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04 August 2012

The Legends: Kishore Kumar

04.08.1929 - 13.10.1987
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet, a will-o'-the-wisp, a clown?
Who do you know would fit the description of Maria from The Sound of Music? Reverse the gender? He was Hindi cinema’s L'enfant terrible, causing his producers to tear their hair out in clumps. A maverick who, as actor, singer, and music director, insisted that he be paid before he worked.

There is a thin line between genius and eccentricity. Kishore Kumar straddled both with equal ease. For example, he once received the officers of the Income Tax department, with whom he had a running feud, barking at them from behind closed doors, so ferociously they took themselves off.  He also used his Income Tax records as rat-bait. When a producer paid him only half his dues, he landed up on the sets with makeup only on one side of his face. When the shocked director asked him why, he replied nonchalantly Aadha paisa to aadha makeup. Poora paisa to poora makeup. Are these stories apocryphal? Possibly. However, in his case, you never knew whether they were true. And that was Kishore Kumar in a nutshell – one never knew.

True stories? If the boys played cricket in the neighbouring grounds, and the ball went over the walls to his ground, he would pick it up and refuse to give it back. His farmhouse in Khandwa proudly bore the sign ‘Mental Hospital’, while his flat at Warden Road had a sign outside that warned visitors ‘Beware of Kishore’.

He is also perhaps the only producer-director who warned his distributors not to touch his films because they may not run. His reason for doing so? Because even he didn’t understand what he had made!

He once told an interior designer, who came to visit him suited and booted at the height of summer that he wanted his living room immersed in several feet of water, with little rowboats instead of sofas, and an anchored centrepiece where they could put the tea service. When the man ran away at this bizarre request, Kishoreda was unrepentant. Anyone who could wear a three-piece woollen suit in summer deserved to be shocked.

On the sets of Miss Mary, when they kept him waiting for five days without utilising his dates, he began chopping his hair off. First he chopped some on his left side, then he chopped some from the right to balance it; when he figured he had chopped too much off the right side, he went back and chopped some more from the left. By the time the unit called him for his shot, they were shocked to find he had scarcely any hair left.

But. What does one say about a man who, as he lay dying, rued that he had sung so many sad songs in his career? Why? Because "...when I die, Doordarshan will only play my sad songs all day."

Born Abhas Kumar Ganguly, Kishore Kumar was brought into films by his much-older brother, the legendary Ashok Kumar. Starting off as a chorus singer, he soon ventured into acting, though he was never serious about it. He initially came to Bombay because his brother had become a big star and young Abhas hoped Ashok Kumar would introduce him to his hero, KL Saigal.

Kishore Kumar loved his solitude; he loved his trees (each one lovingly named by him), his music, his horror films, and Alfred Hitchcock. He cultivated his eccentricities in the hope that it would keep the industry at bay, and that they would leave him to himself. They didn’t. He went on to become a very successful actor, at one point, second only to Dilip Kumar in his box-office draw. He gleefully narrated how he had proved his elder brother wrong because the latter had discouraged him and Anoop Kumar from becoming actors. “You are a pair of donkeys’, Dadamoni is supposed to have said.

In an interview with Pritish Nandy for the Illustrated Weekly in the mid-eighties, Kishore Kumar confessed that he hated every moment of his acting career, and tried very hard to get out of it, even going to the extent of muffing his lines so they wouldn’t sign him again.

In the same interview, he also narrates how he got out of working with Satyajit Ray. Ray had offered him Parash Patthar, and Kishore Kumar was so scared of working with the Master that he ran away until the role was snapped up by Tulsi Chakravarti. But he never let Ray forget that he had loaned Ray Rs5000 to make Patthar Panchali. Even after Ray repaid the whole amount, Kishore Kumar took great pleasure in reminding Ray that he, Kishore, had had a hand in the making of a classic.

Despite being pushed into acting, Kishoreda carved his own niche as singer, at one point charging almost as much as Lata Mangeshkar for a song. (He charged one rupee less, in deference to her seniority.)

However, there was much more to the man than just actor / singer. He was a man of many parts,  a music director, a scriptwriter, a producer/director... Despite being famous for his yodelling (painstakingly practiced by listening to his brother Anoop Kumar’s Austrian music tapes), he gave sensitive, almost melancholic music for his own films.

It is hard to choose just a handful of songs from a long and chequered career, especially when my favourite Kishore Kumar songs runs into the hundreds. They also keep changing with my mood, but there are some that remain enshrined as perennial favourites – for various reasons. With all due apologies to Kishore Kumar, they also include his sad songs.  So, here, are my picks from his solo numbers.

Marne ki duaen kyun maangoon (Ziddi/1948) Khemchand Prakash
Ziddi was a milestone film for both Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar. It was the film that was to thrust Dev Anand into the limelight as an actor; it was also the film for which Kishore Kumar sang the first song of his career. (He had earlier sung two songs for an EP; they were not used.) The song, written by Prem Dhawan, became a big hit, and Kishore Kumar came to be reckoned as Dev Anand’s voice. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful association, and Dev Anand was the only other hero for whom Kishoreda continued to sing, even after he became an singer/actor in his own right.

