“I used to sing by my window and one day, Papaji (Prithvi Raj Kapoor) heard me and said, ‘I had a beautiful voice and I should sing in films'.” - Asha Puthli
STARDUST INDIA|November 2021
Meet the refreshingly candid Asha Puthli, India’s first cross over star to the West – who speaks to Nandita Chatterjee about her musical journey to the West, her going topless in a film, her music and more.
Nandita Chatterjee

When we talk about cross-over actors, we immediately think of Priyanka Chopra or Irrfan Khan but much before the world heard of these names, a young woman from Matunga, Mumbai had made herself a global phenomenon - Asha Puthli. Asha’s career in films spans over three continents - India, France, Germany & Italy, and the US. In addition to that she is a successful and legendary jazz singer in the US sharing top billing with the likes of Julio Iglesias, working with labels like CBS, Sony, Emi and RCA. …An icon for Indian American artistes of today and an inspiration for generations to come, presenting Asha Puthli and her legendary journey.

Tell us a little about your childhood in Dadar - once the breeding ground for classical music - how did it influence your foundation?

I grew up in Matunga known as Hollywood galli (there was no Bollywood then) because the celebrities that lived there. It was on RK Masani Road, Prithvi Raj Kapoor lived there - in fact his whole family lived there Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, you name it. It was at a Kapoor wedding that I sang my first Punjabi song (lathey di chhadar). Other eminent celebrities in “the galli” were Seghal, Amrish Puri etc .

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