Anil Ambani’s Tounge-in-Cheek Reply To a Query on Why his Elder Son Had More Shares Than His Younger Son
At the meeting one of the shareholders got up and stumped chairman Anil Ambani asking him to explain the discrepancy between share allotment to both his sons, reports Press Trust of India. While the elder Jai Anmol, 17, holds equity worth crores, his younger 13-year-old son Jai Anshul is left with a paltry 100 shares.
What was the reason for this, demanded the share-holder and pat came, Anil’s cheeky reply: “Now you know what happens to the younger one in a family.”
While the meet erupted into laughter Anil’s spontaneous reply made it obvious that the business tycoon hasn’t forgotten his very public battle with elder brother Mukesh Ambani over the ownership of the Reliance empire.
Anmol’s shares at today's closing price are worth Rs. 13.21 crore while Anshul's holding in the company is less than Rs 8,000. At the close of the trading today, RNRL was quoted at Rs 79.15 a share that puts the company's worth at Rs 12,926.23 crore even after the over 2.5 per cent slide in the value of the scrip.
Source: Mumbai mirror
Feroz's daughter and Fardeen Khan's Sister Laila Khan is an artist since childhood and she held her first solo show of her paintings in New Delhi in 2001. Her work has been included in many auctions and she has participated in several shows in India and abroad.
Laila married Indian tennis player Rohit Rajpal in December, 1998. She then moved from Mumbai to Delhi to be part of Rajpal’s family.
She seperated from her husband Rohit almost a year ago and is now rumored to be dating Pooja Bedi's ex-husband, Farhan Furniturewalla.
Laila with Cousins Suzanne Khan Roshan (wife of Hrithik Roshan) and Simone Khan pose for photographers at a press preview of one of Laila Khan's Exhibitions
Laila Khan With Cousins and Aunt Zarine Khan
Laila With Rageshwari
Some more photos
Picture: Mommy has her hands full! Maria Goretti with Her Sons
Kidding around: Niharika Khan (wife of actor Ayub Khan) along with Tehseen Rizvi opened a children's clothing boutique called Alizah at Seven Bungalows, Mumbai. Spotted at the event was Maria Goretti with kids Zeke Zidaan and Zene Zoe besides telly actors Nasir Kazi and Ashish Kaul among others.
Smita Thackarey Married Jaidev in 1987. She is estranged from him since the mid-'90s.
Smita says "My husband was attracted to other women and left me with my children. I found our future very bleak and in a time of distress my father-in-law supported me and asked me to stay back." Jaidev left home some years ago but Smita lives on the first floor of Matoshree, Balasaheb on the second.
Smita produced several Hindi Films in the late 1990's one of which was David Dhawan directed Haseena Maan Jaayegi is a 1999 starring Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, Karishma Kapoor and Pooja Batra
While Akshay's son Aarav's birthday was celebrated on15th September the actor's good friend and producer Sajid Nadiadwala's six-year-old Subhaan celebrates his on 18th Sep. While Aarav had a carnival-themed party, buddy Subhaan wanted a Hawaiian theme.
Says Mommy, "Subhaan knew what he wanted. He's a six-year-old but thinks like a grown up. He even went to Sajid's office and printed and designed the invitations for his party."
Wardha plans to invite kids from Subhaan's school along with friends from the industry. "Since it's the month of Ramzaan, we planned a small, private affair involving only close friends. I didn't want to disappoint Subhaan again this year. Last year, we didn't have a party, and we thought he deserved one this time!"
Hummer for my pal
Aarav and Subhaan who go to the same school, are close friends. For Aarav's birthday, Subhaan wanted to pick up his own gift for Aarav, and got him a remote-controlled Hummer. Meanwhile, the Nadiadwalas got him a techno-robot that moves and picks up things around.
Cars for the men
Wardha adds that her beta is totally into bikes and cars. They got him a Volkswagen Beetle he wanted. Sajid, meanwhile, has bought himself a Bentley. Moreover Subhaan wants all his friends to go back with return gifts.
So there are goodie bags for everyone, which includes specially printed T-shirts with personal pictures on them."
Like fathers, like sons
Sajid and Akshay are not just best friends forever, they also went to the same school and their wives have delivered babies in the same room of a hospital. Their sons are BFFs too!