Koi humdum na raha (Jhumroo/1961) Kishore Kumar
This song, originally composed by Saraswati Devi, was sung by brother Ashok Kumar in Jeevan Naiyya. Decades later, Kishore Kumar used the same tune for his film, and it became one of the biggest hits of his career. The other song that I really, really like from this film is Thandi hawa yeh chaandni suhani.

Badi sooni sooni hai (Mili/1975) SD Burman/Yogesh
Kishoreda shared a warm rapport with Sachin Dev Burman, who had given him some of his career’s best songs. When, in the middle of recording for Mili, Dada fell ill, Kishore rushed to his bedside, and promised to complete the recording. Sung with such feeling, it was to become Kishore Kumar’s signature song for years to come. Another song that I absolutely adore, and will always be on any list of my favourite Kishore Kumar songs is the song that Kishoreda sang for Amitabh under RD Burman’s baton  for Manzil Rhim jhim gire saawan.

Woh sham kuch ajeeb thi (Khamoshi/1969) Hemant Kumar/Gulzar
One of my all-time favourite Kishore Kumar songs, it is full of pathos, yet very hopeful. It is a personal favourite for more reasons than one.

Chingari koi bhadke (Amar Prem/1971) RD Burman/Anand Bakshi
Post-Aradhana, Kishore Kumar had a renewed lease of life. The RD-Rajesh Khanna- Kishore Kumar combination came to be looked upon as magic. It was a tidal wave that was to give us some of the best-loved melodies of the 70s. Kishore Kumar was to rule the roost as the most popular male singer. Even though he was also lending his voice to a young Amitabh, a Vinod Khanna and others, he was primarily Rajesh Khanna’s voice. Amar Prem also brought to the fore another very-successful combination – Shakti Samanta, Rajesh Khanna, and Sharmila Tagore. This is another song that will always remain among my top ten Kishore Kumar songs.

Aa chal ke tujhe main leke chaloon  (Door Gagan ki Chaaon Mein/1964)  Kishore Kumar
This film was a one-man vehicle. Kishoreda wrote the script and the lyrics (for this song), composed the music, sang and enacted the song under his own direction. A very sensitive film about an impoverished father and his mute son (played by real-life son Amit Kumar), it was beautifully directed by Kishoreda.

Chhookar mere man ko (Yaarana/1981) Rajesh Roshan/Anand Bakshi
Coming amidst the cacophony of the eighties, the songs of Yaarana were a welcome oasis to senses assaulted by the disco craze. Music director Rajesh Roshan used the mukhda of a Rabindra Sangeet Tomaar holo shuru, aamaar holo shaaraa and spun a melody that was quiet, yet beautiful. 

Jeevan se bhari teri aankhein  (Safar/1970) Kalyanji-Anandji/Indeevar
There is a pathos that underlines these lyrics. Rajesh Khanna is suffering from a terminal disease and knows it. Yet, the liveliness in Sharmila Tagore’s eyes makes him want to live. The other song that I do like from this film is Zindagi ka safar hai yekaisa safar. Kishoreda had a clause written into his contract that only he would sing Rajesh Khanna’s songs in two-hero films.

Yeh shaam mastani (Kati Patang/1970) RD Burman/Anand Bakshi
Another song from the RD Burman-Rajesh Khanna-Kishore Kumar trio, this was one of the music scores that came at a time when the trio could do no wrong. In a film where Kaka played a highly sympathetic role, the musical score was aptly romantic, and the Rajesh Khanna-Kishore Kumar combination wove magic on screen.

Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi/1958) SD Burman / Majrooh Sultanpuri
Lore has it that Kishore Kumar produced Chalti ka Naam Gaadi hoping it would flop, and so ease his income tax problems. Unfortunately for him, this madcap caper involving his real-life brothers, future wife Madhubala and a Chevrolet car turned out to be a ringing success at the box office. With spanners and wrenches providing the required accompaniment, Kishore Kumar’s trademark breeziness wins over not only the heroine but also listeners across generations.

Raat kali ek khwaab mein aayi (Buddha Mil Gaya/1971)  RD Burman/Majrooh Sultanpuri
One of Kishore Kumar’s ‘lesser-known’ (relatively) songs, its popularity has withstood the onslaught of the ages. I love this song, not only for its picturisation but because Kishoreda sings it with such seeming ease and flourish.

Hum hain raahi pyaar ke (Nau Do Gyaarah/1957) SD Burman/Majrooh Sultanpuri
Picturised on a rakish Dev Anand whose ‘voice’ Kishore Kumar was before he became Rajesh Khanna’s alter-ego, this is one of Kishoreda’s lighter songs that has been a perennial favourite. I love everything about it – the whistling in the beginning and in the interludes, the exuberant lightness of the music, Dev Anand and his broken-down truck and the sheer insouciance of the whole mood of the song.

