Kishore Kumar Biography
Kishore Kumar (Hindi: किशोर कुमार}) (August 4, 1929 – October 13, 1987) was Indian film playback singer and actor. He also achieved notable success as a lyricist, composer, producer, director, screenwriter and scriptwriter.
Kishore Kumar was a prolific vocalist and sang in many Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Malayalam and Oriya. Along with Mohammed Rafi , and Mukesh, he was one of the leading male Bollywood playback singers from the 1950s to the mid-1980s.
In October 1987, he died following a massive heart attack. He had been married four times and was survived by his two sons Amit Kumar, who made his career in playback singing in Bollywood and Bengali films, and Sumit Kumar
Kishore Kumar, called Abhas Kumar Ganguly in his childhood, was born in a Bengali family in the Khandwa town of Central Provinces and Berar, British India (now in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh). His father Kunjalal Ganguly was a lawyer and his mother Gouri Devi came from a wealthy family. Abhas Kumar was the second youngest of four siblings, the other three being Ashok Kumar (the eldest), Sati Devi, and Anoop Kumar. While Abhas Ganguly was still a child, Ashok Kumar became a popular Bollywood actor. Later, Anoop Kumar also ventured into cinema with the help of Ashok Kumar. Spending time with his brothers, Abhas Kumar too started to take a keen interest in movies and music. He became a fan of singer-actor Kundan Lal Saigal (whom he considered his guru).
After Ashok Kumar became a Bollywood star, the Ganguly family used to visit Mumbai regularly. Abhas Kumar changed his name to Kishore Kumar and started his cinema career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies, where his brother worked. His first film as an actor was Shikari (1946), in which Ashok Kumar played the lead role. Music director Khemchand Prakash gave him a chance to sing the song Marne ki duayen kyon mangu for the film Ziddi (1948). After this, Kishore Kumar got many other assignments, but he was not very serious about a film career. In 1949, he decided to settle in Mumbai.
Kishore Kumar played hero in the Bombay Talkies film Andolan (1951), directed by Phani Majumdar. Although Kishore Kumar got some assignments as an actor with help of his brother, he was more interested in becoming a successful singer. He was not interested in acting, but his elder brother Ashok Kumar wanted him to be an actor like himself.
He starred in Bimal Roy's Naukri (1954) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee's directorial debut Musafir (1957). Salil Chowdhury, the music director for Naukri was initially dismissive of him as a singer, when he came to know that Kishore Kumar didn't have any formal training in music. However, after hearing his voice, he gave him the song Chhota sa ghar hoga, which was supposed to be sung by Hemant Kumar.
Rise to fame
After facing difficulties in the initial stage of his acting career, Kishore Kumar achieved success as a comic hero with movies like New Delhi (1957), Aasha (1957), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Jhumroo (1961), Half Ticket (1962), and Padosan (1968). Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, his home production, starred the three Ganguly brothers, and Madhubala. The film is about romance between a city girl (Madhubala) and a car mechanic (Kishore Kumar), with a subplot involving eccentric brothers.
Music director S. D. Burman is credited with spotting Kishore Kumar's talent as a singer, and advancing his singing career. During the making of Mashaal (1950), Burman visited Ashok Kumar's house, where he heard Kishore imitating K. L. Saigal. He complimented Kishore, but also told him that he should develop a style of his own, instead of copying Saigal. Kishore Kumar did not have a formal training in music. He kept Burman's advice in mind, and eventually developed his own style of singing, which prominently featured the yodeling that he had heard on some records bought by his brother Anoop. In the Bollywood music circles,though,Mohammad Rafi introduced yodeling in bollywood,yodeling became Kishore's trademark. The songs Main Hoon Jhumroo and Thandi Hawa Yeh Chandni from Jhumroo, Nakhrewali from New Delhi, Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan from Pyar Ka Mausam, and Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana from Andaz (1971), Thodi Si Jo Pi Lee Hai from Namak Halal (1982) are excellent examples of yodeling.
Kishore Kumar was a rebellious singer. He sang in unorthodox style and created a style of his own very much different from the singing style of playback singers of his era and even the post Kishore era. He rarely did alaps in aa aa but used he he ha ha. He practised taan very rarely, but took subtle variations as demonstrated in the songs Jab Bhi Koi Kangana Bole and Aankhon Mein Humne Aapke Sapne Sajaye Hain.