More Photographs of Mukesh Ambani's children
Mukesh Ambani is married to Nita Ambani, who looks after the social and charitable arm of Reliance Industries. They have three children: Akash, Isha and Anant.
Mukesh Ambani's daughter Isha Ambani has grabbed the second position on a Forbes list of billionaire heiresses. (Sep 2008)
About 16-year-old Isha, it said that Mukesh Ambani's only daughter is ‘just a teenager but already has her own stake in the family's Reliance Industries, worth about USD 80 million’.
Nita and Mukesh Ambani With Sons Akash and Anant
The film is about a father’s unconditional love for his son
Akshay Kumar is all set to give his son Aarav a very precious gift. Akki will be dedicating an entire film titled Jumbo, which is produced by Percept Picture Company. Akshay will not only lend his voice to the central character Jumbo but will also be a sutradhar (narrator) in the film.
When contacted, Akshay Kumar confirmed the news and said, "The reason for me doing this animation film is purely because how it made me feel. Watching it brought back so many emotions that I remembered as a child. Children don’t just need humour or action in their lives, they also need lessons, love and understanding. This film made me think so much about my son that I was absolutely ready to be part of it. Like my father used to say, ‘It’s not just about doing the big and best things all the time. Life is about doing what is important and what is right.’ This is exactly how I felt."
Commenting on the film’s subject, Akshay said, "The film is about the connection that the baby elephant is unable to have with his father, and how his father sacrifices everything for his country. It’s also about the love and support a mother gives her child. I think every child should experience and witness this. Yes it’s an animated film but its message should be followed by all children. Even if only a handful of children see this film, it will make a difference in their lives. It’s a lovely family story. I too will do anything for my son.
When contacted, Shailendra Singh of PPC said, "I am very excited to be working with Akshay on Jumbo. He is indeed our Jumbo." Jumbo will release this Christmas and will be Akshay’s first release after Singh Is Kinng.
Jai Anshul was photographed at the premier of Farhan Akhtar’s acting debut ‘Rock On’ which was held in Imax Wadala, Mumbai on Thursday, 28th August 2008. Jai Anshul was there with his Mother Tina Ambani.
Till now, Himesh Reshammiya kept his family, wife Komal and son Swayam, a closely guarded secret. Last year, we managed to uncover the fact that Swayam studies at the Utpal Sanghvi School in Std 5. Now apparently, 11-year old Swayam is also his dad's lucky mascot and BO astrologer.
Says a source from T-Series (producer of Karzzzz), "Himesh Reshammiya has made a huge list of the people he wants to invite for the first viewing of Karzzzz which includes the whole cast and crew of the original cast (Subhash Ghai, Rishi Kapoor, Tina Ambani, Simi Garewal, Raj Kiran) and also a lot of other prominent names from the film industry but the first person he wants to show his latest film, is his own son Swayam. Himesh feels that's his son's sense of prediction is amazing. Himesh's faith in his son's predictions is simply amazing! Everything he does in films is according to what Swayam tells him."
Himesh says, "Swayam is my lucky mascot no doubt. He saw Aap Kaa Surroor and said it would be a hit but he also said that I have to work even harder and be the best. In Karzzzz, I have tried to do my best and something new that doesn't disappoint my fans but it is his opinion which matters to me. Swayam has been surprisingly 100 per cent accurate with his predictions till date for all the films he's seen in the last two years. All the films he predicted would be super hits — Rang De Basanti, Om Shanti Om, Chak De India, Welcome and this year's Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and Singh Is Kinng — have become major money spinners at the BO."
He's a charm
Himesh adds, "Even with music, his sensibilities of judging a hit song is amazing! He loved the music of Karzzzz when he heard it and said it would be a hit after which Bhushan Kumar (of T-Series) received an unprece- dented response for the music from sales. So I truly want Swayam's opinion when he sees Karzzzz. His opinion is non-biased and he's my lucky charm. I hope he loves my latest film."Himesh says his relationship with Swayam is more as a friend than father-son one. "I am a little strict when it's required or when I need to guide him but mostly I am more a friend than a father."
