Desert Island Songs of Asha Bhosle (Part 4, 1980 onwards)

In this concluding part of the Asha SurveykshaN series, songs from 1980 to the present are considered. Similar to earlier parts (Part 1 for 50s and earlier, Part 2 for 60s, Part 3 for 70s), participants were asked to select up to 40 solos (including solos, "mostly" solos, and solos with chorus) sung by Asha for Hindi films and non-film albums, with the choices imagined for a 'desert island' scenario.

Songs from Umraao Jaan and Ijaazat, two of Asha's "showcase" albums, crowd out the top few spots. The 80s was also Asha's most productive and qualitatively significant period in the Non-film space. This prominence is reflected in the selections. Three of her Non-film albums (one of which is a cover), all from the 80s, find a place in the top 10 albums.

The top 3 selected songs appear in more than 70% lists. Khayyam-Shahryar's dil cheez kyaa hai and ye kyaa jagah hai dosto from Umrao Jaan (1981) are the top two favorites. Pancham-Gulzar's qataraa qataraa from Ijaazat (1987) is tied for second place. Among composers, R D Burman dominates the period in general. Among the top 50 songs, RDB's songs score more than all others combined. Gulzar fairs almost equally well among lyricists, scoring twice as many selections as the next lyricist in the top-50. Their paring together is also the most favorite among the top selections.

Although this period covers several decades, 80s is clearly the most dominant period for both Asha's overall output and among survey selections. Year-wise, 1981 tops with 232 selections. The next most favorite year is 1987 selected 195 times, mainly on the strength of the two Pancham-Gulzar-Asha collaborations. For number of songs chosen, 1983 slightly edges out both 1981 and 1987 with 30 songs.

In total, 95 songs were chosen by only one participant, a smaller number than the earlier surveys. However, the number of songs chosen by 2 or more participants (158) is comparable to the 1970s survey. Also similar to the 70s, less than 10 songs are in the list of over half of the participants, compared to 25 songs in the 60s survey.

For over 250 desert island songs from the period, check the complete list.


  • Solos Asha sang in this period: 1020* (Film), ~100+ (Non-film)
  • Total songs selected by survey participants: 253
  • Songs selected by two or more participants: 158
  • Songs getting only one vote each: 95
  • Unique albums in selections: 159

Top 10 albums (based on cumulative total votes for songs of an album) 

Rank Album Total Score
1 Umrao Jaan 126
2 Ijaazat 109
3 Dil Padosi Hai (Non-Film) 68
4 Meraj-e-Ghazal (Non-Film) 48
5 Khubsoorat 40
6 Namkeen 34
7 Rangeela 27
8 Kashish (Non-Film) 26
9 Angoor 25
10 Ahista Ahista 25

Top years (based on cumulative total votes for songs of a year) 

Rank Year Total Score
1 1981 232
2 1987 195
3 1980 169
4 1982 149
5 1983 99
6 1984 67
7 1988 58
8 1985 57
9 1997 40
10 1993 29

Number of Selections by Decade 

Year Total Songs (Score)
1 1980s 198 songs (Score: 1,066)
2 1990s 39 songs (Score: 169)
3 2000s 15 songs (Score: 23)
4 2020s 1 song (Score: 1)

Most favorite composers among Top-50 songs 

Rank Composer Songs Count (Total Selections)
1 R D Burman 26 (Score: 387)
2 Khayyam 7 (Score: 158)
3 A R Rahman 3 (Score: 36)
4 Bappi Lahiri 2 (Score: 29)
5 Bhupen Hazarika 2 (Score: 23)
5 Ghulam Ali 2 (Score: 23)

Most favorite lyricists among Top-50 songs  

Rank Lyricist Songs Count (Total Selections)
1 Gulzar 19 (Score: 309)
2 Shahryar 5 (Score: 126)
3 Anand Bakshi 6 (Score: 84)
4 Mehboob 2 (Score: 27)
5 Amit Khanna 2 (Score: 24)
6 Nida Fazli 1 (Score: 24)
7 Gulshan Bawra 2 (Score: 23)

* According to Vishwas Nerurkar's book "Swarasha"


Abhay Jain, Abhijit Deonath, Aditya Pant, Ajit Rajwade, Akanksha Sharma, Ali Rashid, Amarendra R Nargundkar, Armeen Ramabhadran, Arun Verma, Ashok M Dhareshwar, Asif Alvi, Camaal, Divya Gupta, Faraaj Qureshi, Gajendra Khanna, K S Shenoy, Ketan Dholakia, Khanwelkar Chandrashekhar, Medha, Mihir Mainkar, N Sridhar, Narsingh Dev Agnish, Neeru Malhotra, Nitin Shitole, Pavan Jha, Preetham, Sandeep, Sanjay Bhowmick, Sanjay Kathuria, Shalini Razdan, Shekhar, Shrinivas Phoujadar, Srivathsan Sekar, Subrat Mohanty, Sukesh Hoogan, Surajit Bose, Swaraj Mishra, UVR, Veena, Vibhendu Tewari, Vijay Kumar K, Vinay Jain, Vipin Nair, Vish Krishnan, Vivek Choraria

Participants who selected 40 songs: 42%
Participants who selected 20 or fewer songs: 31%