Why Kishore Kumar is Kishore Kumar

I am now close to his birthplace- Khandwa. So I thought I should once more pay this incredible guy a tribute. I have heard all singers who sang for Hindi films from about 1950 to date, one way or another, male and female, and also like many of them. But I still think Kishore Kumar was different-for me at least.

We used to joke among friends that even if he sang a sad song, he came out sounding upbeat. An example is 'Dukhi man mere, sun mera kehna, jahan nahin chaina wahan nahin rehna'..though a sad song, his singing somehow gives it a soothing quality.

Another quality of his singing was clear articulation. I never was a fan of western music, mainly because I could not figure out the lyrics. Some country music was an exception, but that was it. With Kishore Kumar, his words came out crystal clear, unlike a few of his predecessors. Understanding the song made it more pleasurable. Whether it was a solo or a duet. I think an extreme case of the music taking a complete backseat is a classic SD Burman song, ' Dil aaj shaayar hai' from Gambler, which remains a favourite.

The range. 'Koi hota jisko apna' to 'Chingari koi bhadke' to 'Ina mina dika', 'Zindagi ek safar hai suhana' to 'Nafrat karne walon ke seene mein pyar bhar doon' to 'Ye jawani hai diwani hat meri rani' to 'Dil kya kare jab kisi ko kisi se pyar ho jaye'...I could go on, but his solos just don't stop surprising you. Jhumroo alone is a good example of what he could do. A haunting 'Koi humdum na raha, koi sahara na raha' is offset by the exuberance of "Main hoon jhum jhum jhum jhum jhumroo, fakkad ghoomoon banke ghumru" with brilliant yodeling to accompany it.

And the duets are as amazing. 'Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zara qubool kar lo' is a great mujra, but it comes into its own with KK joining in after one stanza has been completed. Same with the Aandhi classic, tuned by RD Burman- 'Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin'. Older ones include 'Yeh raatein ye mausam nadi ka kinaara ye chanchal hawa', "Machalti hui hawa mein chham chham hamare sung sung chali ganga ki lehrein', 'Piya piya piya mora jiya pukare,... tum hi basi ho gori man mein hamare', Gaata rahe mera dil', 'Yeh duniya wale poochenge, mulaqat hui kya baat hui, yeh baat kisi se na kehna', Aankhon aankhon mein hum tum ho gaye deewane'.

He also managed to imitate the actors' voices in most cases, sounding romantic with Rajesh Khanna, sombre with Sanjeev Kumar in elderly roles, and macho with Amitabh Bachchan. He also acted and sang some super songs for himself, as in Chalti Ka Naam Gadi- each is a minor classic. 'Padosan' had this crazy scene where he tutors Sunil Dutt with 'Meri pyari Bindu' while circling around him with his gang. 


Diamond Head said…
Versatile thy name is Kishore Kumar
Meghna said…
He was versatile in the true sense of the word! I loved him Padosan.
Rajendra said…
infectious for his joie de vivre (spelling may not be right..)

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