Industrialist Anil Ambani (L) along with his sons leaves Prateeksha - one of the residences of actor Amitabh Bachchan after a Sangeet-traditional Indian pre-marriage musical ceremony of his son' Abhishek's marriage to Aishwarya Rai, in Mumbai, early 19 April 2007.
And this is not the only work that will keep Saba busy. Not it's not Bollywood, but dad Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi has quite a few plans in mind for her. Here's an excerpt:
Between grooming herself as the probable trustee of her royal family's vast properties and honing her talent as a jewellery designer, Saba Ali Khan is a busy woman. But when her famous elder brother and Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan came to her with a request -- to design a sparkling, new piece for his ladylove Kareena Kapoor on her birthday -- Saba readily agreed to make time.
And because it is for a 'special someone' in her brother's life, Saba's putting a lot of thought into it. "I would love to make her something. But the deadline is too soon. I will need time as it has to be a gorgeous piece," she confesses. That may mean that Kareena will not receive Saba's creation on September 21, when she celebrates her birthday. Instead, Saba hopes it will be ready by New Year.
This is a decisive month for the 32-year-old second born of Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore. In an announcement at the family's Ahmedabad Palace in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh [Images], Pataudi recently proposed Saba's name for the post of naib mutawalli or deputy chief trustee to the family's properties. (Pataudi is the current mutawalli or caretaker of the Auqaf-e-Shahi of Bhopal. Auqaf-e-Shahi refers to all those princely endowments or properties that are of religious or charitable significance. The mutawalli is responsible for the upkeep of mosques, dargahs and Islamic shrines belonging to the erstwhile Bhopal princedom.)
The matter of Saba's appointment will come up for acceptance before the Waqf board in mid-September. If she does become naib mutawalli, she will be in line to succeed her father. If and when that happens, she could be the first woman in the country to assume the head of an Auqaf-e-Shahi since the end of the princely era.
While Saba is not thinking too far ahead, she takes the faith reposed in her by her father seriously. She says, "I am already reading up a lot and trying my best to understand our ancestral role and the history of our family. My father is still the mutawalli and I have been observing him and trying to learn from him. If it [the responsibility] does come to me I will do my best to carry out my duties in a fitting manner."
Pataudi declined to comment too much on his daughter's new responsibility but hinted that she has the right personality for it. "I chose Saba because she has the time and the inclination to take it up. She is a soft and stable person. These qualities will help her. The others are too busy. Right now, her name has only been proposed as the naib mutawalli. It's a religious and administrative role, so she will have to see how it goes."
It is understandable why Pataudi perceives Saba as the better suited of his three children for the role of the head of a Nawab family. All the three Pataudis grew up imbibing from their grandmother the teachings of the Koran, the importance of tehzeeb and lihaaz, the value of the purdah and other Islamic traditions. But Saif and Soha -- also an actress -- chose glamorous Bollywood careers while Saba adopted a quieter and more pious existence.
"I am more conventional," she says comparing herself to her siblings, but adds, "I am also more flexible and adaptable than Saif and Soha, who are more strong-willed. My nature being what it is, I have adopted the traditional teachings in my own life."
Saba's taste for the fine fabrics and intricately embroidered clothes of the past, ancient jewellery and heirlooms reflect this to a large extent. She's partial to salwar-kameezes; she wears jeans or trousers on visits abroad but "doesn't dress to reveal". She also admits to "pinching all of [her] mother's jewels and saris" on occasional visits to their ancestral homes in Bhopal or Pataudi. "Maybe I just connect with the older era more than the generation of today. I always appreciated my grandmother's beautiful outfits, the exquisite jewellery and artifacts in our homes. That karigari cannot be replicated today."
Even if her beliefs are in the conservative mould, Saba does see herself as a confluence of both old and new ideas. "My parents capsuled within themselves both the modern and traditional world and they passed on the synthesis to all of us," she points out. She enjoys watching films (naturally, all her mother's, brother's and sister's top the list) and going out with friends but "doesn't smoke or drink".
The Pataudis are a close-knit bunch and family is of utmost importance to Saba. "We all give each other space and do not interfere in each others' lives," says Saba, who has grown to be friends with Kareena, Saif's girlfriend for over a year now. "I find her highly spirited yet thoughtful," she says of Kareena. "I am also very fond of my niece Sarah and nephew Ibrahim [Saif's kids from his earlier marriage to actress Amrita Singh]."