Meri bheegi bheegi si  (Anamika/1973) RD Burman/Majrooh Sultanpuri
This is Kishore Kumar at his restrained best in a song that expresses the singer’s anguish, disappointment and anger. Picturised on Sanjeev Kumar (and Jaya Bhaduri), the song is several notches above similar songs from the same genre.

Aane waala pal (Golmaal/1979) RD Burman/Gulzar
One can certainly expect a certain standard from the Gulzar-RD combination, and they don’t disappoint in this song from the frothy Golmaal. Gulzar’s excellent lyrics make this RD composition a genuine classic, while Kishore Kumar’s voice conveyed all the romance that was necessary.

Chhota sa ghar hoga (Naukri/1954) Salil Choudhary/Shailendra
Kishore Kumar had no formal training in music and music director Salil Choudhary was not inclined to trust Kishore Kumar to sing for him, regardless of the fact that the young lad had already managed to impress Khemchand Prakash. Salilda had, in fact, already invited Hemant Kumar to render this song for the film, in which Kishore Kumar was the hero. Kishore Kumar had to literally beg the composer to give him a hearing before Salilda unbent enough to allow him to sing for himself. Kishore Kumar justified the composer’s trust by infusing the simple yet touching lyrics with sincerity. Years later, for Annadata, Salilda was to insist on Kishore Kumar for Guzar jaaye din din din, because he felt that only Kishore could do justice to his melody. The composition was so complicated that Kishoreda took 18 takes to get it right.

Kishore Kumar was a mass of contradictions, and delighted in keeping the mask of a clown firmly in place. There were brains at work behind that mask and even his eccentricities were tailored to enhance that image. These songs that I have chosen are just the tip of the iceberg. A handful of songs from three decades that do not even begin to explain the talent that was his.
When Kishore Kumar married the third time, he was nicknamed ‘Mohabbat Khan’ by Dadamoni. Kishoreda, in turn, called his wives bandariyas because they all lived in Bandra prior to their marriage. 

Two rare clips:
A legend interviewed by another (that was the only way he would consent to be interviewed):

Some personal observations by a man who had the felicity of being one of the few journalists who actually spoke to the reclusive singer.

Kishoreda once listed the following songs as his personal favourites:

Song                                              Music  Director                Film
Dukhi man mere                          SD Burman                           Funtoosh
Jag mag jag mag karta nikla   Khemchand Prakash          Rim Jhim
Husn bhi hai udas udas              Anil Biswas                          Fareb
Chingari koi bhadke                    RD Burman                          Amar Prem
Mere naina saawan bhaadon   RD Burman                         Mehbooba
Koi hum dum na raha                 Kishore Kumar                   Jhumroo
Mere mehboob qayamat hogi    Laxmikant-Pyarelal          Mr X in Bombay
Koi hota jisko apna                       Salil Chowdhury               Mere Apne
Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi          Hemant Kumar                 Khamoshi
Badi sooni sooni hai                     SD Burman                        Mili

These are some of my favourite solos. (Duets in my next post.) What are yours?


  1. There's this TV channel in Vancouver and they play songs all day long, but you got to watch out - I've encountered remixes on there. But I turned the volume to zero and quickly changed it to the Olympics. Saved from a remix of an old song. They've played "Yeh Shaam Mastani" more than once already, once at a relative's house (I sang along and everyone loved it!), and once this morning. Coincidentally, I bought some pants that resemble Rajesh Khanna's yellow pants in that song. And on Pet Society (It's a Facebook game. xD), I dressed my pet up like him in "O Mere Dil Ke Chain". 'Twas fun.

    But I really enjoy reading the crazy stories about Kishore. One legend says that he kept driving from Bombay to Khandala in one scene because the director forgot to say 'cut'.

  2. A lovely commentary on the contrasting facets of Kishore Kumar!
    I remember couple of stories:
    Kishore was known to be every comfortable with the 'happy' rhythms. When SDB offered and insisted that Dukhi Man Mere will be rendered by Kishore, he, literally, begged Sachinda not to punish him so harshly. SD obviously was not only firm but was also in the mood to counsel out Kishores' fears, right till the start of the recording. And as the cliché saying goes, the rest is history.
    Another one relates to SDB's views on his use of Kisore and Rafi simultaneously in most of the Dev Anand movies. On the back cover of LP record of GUIDE, SDB explains that the decider simply was who will be able to do justice to the tune.
    Kishore was/ is not my default choice of the singer, but If I have to sit down and choose, my Top Favorites, I would not be surprised if his song does have a space.
    As an Actor, I would like to single out Do Dooni Chaar. And if one has to evaluate his histrionic prowess, compare his acting in this film to Sanjeev Kumar , an actor who would find place in any Hall of Fame, in the classic remake, Angoor.

