Last weekend turned out to be the most musically charged weekend of my life so far. I went for two live musical concerts of two female singers back to back. Both of them were immensely talented, sang similar type of songs and managed to win our hearts in contrasting styles. Both concerts were quite similar and contrasting at the same time.
First one was Asha Bhosale concert, the other one was Ketaki (and Suvarna) Mategaonkar concert. Mother tongue of both singers was same as mine - Marathi. Both of them had started singing at very young age. Asha Bhosale was performing perhaps for the last time in Singapore as she had declared that she may not be doing live concerts anymore. For Ketaki, it was her first concert in Singapore. Asha Bhosale , 82, wowed the audience by singing songs like a teenagers and Ketaki, 21, a teenager herself, impressed us by singing mature songs way beyond her age. The audience was blown away to see Ashaji stand and sing for over two hours, at that age. I heard most of the people around me murmur that they were sure that at 82, they would neither be able to sing nor stand for two hours, leave alone doing both together. In contrast, young, energetic Ketaki sang sitting down in traditional style for over two hours. Both of them were true to their art form in contrasting style. Songs they sang were similar, the way they connected with audience and made them feel part of the show was similar. Another of similarity was towering presence of their families throughout the performance. Ketaki sang with her mother and her father anchored the show and played keyboard at the same time. While Ashaji kept talking endlessly about her illustrious family, her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, her father Deenanath Mangeshkar and her siblings. Contribution of their families to their art and the success they had achieved was felt strongly by us. Both of them ruled the audiences' hearts but heeded to their 'once-more' requests at the same time. We were thoroughly entertained by both these artists.
Two days after the concerts, as I look back, thing that is stuck in my mind is something that Ashaji said about her profession. Once she was asked by a reporter what would she had become if she hadn't become a singer. Her answer was touching. She had said that she would have become an ordinary woman who cooks, cleans and takes care of her husband and kids as she didn't know anything else other than music. Singing was in born, it was in genes, it wasn't a thought through career option. Ashaji didn't evaluate any other option over singing. May be due to the situation combined with talent nothing else really came close. Perhaps when she started her career and sang her initial songs for less Rs. 100 per song, she may not have known that she would become an all time great singer, she may not have foreseen that she would be called The Last Empress and loved all over the world. In real life, there are no road-signs that tell you how successful you are or whether you are headed in the right direction or how fast you are going or where you are likely to reach. If you are talented, bold enough to follow your heart and work with passion you may become a legend.
Whether Ketaki becomes a legend or not or for that matter anyone of us becomes a legend in our field or not only time will tell. But Ashaji has certainly shown us a path to Legendary Success!