In the picture: Saba's creation for Kareena.
Her career as jewellery designer was a natural extension of Saba's aesthetic sense, developed while being raised in an environment surrounded by so much beauty. After finishing her education at the British School in New Delhi [Images], Saba completed a course in advertising from the Delhi College of Art and headed to the Gemological Institute of America in 1997. "I never thought I was a career girl but after the course, I was talented enough to make a mark in this profession," says Saba.
As for following her brother and sister into films, that was never an option for Saba, who calls herself "too shy to go up there on the screen". But she doesn't rule out designing jewellery for films if given an opportunity.
Saba's jewellery line is simply called Saba and is an eclectic mix of precious and semi-precious stones. Once again, the underlying theme in most of her designs is the juxtaposition of the modern and classic. "I design for today's generation so my designs have a modern feel but they also have a classical element." Her next big project is designing a Diwali collection, which will be showcased at exclusive outlets if it all materiliases as planned, but nothing has been finalised.
In the long term, of course, Saba harbours dreams of finding Mr Right. "I have never been in a serious relationship and I will get married only when I find the right guy. I won't go into marriage half-heartedly." Whoever he is, he will have to share Saba's devotion to her faith. "My personality is such that I will connect best with someone who shares my beliefs," says Saba, who religiously observes the Roza during Ramzan every year. "I enjoy being a Muslim and I feel spiritually at home in Islam."
The Pataudi estates:
The Pataudi family's property, worth a total of Rs 250 crore, includes several mosques, palaces, shrines and havelis. Among them, the Jama Masjid and the tomb of Dost Muhammed (both Bhopal landmarks), Masjid Sajjida Sultan, Raisen Ki Dargah in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh [Images] and the palatial family haveli in Pataudi.
What Saba would design
For mother Sharmila: A stylish classical piece with rubies and emeralds.
For sister Soha: Maybe something with aquamarines and diamonds.
For herself: A pair of long earrings with aquamarine drops or a chand bali.
Arjun Rampal has been flooded with compliments after Rock On!! Rampal's daughters Mahikaa and Myra have been so inspired by their papa's film, they have formed their own miniature rock band. Arjun says he didn't expect this kind of overwhelming response to Rock On! "This kind of reaction scares me and piles on the pressure. My daughters have seen the film and loved it so much that they have formed their own band. They both had guitars but after they saw me playing, they have been inspired to play it themselves. Now I have two baby rock stars at home." Will he let them become rock stars if they want to be? "I will let them be whatever they want. I was always supported by my family and I will do the same for my kids."
Arjun's best gift and compliments have come from musicians. "They have SMSed me that they could totally relate to Joe's character and that I have given them so much hope.
"It's not just his colleagues and people from the fraternity who've called the actor to praise his performance. Pakistani pace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar called Arjun to congratulate him. Arjun says, "Shoaib Akhtar saw the film in Delhi in the first week. He later called me from Pakistan to say he loved the film and my character, Joe. He went on to say that it was my best performance till date — it was very mature aur unke dil ko choo gaya. Many people have said I have touched a chord in them with my empathetic portrayal of Joe."
- Lead by example. This simply covers a lot of ground. It's cliche, and simple, and so often over-looked or excused in its failure. Some people even argue that you should set an example you can't fulfill, so everyone's striving for it together. I say be real, and be the best you can.
- Leaders should infect with enthusiasm, not terrify with consequences. Maybe it is called for at some point: the terror technique. But if so, I'm not sure that I've ever seen it. Called for, that is. I've seen the terror technique. It's my noisy next door neighbor, figuratively speaking. I know way too much about him, quite accidentally, and never know how to respond when confronted by him. The terror technique, he makes no sense. You get much better results with enthusiasm. My boss switched it up to enthusiasm just this morning, and, man, have I gotten things done and cleared since then. Of course, this may also have something to do with her acknowledging a personal need to . . .