  3.  Most of the 'legends' are true. For that particular film, he kept fooling around on the sets, so the director told him to do exactly as he (the director) said. So then, Kishore would only do what the director said. He would arrive at the studio and get out of his car only when the director asked him to; so, when he was asked to shoot a scene involving him driving in the car, he decided to continue driving. :)

  4. I was wondering if anyone would do a post on Kishor Kumar`s birth anniversary and here it is. So, Thank you. The thing with something like a best of/favorite list on legends is, one can always go ahead and have a complete different set of songs/movies and it will be equally good if not better list. Hence, keeping aside the pluses and minus on the list, your write up was so amazing and heartfelt. The admiration felt genuine in every word.

    "Woh saam kuch ajeb thi" is definately one of the personal favorites and would find a place in any song list.....even otherwise, I am totally obsessed with the songs of Hemant Kumar, Gulzar and Kishore Kumar, so the mere fact that these three came together for this song makes it more than perfect for me.

    Lastly, like always no matter how much I try, I can`t end my comment without posting a video. So here are 2 more kishor-hemant-gulzar songs:

    The first is from Bimal Roy Productions, Do Dooni Chaar, a predecessor to Gulzar`s Angoor.

    Second, is from Hemant Kumar`s own Geetanjali Chitradeep`s production, Rahgir.


  5. Anuji,
    I need your help to lokk at something mysterious happening with comments that I post on the blog.
    These get lost after, I re-visit the blog but it appears as having been upoloaded at first attempt.
    I had attempted one comment 5 times on Version songs and now one comment on Kishore Kumar.

  6. OK! I was wondering if anyone would do a post on Kishore Kumar`s birth anniversary and here it is. So, Thank You . As for the list, the problem with list of best/favorites songs of some one like Kishore is, one can go ahead and create a totally different list and yet it would be equally good if not better. So, keeping aside the pluses and minuses of the list, let me tell you that your write up was just perfect. Not because, what you wrote was something new or unheard, but because the tribute was heartfelt and the admiration felt genuine in every word.

    "Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi" is definately one of my personal favourite and would find a place in any song list....even otherwise, the fact that Hemant Kumar-Gulzar and Kishore (3 personal favourites) came together to make this song, make it more than perfect for me.

    Finally, as always no matter how much I try, I can`t end without posting a song/link. So, here are three more  Hemant Kumar-Gulzar and Kishore gems(and the three from the only four solos?).

    These two are from Bimal Roy Production`s Do Dooni Chaar, a predecessor to Gulzar`s Angoor.



    The last one is from Hemant Kumar`s own Geetanjali Chitradeep`s Rahgir.


  7. This is my second attempt to post the comment,hence please bear with me for the repetition:

    A lovely commentary on the contrasting facets of Kishore Kumar!
    I remember couple of stories:
    Kishore was known to be every comfortable with the 'happy' rhythms. When SDB offered and insisted that Dukhi Man Mere will be rendered by Kishore, he, literally, begged Sachinda not to punish him so harshly. SD obviously was not only firm but was also in the mood to counsel out Kishores' fears, right till the start of the recording. And as the cliché saying goes, the rest is history.
    Another one relates to SDB's views on his use of Kisore and Rafi simultaneously in most of the Dev Anand movies. On the back cover of LP record of GUIDE, SDB explains that the decider simply was who will be able to do justice to the tune.
    Kishore was/ is not my default choice of the singer, but If I have to sit down and choose, my Top Favorites, I would not be surprised if his song does have a space.
    As an Actor, I would like to single out Do Dooni Chaar. And if one has to evaluate his histrionic prowess, compare his acting in this film to Sanjeev Kumar, an actor who would find place in any Hall of Fame, in the classic remake, Angoor."

    Nra has remembered Do Dooni Chaar for  Kishore's songs, to which I unhesitatingly second.

  8. Oh, delicious, Anu! I simply loved those anecdotes you'd put into the introduction. To be honest, as I read on, I was actually wishing you'd keep the anecdotes coming and not dilute the post with anything else! ;-) But yes, the songs had to be there, of course - and thank you for those, because I loved them as much as the anecdotes that preceded them. You've listed some of my favourite Kishore songs (or at least mentioned them). The only one that was new to me was the Ziddi one - and it does reveal K L Saigal's influence on the early Kishore's singing.

    Another Kishore song I like a lot (this one's from the 70s) is Chala jaata hoon kisi ki dhun mein:


    And another Dev Anand song, Phoolon ke rang se:


  9. Oh, this one. How could I have forgotten this one? One of my absolutely favourite Kishore songs, and one of the few films in which I actually really liked Jeetendra. Musafir hoon yaaron:


  10. Picking Kishore favourites is as impossible as picking up Rafi favourites or for that matter Lata or Asha favs.
    Wonderful Post, Anu! And with so many trivia.
    Loved going through it.
    Here is one, where SDB speaks about his association with Kishore, which came in 1966, i.e. before his stardom as singer.

