Asha and family
At the age of 16, she eloped with 31-year old Ganpatrao Bhosle (1916-1966), marrying him against her family’s wishes. Ganpatrao was sister Lata’s personal secretary. The marriage failed miserably. Her husband and in-laws mistreated her. After a few years of marriage, Bhosle was turned out (around 1960) by a suspicious Ganpatrao and she went to her maternal home with two children and pregnant with her third child, Anand. She continued to sing in films to earn money.
“My husband had a salary of merely Rs 100 and we stayed in a small one-room tenament in the northern-most suburb of Borivali. Only I know how I have struggled in those years,” Asha, daughter of noted Marathi artiste Dinanath Mangeshkar and Lata Mangeshkar’s younger sister, said.
“I used to travel in crowded local trains across Mumbai from one rehearsal to another, one recording to the other with my small child in tow. But throughout that difficult period, there was a perseverance, a belief in myself that I had to get out of this mire of poverty and give my children a better life.”
“I believed that one could survive on love and fresh air but of course, that is only possible in films. In real life, when poverty hits you, it is very difficult to cope but I’m someone who has learnt to laugh through all the troubles.”
All of life’s tough lessons taught Asha that no human being should be looked down upon.
“It is because I have gone through so much that even today I still have respect for every human being, no matter from which strata of society they are. My children do not like it when I speak to my watchman or the gardener but I tell them that that is the way I am,” she said.
Karma, fate, what does that hold for young and struggling Asha?