Indian film music industry is blessed with many talented artists who have made their creations immortal, with their golden voice. One of such gems is Kishore Kumar who still rules the heart of listeners across the globe. On the eve of his birth anniversary on 4th August, here is a tribute to Kishoreda – the legend who has given us the treasure of many melodious songs.

Childhood of Kishore Kumar

Born into the family of Kunjalal Ganguly (a lawyer) and Gouri Devi, in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh on 4th August 1929, Kishore Kumar’s actual name was Abhash Kumar Ganguly. He was the youngest among the four siblings. As a kid, he used to watch his elder brother Ashok Kumar (and later Anoop Kumar too) act in hindi films. This inspired the young Kishore towards bollywood, the factory producing hindi cinema and music. Kishore Kumar was a big admirer of K L Saigal and tried to emulate Saigal’s singing style in his songs. He has accepted his admiration for Saigal in few of his interviews.

Kishore Kumar as a kid
Rare photo of Kishore Kumar as a kid

Kishore Kumar’s Career in Bollywood

Kishore Kumar as singer

Kishore Kumar stated as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies where his elder brother Ashok Kumar (whom he used to call Dadamoni, a Bengali word for elder brother with respect). Slowly Kishore started getting offers for roles in few movies with the help ofDadamoni. He acted in few movies like New Delhi (1957), Asha (1957), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Half ticket (1962) and Padosan (1968). But his heart was not in acting but in pursuing a career in singing. However a major roadblock he faced in this because he had no formal education about music. Music directors were not willing to offer him songs due to this drawback. S D Burman realised the potential of the Kishoreda and asked him to create his own style in stead of imitating K L Saigal. This was a major turning point in Kishoreda’s life who introduced “yodelling” in Hindi film music.

Kishore Kumar - The Golden Voice
Kishore Kumar – The Golden Voice

Later S D Burman recorded many super hit songs for many of his films. My personal favourites are Chhod do aanchal (Paying Guest, 1957), Gaata rage meta dil (Guide, 1965), Phoolon ke rang se (Prem Pujari, 1970), Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si (Chalti ka naam gaadi, 1958). kishoreda also worked with other famous music directors of those days like Shankar Jaiskishan, Ravi, C Ramachandra.

Kishore with S D Burman
Kishore Kumar with Sachin Dev Burman

In late 60s, the maestro of music industry R D Burman worked with Kishoreda in the film Padosan (1968) and created immortal songs like Mere saamne wali khidki mien, kehna hai, chatoor naar etc. The journey of the talented duo Kishoreda & Burmanda continued to create the magic with many super hit songs like O Maajhire (Khushboo, 1970), Ye shaam mastani (Kati Patang, 1971), Chingari koi bhadke (Amar Prem, 1972).

Kishore with R D Burman
Kishore Kumar with the Maestro Rahul Dev Burman

Kishoreda also worked with the famous music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal to create gems like Mere mehboob qayamat hogi (Mr. X in Bombay, 1964), Ye jeevan hai (Piya ka guar, 1972), Om shanti om (Karz, 1980). Kishoreda worked with another music director duo Kalyanji-Anandji and created immortal songs like Zindagi ka safari (Safar, 1970), O saathi re (Muqaddar ke sikandar, 1978), Pal bhar ke liye (Johny mera naam, 1970), Are deewano (Don, 1978).

Kishore with Laxmi-Pyare
Kishore Kumar with Laxmikant-Pyarelal


Kishore with Kalyanji-Anandji
Kishore Kumar worked with Kalyanji-Anandji: Music director duo

One more music director who created plethora of good songs with Kishoreda was Bappi Lahiri. Together they created songs like Pag ghungroo (Namak halal, ),  De de pyar de (Sharaabi, ), Kabhi alvida na kehna (Chalte Chalte, 1976), Neele neele amber pe (Kalaakar, 1983).

Kishore with Bappida
Kishore Kumar with Bappi Lahiri

Kishoreda won Filmfare awards for record eight times.

Song Film Music director
Roop Tera Mastana Aradhana (1969) S D Burman
Dil Aisa Kisi Ne Mera Amanush (1975) Shyamal Mitra
Khaike Pan Banaras Wala Don (1978) Kalyanji Anandji
Hazaar Raahen Mudke Dekheen Thodisi Bewafai (1980) Khayyam
Pag Ghungroo Baandh Namak Halaal (1982) Bappi Lahiri
Agar Tum Na Hote Agar Tum Na Hote (1983) Rahul Dev Burman
Manzilein Apni Jagah Hain Sharaabi (1984) Bappi Lahiri
Saagar Kinaare Saagar (1985) Rahul Dev Burman

Kishore Kumar as film maker

Kisohreda tried his hands in lyrics, music direction and acting in his own films like Jhumroo (1961), Door gagan ki chhaon mien (1964). He was very good with his comic timing. The characters he plated in films like Padosan, Half ticket and Chalti ka naan gaadi were appreciated by audience. However he was not as successful as a director as he was as a singer. Kishoreda in his career has given playback for many famous actors like Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachhan, Mithun Chakrabarty, Rishi Kapur, Anil Kapur and even Govinda. The new concept of “yodelling” was used by Kishoreda in many of his songs which used to the unique. The singer was aware of his lack of formal training in music which he accepted boldly and tried to put his emotions to every song he sang. Among the co-artists, Kishoreda was known to be a jolly person with a great sense of humour. The best part about Kishoreda was every song he sang for an actor, he tried to imitate the style and mannerism of that actor. The timeless melodies created by him are still loved by people from all generations. Truly artists like Kishore Kumar are borne once in many years. When he sang for any actor, it was like the actor himself was singing. The songs were so lively on screen. Kishoreda you still live in million hearts.


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