    Love his duet with himself: aake sidhi lagi jaise dil pe katariya

  11. Lovely write-up, Anu and some of my most favourite songs here.  The  legends and stories make the man lovable.  There were many Kishore Kumars.  I had written on the wild, crazy and comic KK, and had in mind doing the soulful and soft KK at some time.  I may still do it, because I find there are still a number of my top favouites which are not included here.

    The link of interviews were fascinating.

    I belong to Ashok Vaishnavji school - KK was not among my top favourite singers.  But there are some aspects and songs of KK which are very special and have a place in my heart.

    Thanks again for an excellent post.


  12. Terrific post about the quintessential madcap!  I don't know two of the songs you have listed, the ones from Ziddi and Yaaraana (the second came after I left India, which marked the end of my listening to music on the radio!), but all the others are definitely on my list of favorites, too, along with a host of other songs!  All the songs of Amar Prem, Aradhana, Kati Patang, as well as most of his old songs, but here is another favorite:


    Kishore Kumar singing for Dev Anand, and the song is full of joy - what more can one ask for?

  13. Again such a wonderful post from you. Though not my favourite, some of his songs were really gems...
    O Hansini, Ye Jeewan Hei is Jeewan ka,Kiska rasta dekhe, Aise na mujhe tum dekho...he gave some memorable songs specially in 70's.
    The special kishore effect in Ye Laal Rang..Those were the times when Kishore was the king...

  14.  Thanks, Nra. The song from Rahgir is really good...  I had not heard that before.

  15.  Thank you, Ashokji. And thank you for those added snippets of information. I do agree that his comic timing was amazing! I liked both Do Dooni Char and Angoor...

  16.  Thank you Madhu. I had to limit the anecdotes because I wanted to reserve some for the post on his duets. :)

    I was trying to restrict his Kaka songs. :)

  17.  This is such a beautiful song, Madhu. I did like Jeetendra in Gulzar movies actually.

  18.  Thank you, Harvey. I agree that it is very, very difficult to make any list of 'favourite' songs of any of the singers you mention. In fact, my favourites change all the time, though the songs I have listed will always be among them.

    Thank you so much for that link to SD Burman's interview. It was very interesting.

  19.  Thank you, Lalitha. Yaarana was a blip of melody amidst the cacophony of the eighties. I love all the songs from the films you mentioned too; there are so many, many songs that will always be among my favourites. It is hard to decide what to leave out actually.

  20.  Thank you so much. If I had to choose a favourite singer, which is very hard for me to do because when I hear Beqarar karke humein, Hemant Kumar is my favourite singer; when I hear Jinhe naaz Hind par, I love Mohammed Rafi; when I listen to Chalo ek baar phir se, I'm sure Mahendra Kapoor is my favourite singer :) - I would choose Mohammed Rafi. Yet there are so many many songs of Kishore's that I listen to, over and over and over again.

  21. Anu, both of us know by now how uncannily similar we are, most times. I read your reply to lovehindimusic, and this is what it reminded me of:


    Scroll down to my second comment on this page, where I explain why I don't have a 'favourite male singer'. ;-)

  22. First of all I must admit that I am a die hard Rafi Fan so my comments are obviously biased.I belong to an era when as school/college students we watched movies in cinema halls.VCR was limited to news about latest developments in science. And not that we(the entire generation) were born with a liking to rafi...It developed over a time. Watched movies of 60's in dingy,dirty halls to hear songs like...Maine rakha hei mohaabat apne afsane ka naam, Paas baitho tabiyat behal jayegi, kabhi na kabhi kahin kahin kahin....countless others..C grade movies but each packed with super hits of Rafi..dont remember if kishore has given a song where people had gone to watch a movie to hear a song..Aradhana,Amarprem,Aap ki Kasam,Andaaz...all were hits in their own ..Kishore songs were contributory... hope you understand what I mean...
    Kishore has also given wonderful songs...and by the way Raat Kali is not a lesser known song..ask us the generation of 70's..
    It a treat reading articles from people like you and dustedoff's comment took me to that wonderful page which i would have not noticed otherwise..thanks dustedoff...  

  23.  Wow! That's all I can say. This is beyond eerie.

  24.  I'm a fan of good music, so I refuse to get into debates of who is better and why. :) As I mentioned earlier, I will confess to a sneaking preference for Mohammed Rafi. I think we are all fortunate to have had so many fine voices to add to our listening pleasure. My comment about Raat kali was because it is not as 'popular' a song

  25. Lovely write-up, Anu and some of my most favourite songs here.  The
     legends and stories make the man lovable.  There were many Kishore
    Kumars.  I had written on the wild, crazy and comic KK, and had in mind
    doing the soulful and soft KK at some time.  I may still do it, because I
    find there are still a number of my top favouites which are not
    included here.

    The link of interviews were fascinating.

    I belong to Ashok Vaishnavji school - KK was not among my top favourite
    singers.  But there are some aspects and songs of KK which are very
    special and have a place in my heart.

