Predictable: an explosion of emotional cries, whistling and clapping whenever petite, bubbly and dynamic Asha Bhosle comes on stage--and it happened, Saturday evening at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. In Washington on her second U.S. tour, this young, exuberant grandmother who sang her way to the top in one of the world's oldest and most prolific film industries--that of India--overwhelmed an enthusiastic audience by presenting some of the best-loved hit tunes from Indian movies.
Asha's songs were brilliantly arranged by her music director, Suresh Wadkar, and played with unbelievable precision by the eight-piece orchestra that included Indian tabla and dholak drums--all in a fast-moving program ranging from disco to hard rock, romantic Latin-flavored ballads to jazz-oriented songs, and some tunes bordering on Indian classical music. The inspiring performance was another milestone in Bhosle's career, which began with her first film song at the age of 13 and has brought her India's coveted Filmfare Award (equivalent to the American Oscar) year after year.
Bhosle shared several songs with her daughter Varsha and son Hemant, both singing stars in their own right, and shared the spotlight with each musician, especially the tabla and dholak solos during "Nazar lagi raja" from the film "Kala Pani." The last number, "Dum maro dum" ("Hare Rama Hare Krishna"), brought a standing ovation from the audience dominated by members of the Indian community and many who traveled long distances to see and hear the nearly legendary singer.