S. D. Burman recorded with Kishore for Dev Anand's Munimji (1954), Taxi Driver (1954), House No. 44 (1955), Funtoosh (1956), Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Paying Guest (1957), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), Prem Pujari (1970), and Tere Mere Sapne (1971). He also composed music for Kishore Kumar's home production Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). Some of their initial hits included Maana Janaab Ne Pukara Nahin from Paying Guest, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke from Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Ai Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa from Funtoosh, and Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si and Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). When S. D. Burman was not on good terms with Lata Mangeshkar during 1957-62, he gave patronage to her younger sister, Asha Bhosle. The Asha Bhosle-Kishore Kumar duets composed by S. D. Burman also became very popular. Some of these include Chhod Do Aanchal from Paying Guest (1957), Ankhon Mein Kya Ji from Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka and Paanch Rupaiya Baara Aana from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Chhedo Na Meri Zulfein from Ganga Ki Lahren (1964), and Arre Yaar Meri Tum Bhi Ho Gajab from Teen Deviyan (1965).
C. Ramchandra was another music director who recognized Kishore Kumar's talent as a singer. One of the most popular C. Ramchandra-Kishore Kumar hits is Eena Meena Deeka from Aasha (1957). Kishore Kumar also gave a few hit songs with other music directors; for example, Nakhrewaali from New Delhi (1956) by Shankar Jaikishan, and C.A.T. Cat Maane Billi and Hum To Mohabbat Karega from Dilli Ka Thug (1958) by Ravi.
Kishore Kumar produced, directed, and acted in the film Jhumroo (1961). He wrote the lyrics for the title song, Main Hoon Jhumroo, and composed music for all the songs in the film. Later, he produced and directed the serious film Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964). He also wrote the script and composed music for the film. The film is based on the relationship between a father (Kishore Kumar), and his deaf and mute son (played by his real-life son, Amit Kumar). The movie achieved critical success, which perhaps motivated him to make another two films called Door Ka Rahi (1971) and Door Waadiyon Mein Kahin (1980).
In the 1960s, as an actor, Kishore Kumar built up a notoriety for coming late for the shootings, or bunking them altogether. His films flopped frequently, and he also landed in income tax trouble. As a singer, he had some hit songs to his credit, including Zaroorat Hai Zaroorat Hai from Manmauji (1961), Gaata Rahe Mera Dil from Guide (1964), and Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechara from Jewel Thief (1967).
In the late 1960s, S. D. Burman's son, Rahul Dev Burman started patronising Kishore Kumar. Their first notable success was the soundtrack of the film Padosan (1968), in which Kishore Kumar sang the popular songs Mere Saamne Wali Khidki Mein and Kehna Hai. Padosan was a comedy film starring Kishore Kumar as a dramatist-musician, Mehmood as a Carnatic music and dance teacher, and Sunil Dutt as a simpleton named Bhola. Kishore Kumar's character in the film was inspired by the personality of Kishore's own uncle, Dhananjay Bannerjee (a classical singer). The highlight of the film was a musical, comical duel between Kishore Kumar-Sunil Dutt and Mehmood, Ek Chatur Nar Karke Singaar.
Rise as the popular playback singer
In 1969, Shakti Samanta produced and directed the film Aradhana, for which the music was composed by S. D. Burman. S. D. Burman fell ill after recording some duet songs with Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosale, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. Afterwards, his son and assistant R. D. Burman took over the recording. R. D. Burman got Kishore Kumar to solo sing the songs Mere Sapno Ki Rani and Roop Tera Mastana, which became smash hits. Kishore Kumar won his first Filmfare award for the song Roop Tera Mastana.
Kishore Kumar sang for all leading actors in 1970s, including Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Dev Anand, and Rishi Kapoor.
S. D. Burman and Kishore continued to churn out several hit songs together, including Phoolon Ke Rang Se and Shokhiyon Mein Ghola Jaaye from Prem Pujari (1969), Aaj Madhosh Hua Jaaye Re, Khilte Hain Gul Yahan and O Meri Sharmilee from Sharmilee (1971), Meet na mila from Abhimaan (1973), Pyaar Ke Is Khel Mein from Jugnu. In 1975, S. D. Burman composed his last song for Kishore Kumar. S. D. Burman went into a coma for the second time, soonafter Kishore recorded the song Badi Sooni Sooni Hai Zindagi for the film Mili.