- Be organized. It's true there have been plenty of inspired leaders who couldn't find matching socks in the morning, and plenty of perpetual followers who can pull their second-grade report card in under sixty seconds. I'm not saying this is the key to good leadership, but it helps. A LOT. People are a lot more willing to listen to someone who shows up early, doesn't allow interruptions and knows where they left their glasses. Of course, keeping oneself organized is a whole other ballgame from keeping other people so, which is why a good leader must know how to . . .
- Delegate intelligently. Another cliche here. Although: really? I always hear, "Must be able to delegate responsibility," but rarely is it qualified with something suggestive of delegation being a skill of varying effectiveness. The trouble with delegation is that it takes a very finely honed sense of perspective, and an intimate understanding of the people around you, and very few people seem to appreciate this. You can't do it all, and even if somehow you can, it makes working for you miserable, because necessary information gets centralized so thoroughly that if you disappear, so does a great deal of effectiveness. How to delegate intelligently, exactly? It would take its own entry (or book) in all likelihood, but I suspect it has something to do with being able to perceive the big picture right alongside the details.
- You're only as capable as you are flexible. The leader has to have the ability to stick his or her nose into every aspect of the endeavor. Also, the insight to know when to go with a specialist's opinion over his or her own. Orchestration is a good word. You may not be able to play every instrument in the band, but you damn well better know what each and every one can sound like, and be able to pick it up without knocking it out of tune.
- Communicate. Seriously. About everything. On some rare occasions a secret or particular dissemination of information may be useful, but the rule should otherwise be to talk about everything, all of the time. And I do mean talk. Getting things done comes of talking; talking is the real-time interaction that provides the most information and the best understanding, even between people who are having trouble understanding the actual words involved. Collaboration is communication.
- Whenever possible, begin every response with an observation and affirmation. And for that matter, start every conversation with a question. Beginning that way invites the person into communication, rather than laying something (yet ANOTHER THING) on him or her. Once you're in the exchange, you'll get much more helpful responses if the person you're dealing with hears you saying "yes" with your voice, even when you have to disagree. "Yes" maintains energy, affirms worth, and allows people to feel like you're listening. (It helps you out too with your long-term positivity.) In acting it's called "accepting and building," taking something you're given and making something more with it. This may sometimes be a matter of turning lemons into lemonade -- you're still going to get fewer squirts in the eye this way.
- Know what you're about. I'm not saying by this that a leader has to have it all figured out. (On the contrary: How pointless.) No, I mean to say that people need something to latch on to if they're going to follow someone. Maybe it's just because they also need something to criticize or catch you failing to fulfill, but some singular quality that's demonstrable helps people focus in on you. Something personal must separate you from the crowd, and it's just helpful that you understand your own je ne sais quoi. Mystery can be your trademark. Just know it, if it is. It may become a target at some point, but so what? You aren't the important thing:
- Make calls, and take responsibility for everything, credit for nothing. We tend to resist images and examples from kings and emperors (we're more comfortable with ship captains, for some reason), but there is something about that dynamic that everyone craves, or at times needs. We're more inclined to follow decisive people, and more inclined to work hard for them when we know they have our backs. This is difficult advice, because it can be so easy to misconstrue. A leader isn't always right, and a leader must have a chorus of input from his or her followers at all times, but he or she must also mediate, resolve, and take things forward. When things go wrong, the good leader protects his or her team. When things go right, the good leader makes sure the team members involved get the credit. It's a lot to take on, but in my opinion you're wasting your time if you do it any other way.
That's what I think so far, anyway. I must admit that it's not based on a whole lot of personal experience. Most of my leadership roles to date are the result of coincidence and/or default. Soon I hope to take that in hand. For now, I remain content to meditate a while longer.
Asha Bhosle remains the reigning queen of melody worldwide-she is also an amazing cook and her restaurants which feature her cuisine along with those of some celebrity friends, are usually so full, its hard to get in if you don’t make reservations well in advance.
In an exclusive interview Anand talks about growing up in the household of the legendary Mangeshkars, and what makes his mother such a unique personality.
So what are the early memories of music?
