Malay songs. You should always want to do something new. These days I’m singing all my old songs for a rock show in which we mix our tunes with English songs. We do it for youngsters. So that’s something new. If we do the same thing again and again, sometimes a person gets bored of the monotony. Maybe my wish to do something new because it gives me joy, is the reason behind accepting the film. I’ve made quite a few appearances of the small screen and come on stage very many times. Now what else is left? The big screen! So I said, ‘Let’s give this a shot as well.’
Padmini Kolhapure is playing the role of your daughter in the film. Was that a decisive factor in saying ‘yes’ to the film?
No. First I said ‘yes’ and then I caught hold of her and asked her if she’d do it.
So were you responsible for getting Padmini into the film…
Padmini is a wonderful artiste and a great actress. Actually, it’s difficult for me to stand in front of her, because I’m not an actress. After listening to the story, she immediately agreed to do the film.
What do you feel is the USP of ‘Maaee’?
I feel that ‘Maaee’ is a good film, with a nice moral. I won’t say that it is a commercial film, but it is a good film.
The title ‘Maaee’ makes it sound like it’s a Marathi film, but it’s actually a Hindi movie. Don’t you think people will get confused?
Everyone uses ‘maaee’, just as everyone uses ‘Sai’. We also used to call our mother ‘maaee’. This is not a Marathi film, it’s in Hindi but the mother is called ‘maaee’.
What is your name in the film and are you preparing for the role in any way?
My name is ‘Maaee’ in the film. That’s what the kids call me. I haven’t done any preparation for my role, as of now. I’m heading to Australia for a shoot. I’ll start shooting for the film once I return.
The film’s director, Mahesh Kodiyal is famous for his ad films and this is his first feature film. Didn’t you feel like you should have worked with an experienced director instead of a new one in your first film?
I’ve never thought about it actually. But every man is new in the beginning and becomes old later on. So everyone should get a chance because everyone thinks of doing something better. So Mahesh has the will to move ahead and has got such a big chance so I think he will put his heart and soul into the film.
Your late father Deenanath Mangeshkar has a huge drama hall named after him in suburban Mumbai and a big hospital named after him in Pune. What have you constructed in the name of your real life ‘maaee’ Suddhmati Mangeshkar?
There is a hospital named after her in Pune. There’s a huge one in my father’s name and a smaller one in my mother’s name. The father’s name is always more prominent and this happens everywhere. The children always use their father’s name and no one takes the mother’s name. Maybe this is just tradition that children adopt their father’s name and only dads are praised. Actually it’s the mother who brings up the children and endures hardships for them. But no one gives her so much credit.
What’s your take about the negligence that many old parents are being subjected to nowadays?
These days people don’t care about their parents and don’t look after them in their old age. But in our family, it was the other way around. We took such good care of our mother. We stayed together in Peddar Road. We treated her like a queen right till the very end. If she wanted something, no one dared to say no to her or disobey her. ‘Didi’ (Lata Mangeshkar) had grown up, so had all of us. We were in our 60s and she was also past 90. I feel that we took good care of her. Our father passed away early. ‘Didi’ always tried to keep his memory alive and our entire family supported her. Everyone was there for mother also right till the end. Very rarely do you see such a thing. These days, when the mother gets old, no one takes care of her, whether it’s because of the daughter in law or any other reason. Even if the mother is slightly short tempered, it is our duty to bear with her. And that we have forgotten today.
Which songs have you sung in ‘Maaee’ and what is special about the music?
There’s one song that has been recorded that I will be singing in the film also.
‘Maaee’ is going to be shot in Mumbai and will start in April 2011. So was this one of your conditions, that it be shot in Mumbai?
I hadn’t said anything like that. I’d just said that it’ll be good to shoot in Mumbai since my home is here. It’s good to be in one’s own city. And the film also demands that we capture this city’s essence. But I had not laid down any such conditions.