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JACKI LYDEN, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Imagine if Elvis were still alive, that he'd done hundreds of movies, thousands of songs and was still on tour at age 74. That's the theme when Asha Bhosle comes to America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ASHA BHOSLE: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

LYDEN: Asha Bhosle is a legend in India's Bollywood movie world, and she's wrapping up a rare U.S. concert tour. Her stops last week ranged from Carnegie Hall to Caesar's Palace. NPR's Robert Smith caught her Atlantic City show last night and said the diva can still surprise.

ROBERT SMITH: Even before the show it's like a candy-colored Bollywood musical has invaded Caesar's Palace. Women in elaborate makeup and flowing saris stream across the casino floor. A group of 13-year-old girls comes tearing around the corner. They're dressed head-to-toe in - I don't even know what you call these things.

Unidentified Woman: Cholis.

SMITH: These are cholis. And these are, like, a bright fuchsia and...

Woman: Yeah.

SMITH: ...green and red.

Woman: They're - they come from India. So they're, like, specially made for us.

SMITH: And if you guys shake your feet it sounds like...

Woman: They're, like, little tiny bells.

SMITH: Their hope is to get on stage with Asha Bhosle for a big dance number. Other plans are planning to sing along. It's estimated that Bhosle has recorded close to 13,000 songs so everyone wants to hear their favorite.

BHOSLE: The one and only living legend, the unbeatable Asha Bhosle. Here she comes. Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SMITH: Asha Bhosle struts in wearing a rhinestone-studded white sari. She kicks off her shoes and the hips start to swivel. You can see why she gets compared to Elvis. She may be 74 but the voice is from decades ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BHOSLE: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

SMITH: This would usually be when the thousand people in the audience start to dance in the aisles. But after the first song, Bhosle becomes serious.

BHOSLE: (Foreign language spoken)

SMITH: I don't understand Hindi so I ask the singer afterwards what happened.

BHOSLE: I told them now that why do we want the same songs?

SMITH: Bhosle says she was telling her fans that they weren't going to hear her greatest hits.

BHOSLE: But what I like I'm singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BHOSLE: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

SMITH: Instead she sang old songs that she learned from her father and classical selections from her equally-famous sister. It was if the Rolling Stones had decided to play English folk tunes instead of "Satisfaction."

BHOSLE: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

SMITH: You have to understand, Asha Bhosle made her name as a playback singer. She recorded the soundtracks for musicals while young pretty actresses mouthed her words. She says for most of career other people told her what to do. Now, she's in charge.

BHOSLE: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SMITH: That didn't stop people from yelling out their favorite. Only near the end of the show did she relent and give the audience something they could dance to.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BHOSLE: (Singing) (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SMITH: After the show there was a little bit of grumbling in the audience about all the songs that Asha Bhosle did not sing. But for Chedpa(ph), the whole thing was wonderful.

CHEDPA: She kind of opened herself up the way she has never opened herself up. She told us about her life story.

SMITH: You may not get the greatest hits but you get a little insight into it.

CHEDPA: I think anything she does is a greatest hit.

SMITH: Bhosle ends her tour next week in Phoenix and Los Angeles and she's getting ready to release a new album. It's called "75 Years of Asha." But this is no retrospective. As a final surprise for her fans, she recorded all new material.

Robert Smith, NPR News, Atlantic City.

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