Kishore Kumar

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Kishore Kumar

A multi-faceted genius, Kishore Kumar was a producer, director, lyricist, singer, music director, and actor. However, it is as a playback singer that he is best remembered. Kishore Kumar’s untrained yet deep and melodious voice lent itself to songs of varied genres — from the Aromantic Mere dil mein aaj kya hai (Daag) to the pathos of Mere naina sawan bhadon (Mehbooba), and the comical in O meri pyari Bindu (Padosan).

Born in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, Kishore Kumar was the youngest of the three Ganguly brothers, the others being Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar. Kishore Kumar was always interested in singing and idolized singer K.L. Saigal. He rendered his first song, Marne ki duaen kyun maangoon, for Dev Anand’s Ziddi.

Though an unwilling entrant to filmdom when he began his career as an actor, Kishore Kumar went on to become a prolific actor in the 1950s, who sang his own songs in basically slapstick romantic comedies and starred opposite all the major female stars of the era including Nutan, Vyjayanthimala, Madhubala, and Meena Kumari. His notable films included Bimal Roy’s Naukri and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s debut feature Musafir.

It was with the huge success of New Delhi, Aasha, and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi that Kishore Kumar came to be regarded as a star of some stature. Each of these films were frothy musical comedies featuring some of his best loved fun songs Arre bhai nikal ke aa ghar se in New Delhi and the perennial favourite Eena meena deeka in Aasha. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, in which Kishore Kumar starred with his brothers Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar as a romantic car mechanic, went on to become one of the most popular comedies of Hindi cinema and boasted of evergreen numbers such as Ek Ladki bheegi bhaagi si, Paanch rupaiya barah anna, and Hum the woh thi.

The success of these films was followed by those of others such as Apna Haath Jagannath, Jhumroo, and Half Ticket. Jhumroo had Kishore Kumar’s most famous yodelling number, Main hoon Jhum jhum jhum jhum Jhumroo. This film also saw him evolve as a composer of exceptional merit with songs such as Koi humdum na raha, among others. His portrayal of a betel-chewing, music guru to Sunil Dutt in Padosan remains a classic comic performance.

His performance in Half Ticket as a schoolboy in shorts, cemented his place as a great comic talent in Indian cinema. The film also boasted a song sequence (Aa ke seedhi lagi) involving Pran and Kishore Kumar (dressed in drag) where the latter sings both the male and female versions at the same time.

Kishore Kumar also took to direction with Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein for which he composed the music and also wrote the immortal song Aa chal ke tujhe. In contrast to the comedies he starred in, his directorial ventures such as Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein and Door Ka Rahi were often serious dramas.

As a playback singer, for a long time, Kishore Kumar restricted himself to singing for Dev Anand, with hits in Paying Guest (Chhod do aanchal), Nau Do Gyarah (Hum hain raahi pyar ke), Guide (Gaata rahe mera dil), and Jewel Thief (Yeh dil na hota bechara). However, it was in 1969 that he became a full-fledged professional with Aradhana and rose to the top as a playback singer.

Kishore Kumar’s songs for actor Rajesh Khanna in films such as Kati Patang, Mere Jeevan Saathi, and Amar Prem, established him as the number one playback singer in the early 1970s. The Kishore Kumar-R.D. Burman-Rajesh Khanna team gave immortal numbers such as Yeh shaam mastani, O mere dil ke chain, and Chingari koi bhadke. When Rajesh Khanna began sliding into oblivion, Kishore Kumar came to be regarded as the singing voice behind the rising star Amitabh Bachchan for whom he rendered classics including Khaike paan Banaras wala (Don) and O saathi re (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar).

Kishore Kumar won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for a record eight times, for his songs in Aradhana, Amanush, Don, Thodisi Bewafayi, Namak Halal, Agar Turn Na Hote, Sharabi, and Sagar.

Kishore Kumar’s son, Amit Kumar, is a popular playback singer in Hindi films too – (Source :- Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema)

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