Strangely none of mom and my aunt. I never saw them rehearse before us. The only person I saw practicing with a tanpura was my uncle, their brother Hridaynath ji. In those days rehearsals would start early and go on till late night, and after singing so many songs on a daily basis for so many hours, I doubt they needed to come home and practice. Unlike today, those
days recording of a song could begin at 8 a.m. and go on till 10m p.m. The directors, musicians and singers were one big family. Today everything is on the run. So while growing up I was clueless about my mom being this famous singer. My friends at school would tell me –hey your mom and aunt are famous singers and I would retort-no you are mistaken. My aunt and mom don’t sing-its my uncle who is a musician. In any case I was never considered Asha Bhosle’s son-my friends always thought of me as Anand their friend and it was only incidental that asha bhosle was my mother. Those are the friends I still keep in touch with.
Were you ever trained in music?
We were kept very far away from Bollywood. Mom knew this was a very tough line and she didn’t want us to go through the intense struggle she faced. She didn’t have the opportunities to do other things-we did. Mom wanted us to excel in academics and focus on a career away from the film and music industry. My oldest brother Hemant always wanted to be a commercial pilot
and though he did dabble with music and gave music in some films as music director, he didn’t like the way things worked and went back to his first passion and became a commercial pilot.
Yes there would have been comparisons with mom but they would have been favorable comparisons-people would have said, wow she is a great talent just like her aunt and mother. I still crib that she just took what came naturally to her for granted.
I was never really trained in music though I have a good ear for it. My interest was in studying economics and commerce and that is what I did.
I used to however be fond of music and absolutely loved R.D. Burman’s tunes. Whenever mom was recording for him, she would send the car for me after school. I was about 11-12 years old then and would be given the privilege of going straight into the singers’ cabin where mom would be rehearsing. For the final take however I would be sent out by her, so I could sit where
I could hear the entire music accompanying her song, but most importantly, she claimed she was nervous having me in the room with her!
Today when I look back, I realize I was like that fly on the wall when history was being made-I was there when some of the best songs by R.D., mom and Kishore Kumar were being recorded.
Can you share some memories of the great musicians you spent time with?
Mohammed Rafi was a really nice person, soft spoken, dignified and very decent and obviously a wonderful singer, but it was Kishore da who was such a joy to be around. He was this mad hatter genius, who would come up with amazing improvisations and mom and he would enhance the song even further competing to add that one touch, to out do the other. The competition was
always healthy and they were very appreciative of each other’s talents. Kishore da would always sit on this high chair and sing, mom always stood and sang, and between them they would create sheer magic. There was laughter all the time when Kishore da was around.
What can I say about Pancham da(R.D. Burman). I don’t think India has produced a genius like him in this century. I used to hate most of the music I heard growing up. If you see people like Lakshmi Kant Pyarelal, everything had the same theka..there was nothing new, nothing unique in the way they created music.
R.D. on the other hand, was so talented. He was always thinking music. One day he was in the shower and took a bottle of Listerine, filled it up and blew in it..The sound of that blowing became a part of the song Mehbooba o mehbooba. So there they were in the recording studio, filling the bottle and blowing into it, trying to get the note that R.D. wanted. The sound
of the note was affected by the level of the water. R.D. said, we are surrounded by sound-a cricket chirps, a car starts, the wind blows-there is sound everywhere-you add rhythm and music to it and it becomes part of a song.
His father S.D. Burman was more interested in the classical genre. He could never understand the value of the modernization and new improvisations his son brought into music and he would tell R.D. to stick to the classical genre. And yet a lot of the music in Taalash-Karle Pyar Karle for example is R.D.s tune, and arranged by him. Even in the classic movie-Guide-Mohse Chal kiye jai was supposed to be S.D’s song, but my aunt Lata Mangeshkar told me that it was R.D, who taught her the song and the rhythm patterns were all his. Piya tose is S.D.’s tune but the arrangements are all R.D.’s.
As a duo-the father and son’s combined talent can never be matched again.
In spite of being so talented and so imaginative, Pancham da was always open to suggestions. He would allow his singers to improvise. People like mom could sing the same song ten different ways and then he would sit down and take what he thought was the best out of that. Only A.R. Rahman does that these days. He will let mom sing the way she wants. She will sing the
same line 10 different ways and he then sits down and takes what he feels is the best.
Of course R.D. in a very nice way, would extract the very best out of his singers and make them sing until he was satisfied.
