Today, we celebrate the 87th birth anniversary of the late legendary golden heart Abhaas Kumar Ganguly, who the world today knows, loves and admires as Kishore Kumar. There are some interesting things that many of his young fans might not know about. That he was one of the most terrific, versatile and dynamic singers Indian cinema has ever witnessed is known to all, but we try to bring you some of the less visited facts of the life of this multi-faceted legend, who still continues to rule the charts and of course, millions of hearts!
While most people majorly love Kishore for his unmatchable singing talent, very few know that he was an equally good actor, music composer, lyricist, screenwriter, producer and a filmmaker. During his younger days, Kishore Kumar was an ardent fan and follower of legendary singer Kundan Lal Saigal, more popularly known as KL Saigal and his singing style. In fact, in Kishore’s initial songs, one can easily find the impression of Saigal’s singing style, before Kumar discovered his own unique style.
It was music director SD Burman, who had spotted Kumar’s talent for singing. During the making of ‘Mashaal’ way back in 1950, Burman visited Ashok Kumar’s house, where he heard latter’s younger brother, Kumar imitating KL Saigal. He complimented him and told him that he should develop a style of his own, instead of copying Saigal. Kumar eventually developed his own style of singing, which featured yodelling, which he had heard on the records of Tex Morton and Jimmie Rodgers.
Kishore sang his first song ‘Chhota sa ghar hoga’ for music composer Salil Chaudhary in Bimal Roy’s directorial, ‘Naukri’ which even had Kishore playing the lead role in it. Interestingly, the song was initially supposed to be sung by the then favourite, Hemant Kumar. For those not in the know, Kishore Kumar replaced Mohammed Rafi as Dev Anand’s on-screen voice in ‘Munimji’ and then there was no looking back for him. Although Kishore and Rafi were touted as rival singers, not many know that they were best friends and would often meet and chat for hours about music and cinema. In fact, Kishore had a lot of reverence for Rafi who was a classically trainer singer, while Rafi was in awe of Kishore’s singing talent despite him not being a trainer singer. The two legends even came together to sing many chartbusters way back in the 70s and 80s.
After ‘Munimji’ Kishore sang numerous unforgettable songs for Dev Anand. It’s a world-known fact that Kishore sang numerous immortal songs for the first superstar of Indian cinema, Rajesh Khanna, so much so that he was known to be the ‘Voice of Rajesh Khanna’. Interestingly, in one his earlier interviews, Amitabh Bachchan, whom Kishore too sang unforgettable songs for, said that the kinds of songs Kishore sang for Khanna were way better than the ones he sang for him. Bachchan even said that Khanna was luckier to have had such beautiful, immortal songs in his repertoire, sung by Kishore Kumar.
Later, the unsurpassable singer sang for almost every actor and every generation of the Kapoors – Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor, apart from superstars like Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor and many more. Today, as we celebrate his 87th birth anniversary, we salute the man with such impeccable, varied talents, who will be missed for decades to come.