    Thanks again for an excellent post.

  26.  Thank you, AK. There are so many, many, Kishore songs that I have not even listed. Looking forward to your posts.

  27. That Pritish Nandy interview with Kishore is probably my favorite interview of anyone, ever.  It's so deliciously, hilariously - loony.:-D
    Like Harvey, I can't possibly come up with a list of favorites for Lata, Asha, Rafi or Kishore so I won't make any musical comments and just point you towards another interview!  This one is of Kishore speaking to Ameen Sayani shortly after SDB's death.  It's a wonderful interview - full of affection, gratitude and admiration for a friend and mentor.  KK's brief rendition of "jeevan ke safar mein rahi" at the end never leaves me dry-eyed.

  28.  It is, isn't it? PN was my boss in the dark ages, so I have a vested interest... :)

    I can't come up with 'favourites' either. That is why I posted this under 'Legends'. Thanks for that link you posted - it is so heartwarming to hear one artiste speak with such affection about another, and acknowledge the other's part in his success.

  29. Wow, I don't know how anyone can even begin to start listing out the most precious "gems" in Kishore Kumar's career! But you have done a fabulous job, Anu... :) Each pick is a masterpiece, no doubt. What a voice, what a remarkable body of work... what a fabulous innings.

  30. Hi,this is my first comment on this wonderful blog. I came here through Dustedoff's blog sometime back.
    This post is a fine tribute to Kishore on his birth anniversary. I like the solo songs more than duets of all the legendary singers especially Lata .
    Some more songs: from Kunwara baap
    from Piya ka Ghar
    from Aap ki kasam
    from Muqaddar ka Sikandar
    some of the 80s songs
    Kishore was Amitabh's voice till he passed away. No other singer has sung even half the no. of songs Kishore sang for Big B. I noticed that they are more than the ones he sung for Dev (a certain Mohd. Rafi   sang more for Dev than Kishore till the late 60s). Is music Amitabh's films underrated?
    Another thing, Amitabh's 'big' hits Namak Halaal, Dostana, Laawaris, Yaarana,Kaalia ,Satte pe satta,Shakti and my favourite Sharaabi were ALL 80s films. their music was equally popular.

  31.  Lakshmi, I wouldn't even begin to try!! It is the same trouble I had when I wrote the post on Salilda.

    Thank you for the compliment, though. :)

  32.  Welcome to my blog, and thank you for reading and commenting. It is an interesting observation that Rafisaab has sung more songs for Dev Anand - I prefer Rafi's voice for Dev.

    Music never played a great part in AB's films, except those he did for Hrishida or Basuda. In the others, some of the songs may have been popular, but I do not know how many of his songs were truly *great*.

  33. Anu, I hope you don't mind me butting in, both you & Shalini have posted great links, thanks !!!!
    Shalini had asked me to do a list of 70's B List Hero songs, and what better time than a tribute to Kishore Kumar.
    All Kishore solos, all 70's, all picturized on non A Listers, i.e. B Listers or less.
    She has suggested the first song, which I will duplicate :-
    1) Yeh Wahi Geet Hai Jisko Maine --- Jalal Agha/Rakesh Pandey
    2) Bambai Sheher Ki Tujhko --- Anil Dhawan (since Yeh Jeevan Hai is already posted)
    3) Yaadon Mein Woh --- Girish Karnad/Vikram
    4) Chalte Chalte Mere Yeh Geet Yaad Rakhan --- Vishal Anand
    5) Geet Gaat Hoon Main --- Vinod Mehra
    6) Mera Jeevan Kora Kaagaz --- Vijay Anand
    7) Ulfat Mein Zamaane Ki --- Vikram
    8) Teri Duniya Se Hoke Majboor Chala --- Parikshit Sahni
    9) Dil Aisa Kisine Mera Toda --- Uttam Kumar
    10) Samaa Hai Suhana Suhana --- Jalal Agha/Rakesh Roshan

    Hopefully, this will shed light on his range and his skill; and will lend some more respect to 70's music.

  34.  Yes, it actually made my hair stand on end!

  35. Sister, sister....! :)  Truly, Madhu.


  36.  Samir, I do not mind at all! So many wonderful songs, I wish you had made a post of it yourself. :)

  37. Very nicely compiled - but most of these songs are usual known stuff ... Also needs mention for the non-Hindi speaking folks that Kishoreda sang in other languages and notably in Bengali [his mother tongue] he has sung blockbuster hits - the list is endless - 
    but here is one such from Rajkumari [1970] : E ki Holo [Yeh Kya Hua] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uifktZcO414
    once you are there in the YT page yo can get many other Bengali songs He had sung for films.

  38. Very nicely compiled - but most of these songs are usual known stuff ... Also needs mention for the non-Hindi speaking folks that Kishoreda sang in other languages and notably in Bengali [his mother tongue] he has sung blockbuster hits - the list is endless - 
    but here is one such from Rajkumari [1970] : E ki Holo [Yeh Kya Hua] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uifktZcO414
    once you are there in the YT page yo can get many other Bengali songs He had sung for films.