Like he would tell mom-Asha ji, you’ve reached 90 percent-you just have to extract that remaining 10 percent and slowly and steadily get it out of her!
Your mom jokingly complained that R.D gave his best songs to Lata ji. I heard her sing Raina beeti Jaye and she actually sang it better. I have always considered your mother a better singer than her sister. When I said that to her, she hushed me up!
Mom is very loyal that way. I can’t say that loyalty is reciprocated but thanks for saying that. As her son I believe that she is indeed the greatest singer in the world, but I’m obviously biased! Well R.D. was a very talented musician but he also never had the courage to stand his ground, even if he felt my mother would have done a better job with a song. He would often
tell me in private that mom would have sung this and this song better. The producers are the ones who hold the purse strings, and Pancham da was insecure-he felt if he stood up and told the producer that let Asha sing this, the producer would not repeat him in his next movie. R.D was also much younger, and too respectful-unlike senior musicians like O.P Nayyar who would
throw a producer out if they dared interfere in his work-he would tell them don’t tell me how to do my job-get out.
I still remember this incident with Khayyam sahib who gave the memorable music of Umrao Jaan, among other films. He was facing hard times and a producer approached him to give music in his film. Khayyam Sahib said-fine, this is the way I work, and these are my requirements. The producer said-well actually this is not what we want-instead can you do this and that?
Khayyam sahib got up, politely showed him the door and said-you see that road –if you go straight and turn that way, it will take you to musician Bhappi Lahiri’s house-he will be able to do what you want, I wont. In spite of being so hard up, he would not compromise on his integrity as a musician. R.D was too tentative. He was heavily into cricket and one day he said
to me-you know your aunt Lata is like Bradman and your mom is like Sobers. Your aunt does great batting, but your mom does batting and bowling and even gets the wickets.
He knew mom’s caliber and did his best to bring it to the forefront but his hands were tied. Mom on the other hand would often record songs for her sister when she was away, so that Lata ji could come back and dub over that. But there was one song from Sholay which Lata ji sang, that R.D openly said Mom would have done a better job, if the producer had agreed to let
her sing it. The song was jab tak hai jaan, jaane jahan main nachoongi picturised on Hema ji.
Of course there were songs like chura liya, dum maro dum and lo mera pyaar le lo, which no one but mom could have sung. The level of difficulty that she was given to sing in many songs, were far beyond what Lata ji often sang, but mom made it look easy. It’s only when you attempt to sing those songs you realize how beyond your scope they are. No wonder many of the new
singers have not touched some of those songs, even when they do remakes of the golden oldies.
In the song O meri jaan maine kaha, a note that mom hit was outside the scale.
One of the songs that had R.D was totally ecstatic about was teri meri yaari badi purani..he came back very late after recording it, dragged me to his car and drove off-he kept rewinding the song and playing it and saying-look how well she has sung this.” All the Teesri Manzil numbers were tough, most songs picturised on Helen were usually tough numbers.
I used to often visualize her sing bahon me chale aa from Anamika, instead of Lata ji.
Actually mom has sung that when she tours, but that is one song where she feels only Lata ji could have sung it and she loves the way the song came out. So whenever she sings that number she says before the song that she is simply honoring her sister’s talent, nothing else.
Does your mom ever regret not choosing classical music over film music? She has done Legacy with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
Pandit Jasraj says to this day that he wishes mom had become a classical singer, but the path was shown to her by her guru.
He told her she could choose classical and will do very well, but she will struggle and won’t make much money. The way to greatness would be this new music. She literally followed him to a T and says she has no regrets.
Look at the amazing albums she has released in so many different genres, as a result.
When you look at the poor quality of most songs that people are singing, how does your mom find a balance between singing songs like Qambaqht ishk which probably became a hit because of her style of singing, and finding something that challenges her as an artist?
That era when Raj kapoor took an entire day to record a song is over. Movies and songs are being done on the run. They are geared nowadays towards the NRI markets abroad. I think the NRIs are so home sick and so starved for connections to India, that they lap up anything sent their way. That is why a lot of films and albums that flop in India, do very well abroad.
