New Delhi: The coronavirus outbreak has brought the global entertainment industry to a standstill, but veteran singer Asha Bhosle says she is hopeful that once normalcy returns showbiz will also recuperate.
The 86-year-old playback singer said India is an entertainment loving nation and after the lockdown people will definitely return to movie theatres and music concerts.
“This pandemic will affect every industry to an extent. But I feel that once this is over, the entertainment industry will bounce back strongly. Don’t forget that we love entertainment and after being in our homes for many weeks, there may be a tendency to go out to the cinemas, attend music concerts.
“Humans are social animal and we have survived many calamities in the past. We shall do so again,” Asha told PTI Bhasha in an interview.
Coronavirus, which originated in central China in December, is believed to have infected more than 2.3 million people worldwide. While most recover, at least 155,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
In India, the death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to 543 and number of cases have climbed to 17,265 as of Monday morning.
The singer said in her lifetime she has witnessed several epidemics like TB, cholera, smallpox, plague, SARS, MERS and the current situation across the world has revived those painful memories.
“I am 86 and have seen many epidemics. We did not have a cure for them or there just weren’t enough medical facilities. We survived by homemade remedies. Plague used to wipe out entire villages. I remember my parents evacuating us from affected parts of the country and moving us to safer zones. It was social distancing at that time too.”
She said while there were no fancy words like ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ during those times, it was the same principle which saved them.
“I have also seen several wars including World War II. There was food rationing and the situation was bad but we adapted and survived those days too. This pandemic is bad because the entire world has been affected,” the singer added.
Asha believes the only way to win the fight against the deadly virus is to follow the guidelines set by the health experts and the government.
“This virus is different and more deadly and it requires precautions like self- isolation, social distancing and cleanliness. I am happy with the way Indian government is dealing with the crisis. Considering the population and domestic mobility, it would have been worst,” she said.
The music icon also lauded celebrities for creating awareness about coronavirus and believes their efforts are giving fruitful results.
“People look up to celebrities and it is our duty towards them and our country. Almost all celebrities have attempted to spread awareness about the virus and I believe this has helped a lot in making people aware and follow the guidelines.”
Asha was also part of Sangeet Setu, a series of virtual concerts to support PM-CARES relief fund set up to fight COVID -19.
She said it was a unique experience to perform without any technical support.
“Sangeet Setu was unique initiative because performances came from the heart. Without studio facilities or professional recording equipment, without musicians, sound engineers. I recorded my performances on a phone and uploaded it,” she said.
The singer, who has been in the industry for over six decades, has also recorded for another initiative to bring people of the country together in these times of crisis.
“It is to bring together the people of India in this time of need and bring about our sense of pride and nationalism in this great ancient country of ours. As per PM-CARES fund directives, I also recorded an appeal for people to donate generously to the fund.”
With all her recordings and concerts being cancelled, Asha said she is happy to spend time with her family during the lockdown.
“All my recordings and concerts have been cancelled but I don’t dwell on what has been lost. Our culture teaches us to accept and adapt to any situation.”
“So, I am adapting too. I look at the positive side of even this horrid situation, example the entire family is together enjoying the simple things in life,” she said.
The singer said the pandemic has taught people the importance of human bond and also made them aware of fragility of life.
“I’m calling and receiving calls from friends who I haven’t heard from for many years. I have lost a dear friend in the UK and it drives home the point of how fragile life can be,” Asha said.
“I take each day as it comes and make the most of it. Nature has shown us that it’s bigger than any human accomplishment. It has taught us humility,” she added.