Her younger brother says that she sings even when she is talking. And, it was there for all to see. As usual she charmed her way into the audience’s heart, with her candid and witty comments stringed together with her soulful singing.
A musical tribute, Rasik Mohini Asha was organised on Tuesday by Shirish Theatres in honour of the versatile crooner Asha Bhosale, who turned 75 last month.
Wearing dark goggles, the young at heart Ashatai began expounding her philosophy on life. “After I wore dark goggles, I realised their importance.
They gave me a chance to see life the way I want to lead it. What do I wish to see in life? I want to see happy people around me. I want to lead a life brimming with positive energy, surrounded by young people, encouraging them and getting rejuvenated in turn,” she sums up, humming the evergreen Marathi number, Tarun ahe ratra ajuni.
As if she realised that the atmosphere had become sombre, the irrepressible Ashatai turned to Dr Narendra Jadhav, Vice-Chancellor of Pune University and said, “See, how I managed to keep the audience in check. Not a sound from them. How about giving me a job as a teacher in one of your institution? I will be a very good teacher.”
Joining the audience in their laughter, Ashatai went on to reveal her secret desire that was recently fulfilled. Having studied till Std IV in a Marathi medium school, Ashatai envied those who received their degrees wearing a black robe and a hat. When Amravati University wanted to felicitate her with a doctorate degree, the first question Ashatai asked was if she would get to wear a black robe and a hat.
Describing the convocation ceremony Ashatai said, “I just wanted to hold on to that moment. But, I wondered if the students thought, ‘This Std IV educated lady doesn’t deserve a doctorate…’ I got scared that they might want to take away my robe and hat.”
“To reassure myself, I sang Yuvati man darun ran ruchir. It’s a natysangeet composed by my father, Master Dinanath Mangeshkar. I continued holding on to the tassel of my hat, while I was signing,” Ashatai adds.
Moving on to her family, Ashatai, who was accompanied by her younger brother and singer-composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar, says, “I remember how I looked after Hridaynath, gave him his bath, fed him and how he yelled at me when he got angry. He is barely four years younger to me, but I feel that I am his mother. His presence here means that he has repaid my love I have showered on him.”
Ashatai, who had become slightly sentimental, now, proudly flaunted her necklace. It was her birthday gift from Hridaynath.
“Another four years, and I will be accompanying Hridaynath and celebrating his 75th year,” she says.
But, as far as she is concerned, Ashatai says that she is not a day older than 75. “I am just 57,” she says. The audience disagrees. “You are still 16,” they yell back. She laughingly concedes, singing, Abhi to main jawan hun.