Asha began her singing career with her first film song 'Chala chala nav bala' for the Marathi movie 'Majha Bal' in 1943.
She entered Bollywood with her first Hindi song 'Saawan aaya' for Hansraj Bahl's 'Chunariya' in 1948. Her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, and Suraiya were her contemporaries.
She emerged as a sensual singer in songs like 'Aiye meherban' from 'Howrah Bridge' in 1958, and 'In aankhon ki masti' from 'Umrao Jaan' in 1981. She also sang the evergreen number 'Chura liye hai tumne' for Zeenat Aman in 'Yaadon Ki Baraat'. Asha got a massive breakthrough when SD Burman had serious differences with Lata Mangehskar. Asha then went on to become his favourite female singer.
Her contribution to music in Indian cinema has been applauded and awarded too. Asha was conferred the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest title in Indian cinema in 2000. She was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan by President Pratibha Patil May this year.