  39. I like his Bengali songs very well, but since there are so many more songs in Hindi itself that I can't even begin to list them. If it weren't 'usual known stuff' then they can't be among my favourites, no? :) For that matter, Kishore Kumar has also sung in Malayalam and a clutch of other languages.

  40. I agree.  Samir shouldn't be allowed to get away with posting a few songs here but should do a full post on 70s non-star heroes.:-)
    Here’s another Kishore gem from the 70s featuring a B-list hero:

  41.  Shall we start a signature campaign? :)

  42. OK, OK, OK :)))
    I give up !!!!
    I cannot stand so much arm twisting, and before I hear "Tumhari Maa Hamare Kabze Mein Hain"; I will try and do that post.
    I have one that I am working on currently, and after I finish that one, I will do the one on 70's B Listers

  43. Love the anecdotes, and so many of them too. :-)
    It would seem Kishore Kumar was mostly his loony self in his older black and white films.
    Later he sang mostly for the heros (like Rajesh Khanna) with much more dignity.
    I love his black and white songs though. They are musical, and sometimes quite funny too, especially his movements. I'm tempted to post one such, but won't, because it's a duet and will wait for your post on his duets.
    This song is of course just *one* of the many I love.


  44. Ha! We win!! (I was just getting the dungeons ready...)

  45.  Thank you, pacifist. Even though Kishore himself didn't like his serious songs, many of them are personal favourites. He was a brilliant comic, though he exaggerated his behaviour so it would keep people at bay.

  46. He lived life to the brim.Married four times to real beauties of their era !
    Lucky man inded.

  47. I came late to the Kishore Kumar bandwagon, mostly because I hated Chingari koi bhadke and Mere naina sawan bhadon and they played over and over on Vividh Bharti and DoorDarshan in my childhood! :-( It took me a long while to recognise that both Kishore and Pancham (together and separately) had songs that were big favorites of mine, too, like the soundtrack of Jawaani Deewani - Jaanejan dhoondta phir rahaNahin nahin, abhi nahin, etc.

    If I was forced at gunpoint to pick a favorite Kishore number, it would be Aa chal ke tujhe main leke chaloon - not only is it sublimely beautiful, it sounds like it comes deep from the heart. Another big favorite of mine (from the wrong decade as I like to think of his 70s singing) is Pal pal dil ke paas. For the most part, though I prefer his songs from the pre-70s era. I recently acquired a collection of his 1950s-60s unknown songs - some madcap, some serious, some romantic and all of them plain delightful! Here are some examples (how can I resist?):

    Chup ho ja ameeron ke yeh sone ki ghadi hai

    Khaali peeli kahe ko akkha din

    Yeh char din bahar ke

    Mud mud humko dekhta

    Badi cheez hai pyaar mohabbat. Here Kishoreda makes Lata Mangeshkar laugh!

  48. Anu, I watched Baazi today, and I absolutely loved it, but at the ending I completely freaked out. Jumped everywhere, nearly choked on the water given to me, and I fell down the stairs and landed on my arm. And broke it pretty good. So it's all bandaged right now.

    But hey, it's worth it. For Dev. :)

  49. Chingari koyi bhadke is a particular favourite of mine, but I will forgive you for not liking it. I can understand how listening to something over and over again can make you want to rip the cd out and throw it away so you will never have to hear it again.

    The 70s, while it wasn't really known for its music, had many, many Kishoreda gems - I think that was when the RD/Kishore combination really, really took off.

    Of the songs you listed, Yeh chaar din bahaar ke was completely 'new' to me. I have heard the others, though they are not played as often as his more popular numbers. I loved Badi cheez hai pyaar mohabbat!

  50. Child, you are insane! Are you okay? I assure you Dev would not have wanted a human sacrifice!

  51.  Yes, I am pretty mch okay, but a broken bone in a sling 9first time) isn't so much fun.

    Damn shoes that I tripped over.

  52. Glad to know that you are okay. At the risk of repeating myself: You are insane!

  53.  Well, I was freaking out a lot at the ending... so. :P

    But why do you say I am insane? xD

  54. Guess it's never easy to make a list of favourite Kishore Kumar songs - just too many. But being a sucker for tragic songs, am partial to that genre and Kishore does take a toll on you at times, when you are down and listen to those haunting ones. Koi Humdum na Raha, Jeevan Se Bhari are among my favourites but to recount immediately a few more that I keep listening to - Panthi Hoon Main Us Path Kaa, Tere Mere Milan Ki Raina, O Maanjhi Re, Koi Hota Jisko Apna....

    Don't know if it is true that he had named a few trees after producers and used to whack them occasionally since he did not receive payments from them. Liked the trivial parts of the article - the Pather Panchali and the Bandariya parts.. The songs have been discussed so many times that the trivia makes for fun reading...