Producers and directors are always looking first at what sells. I personally think Shahrukh Khan was totally miscast in Devdas, but because he sells, he was taken. Will Devdas ever go down in the annals of history as a classic, like Mughal-e Azam, in spite of the extravagance-I greatly doubt it.
That is why mom does so many different kind of albums. She also sings for low budget films like Umrao Jaan, where every song she has sung has been so memorable. In fact she almost bypassed Umrao Jaan because she was so busy, but the director Muzzafar Ali who knows my sister requested her to persuade mom to at least hear the songs out. He didn’t feel anyone else could sing those songs. When mom heard the melodies, she loved them . She was told they couldn’t pay her much and she said don’t worry about that. I’m delighted to be singing these high quality numbers. Even Rekha cribbed to her about the low remuneration and
mom said Rekha do the film, the story is great, the music excellent - stick it out. People remember the film to this day for Rekha’s performance - she looked so gorgeous as well- and the film’s music. Mom’s songs are remembered to this day. The film netted Rekha the National Award for best actress. She acknowledged that it was mom’s advice that helped her stick it out.
It is films like these or certain albums that she has done away from the run of the mill stuff, that give her the creative satisfaction of having done something special.
Its also very interesting how professional my aunt and mom are-they will never give unwanted advice to any music director they sing for. Mom will sing even the most mediocre composition with her heart and soul in it. Maybe that is why all of them go on to become such big hits.
About 15 years ago David Harrington, the founder of the band started listening to Hindi music. Each time he liked a song, he would check the music director out and each time he invariably found that the song was composed by R.D. and sung by mom. He has said that he considers Pancham to be the greatest composer from India in this century at par with many western classical greats in the way he interpreted music, and in the sounds he created. While we being from the same country listen to the lyrics, David who couldn’t understand the lyrics, focused only on the music and the compositions and what he heard made him realize what a genius R.D. was. David decided that one day he was going to work with R.D and mom.
All his life R.D. was frustrated by the fact that his music was not showcased before a global audience as it deserved to be.
When David finally decided on the album, Pancham had passed away and he realized that the person who knew him most closely was mom. When she was approached to do this album, she agreed because it also meant taking R.D. ‘s music to a global audience and fulfilling his dream.
David was quite blown away by mom’s range-its like Pavarotti doing a Michael Jackson. It can only be done by Asha Bhosle. No other singer male or female can diversify their style to such a huge extent as mom can. The album was nominated for a Grammy and has been appreciated world wide.
R.D was a great musician but he never had a good manager or a good business sense. I wish he had lived to see this.
Your mom has changed with the times so beautifully, and you have been with her every step of the way. What are the things that you think capture the essence of your mother.
I think the most important thing in mom’s life is her family. She can lose everything and not be bothered as long as her family is with her. She is exceedingly loyal, she never gives up and she has amazing stamina. Mom has done with barely 3-4 hours of sleep every day for years. Her other siblings and all of us would keel over but not her, and yet nothing affects her voice.
She is extremely hard working and stubborn-when some one says it can’t be done, she will go all out to prove them wrong.
Her musical career started in 1943, and she did her first stage show in 1977. Today every one who can, hops on a plane and tries to make as much money in as short a time. For mom quality was most important. Even in her stage shows, she is clear that we will tour once every two years and bring something new each time.
Even if the songs she sings are the same, the presentation will be different and fresh. That is why when she performed in Atlanta at the Raina Foundation’s charity event, we introduced dancers, a magic show by her, the musicians moved around, instead of staying static, and she sang her life’s story in a song that we all like but no one sings-Mera naam hai shabnam, as an introduction.
Mom loves being out doors and she is a trendsetter. She loved artificial beads and wore colored saris when the trend was white saris and heavy diamond or gold jewelry. Initially people were scandalized and then every one started following her That is why all the youngsters today follow her style.
So who is mom’s favorite?
She wont say! I personally think its Hemant because she had him so young and literally grew up with him. She loves Varsha because she is the only daughter. Mom actually went to the Mahalakshmi temple to pray for a daughter, but she tells me she is very proud of the way I have handled things in life and that she thinks I’m very sharp. I let her off the hook in spite of
this answer because now that I have kids, I know there really are no favorites, you just love each kid in a unique and special way.