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An artiste par excellence: Kishore Kumar

Gitanjali Diwakar | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Kishore Kumar with Nutan in the movie Dilli ka Thug

Today, on his 91st birthday, it is obvious that Kishore Kumar will forever win the hearts of people of all generations

The year was 1990. My parents were overjoyed by the little brat that came into the world screaming her heart out. Six months later, my parents were granted the chance to spend two years in a foreign land. For the youngsters of their generation – Cliff Richard, the Carpenters and probably ABBA were claimed to be the ‘in thing’. But to them, nothing sounded more heavenly that the tunes of Zindagi ek safar hain suhaana, ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si, or the jovial Eena meena deeka.  

It is, hence, natural for me, the next ‘New Generation’ woman to develop an affinity towards the singer, director, song writer and overall ‘star’ - Abhas Kumar Ganguly aka Kishore Kumar. 

Today, on his 91st birthday, it is obvious that Kishore Kumar will forever win the hearts of people of all generations. 

I was introduced to this personality through his music and the movie Bhai Bhai. Shot in the year 1955, the film also starred his elder brother and one of India’s finest actors – Ashok Kumar.  

It wan’t long before a few questions began pondering me - Who is this person? How can he act well and sing brilliantly without any formal training?  

The story is fascinating. In an interview, his elder brother stated that Kishore Kumar was a naughty child and was always upto some mischief. One day he had severly hurt himself in the kitchen. The excruciating pain led to loud wails. Since then, Kishore Kumar’s voice became the most sought after in the country.  

One of my favourite movies has been Padosan - which starred Hindi cinema’s comedy king – Mehmood, Sunil Dutt and Kishore Kumar. If you haven’t watched the movie, fear not. The song are evergreen. Remember the tunes of the classic R D Burman composition – Mere samnewale khidki mein, kehena hai, or even ek chatur naar?  

Here is an interesting fact about the film. Kishore Kumar was known to have improvised the song sequence Mere pyaare bindu. So, if you have laughed out loud watching him dance across the screen, it means you love him too! 

In the recent past, I had the pleasure of watching a classic, starring the three brothers – Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar. If your guess is the 1958 film - Chatli ka naam gaadi - then you must adore the artist as well! Did I like the film? No, I loved it!  

The team behind this movie were talented beyond imagine. The three brothers worked like a team and their co-stars – including Madhubala (who was incidentally Kishore Kumar’s spouse) - formed the perfect on-screen cast. The film depicted the comical yet sensitive actor within Kishore Kumar. Let’s not ignore the unforgettable music by S D Burman. While many have strived to imitate the yodeling in Haal kaise hai janaab ka or even paanch rupaaiya barah aana, none have had the same fun-filled expression as the original. This was, indeed, his signature. 

The more I listened to his songs, the keener I had become to dwell into his life at large. To me, he was dashing, handsome and possessed a certain charm (of course, I wasn't even thought of during his hay days in cinema!). But Kishore Kumar’s personal life didn’t seem to be as fun and entertaining as one would hope it be.  

A movie starring Ranbir Kapoor, showcases the life of this entertainer. For some unknown reason, its trailer did not appeal to me. It could be due to the fact that his charisma continues to live amidst some of us. The Kishore Kumar that I perceive was an example of one could do anything if they merely believed in themselves. May the soul of this great personality continue linger amidst us for time eternity.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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