    Pinne, 'Abhas'nnu oru per....different languages, different meanings! 

  55. Because you react so strongly to what is happening in films. :) 

  56. Even Kishore had a problem with his tragic songs. :) I like his tragic songs better than his yodelling, though I do like them too. 
    His trees were his friends; so I don't think he whacked them. 

    I'm glad you appreciated the trivia. Haven't had a chance to post the second part to this post. I'm finding it hard to concentrate. 

  57. Well, you are right. I am quite crazy. BUT. Dev wasn't even doing anything to prove himself innocent. How could I not freak out? D:<

    I was also watching Roti today. At the ending I was on my feet, yelling at the computer screen, "RUN, RAJESH, RUN! RUN LIKE THE WIND!"

    ...And I must admit I got up and danced to this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST_mMhZitic

  58. Ooh, Anu, I had the best dream ever last night. So I had watched a bit of Andaz and I was missing Rajesh so much, then I cried and cried when I was lying awake on my bed. After an hour or so of crying, I finally fell asleep, and then this dream...

    I dreamed that I was near my house back in Singapore, and then Rajesh was there. Yes. :DDD And then he was giving autographs to a small crowd that had already gathered there. Not the crazy girls in the 70's, but just... people.

    (Confession: I wish I had been there to witness all that and... be one of those crazy girls. Hey, it's nice to have a classmate that loves someone you love too! Confession #2: And I had half a mind to write a letter in my blood, but I didn't know how to draw blood, so yeah.)

    But he didn't look old or anything. Just like he was in Amar Prem! Then I was standing there, absolutely dumbfounded and gaping and blushing like a complete idiot and I think my legs are going to give way. OH, AND THEN THE BEST PART. He turns to me and asks in Hindi, "Do you want an autograph?"


    Sorry. :P When I woke up I was so disappointed. It wasn't real? D: I wished it was! Then I started to wonder, was this just a coincidence (ITTEFAQ. HAHAHAHAHA.) or did it have a connection on a deeper level? Anyhow, it was so awesome. I MET RAJESH KHANNA. WHO CARES IF IT WAS IN DREAMWORLD. I MET HIM. OH MY GOD YES.

  59. Have you had any filmi dreams? Ever? (I met Dev in my dreams once, and on more that one occasion, in my dreams, it somehow involved one clothing item of his that I like. It might be the scarves, the coats, whatever, but they were present in my dreams. I liked them though. ;3)

  60. Not really, no.  If you discount Amitabh proclaiming his undying love for me.... that is. :)

  61. Well, I met Raj Kapoor in my dream, and Waheeda Rehman, and Goldie too. :) I wish I can meet Shammi though! You got to love my imagination!

  62. I think I am a bit dazed at your imagination... :)

  63.  Ooh, gosh, last night I dreamed of Rajesh again. :DDD And I also watched Anand (see latest post on my blog). :D

  64. Congratulations on your very successful effort to do the impossible - to sum up the vast repertoire of Kishore in one post. Almost all my favourite songs are there and some like 'Jeevan ke safar mein rahi' and 'Havaaon pe likh do' have figured in readers' comments. Of his madcap songs I haven't heard 'Surma mera hai ala' for a long long time. This song introduced me to his yodeling in my childhood. Later I discovered the ultimate yodeling song 'Main hoon jhum jhum jhum jhum jhumroo.'

    One of the earliest posts on Songs of Yore was about Kishore and Rafi. The debate continues to rage after two years. My own feelings about the two are ambivalent. I prefer a random Kishore song to a random Rafi song. But my list of 25 all time personal favourites has two songs of Rafi and none of Kishore!

  65.  Subodh, thank you.

    Like you, I prefer not to get into the Kishore vs. Rafi debate. I like both of them, with a smidgen of preference towards Rafi. That does not stop me from enjoying the vast treasure trove of songs that Kishoreda has made classic.

  66. ya.. He is a real legend!! but, i'm scared about the fact, that not all the teenagers knows anything about him.. It's awful!

  67.  There will always be some who know him; his songs are ever popular on reality shows, and while I am not a great fan of those, it does me good to see youngsters sing his songs.

  68. There is one of Kishore Kumar's that I like particularly because it was a skillful adaptation of a song sung by Marilyn Monroe in "The river of no return. This is the original song ..

    KK adapted this song,  apparently he loved this film, I don't know why, personally I would only see it because of Marilyn Monroe, and he was watching it before he died. You'll notice the similarity in the harmonies  though the actual melody differs. 


    It is from an unreleased film, Neela Aasman, Kishore scored the music for this film I think.
    I like the song because it has very interesting musical interludes and the accordion pieces meld very well with the strings and woodwinds.

  69. That was not just Kishore - look at Lata, for instance. 


  70. I thus enjoyed all of this website and I’ve saved your blog to keep up with the new topics you will submit in the future.


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