R. D. Burman considered Kishore Kumar his favorite singer, and recorded several hit songs with him in the 1970s. In the superhit Bollywood film, Sholay (1975), he asked Kishore Kumar to sing for both Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra. Some of the popular Kishore Kumar-R. D. Burman songs include O Maajhi Re from Khushboo, Yeh Shaam Mastaani and Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai from Kati Patang (1971), Kuchh To Log Kahenge from Amar Prem (1972), Raat Kali Ek Khwab Mein Aayi from Buddha Mil Gaya (1971), Musafir Hoon Yaaron from Parichay (1972), Diye Jalte Hain from Namak Haraam (1973), Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si from Anamika (1973), Zindagi Ke Safar Mein from Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Agar Tum Na Hote, Humein Tum Se Pyaar Kitna from Kudrat, Mere Naina Saawan Bhadon from Mehbooba, and Chingari Koi Bhadke (Amar Prem), Jab Bhi Koi Kangana from Shaukeen (1986).
The song Humen Tumse Pyar Kitna is notable as Kishore Kumar has sung a light romantic version, while the classical "Thumri"-style version is sung by the famous classical singer Begum Parveen Sultana, but the light romantic version has received greater popular acclaim. R. D. Burman also recorded several hit duets pairing Kishore Kumar with Asha Bhosle and with Lata Mangeshkar. Some of these duets include Panna Ki Tamanna from Heera Panna (1973), Neend Chura Ke Raaton Mein from the film Shareef Badmash, Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai from Sanjay Dutt's debut film Rocky (1981), Sagar Kinare from Sagar in , Aap Ki Aankhon Mein Kuchh from Ghar, Jaane Ja Dhoondta and Nahi Nahi from Jawani Diwani, Kharoshoo from Harjai (1982).
Apart from the Burmans, Kishore Kumar worked with other major music directors as well. The composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal (L-P) also composed many hit songs sung by Kishore Kumar. Some of their hit songs include Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi from Mr. X In Bombay, Mere Naseeb Mein Aye Dost from Do Raaste, Yeh Jeevan Hai from Piya Ka Ghar, Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai from Daag, Nahi Mai Nahi Dekh Sakta from Majboor, Mere diwanepan ki bhi from Mehboob Ki Mehndi, Naach Meri Bulbul from Roti, Chal Chal Mere Haathi from Haathi Mere Saathi, Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai from Dost, Ruk Jaana Nahi from Imtihaan, Ek Ritu Aaye from Gautam Govinda, My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves from Amar Akbar Anthony Bahut Khoobsurat Jawan Ek Ladki from Dostana and Om Shanti Om as well as Paisa Yeh Paisa from Karz. L-P, whose favorite singer was Lata Mangeshkar, also composed several hit Kishore-Lata duets, including Achchha To Hum Chalte Hain from Aan Milo Sajna, Gore Rang Pe Na Itna from Roti, Main Solah Baras Ki from Karz, and Din Mahine Saal from Avtar, Tu Kitne Baras Ki from Karz.
L-P also got Kishore Kumar and Rafi to sing duets for the films Dostana , Ram Balram and Deedaar-E-Yaar. L-P composed a sizzling Rainy duet of Kishore Kumar with Alisha Chinoy, I love you (Kaate Nahin Katate Yeh Din Yeh Raat) from Mr. India in (1987). Salil Chowdhury recorded excellent and difficult songs like Koi Hota Jisko Apna from Mere Apne and Gujar Gaye Din Din from Annadata. Ravindra Jain recorded Ghungroo Ki Tarah, and the duet Tota Maina Ki Kahani from Fakira. Khaiyyaam recorded beautiful duets with Lata Mangeshkar such as Hazar Rahein from Thodisi Bewafai, Aankhon Mein Humne Aapke Sapne Sajaye Hain, Chandani Raat Mein Ek Bar. Hridaynath Mangeshkar recorded Zindagi Aa Raha Hoon Main from Mashaal. Kalyanji-Anandji recorded several hit songs with Kishore Kumar including Zindagi Ka Safar and Jeevan se na haar Jeenewale , from Safar, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas from Black Mail, Apne Jeevan Ki Uljhan from Uljhan, Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz from Kora Kagaz, O Saathi Re from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Khaike Paan Banaraswala from Don, Neele Neele Ambar Par from Kalakar and Pal Bhar Ke Liye from Johny Mera Naam.
The new composers such as Rajesh Roshan, Sapan Chakravarty (who had earlier worked as R. D. Burman's assistant), and Bappi Lahiri also worked with Kishore Kumar. Rajesh Roshan's first hit film Julie featured hit songs sung by Kishore Kumar, Bhool Gaya Saab Kuchh (duet with Lata Mangeshkar) and Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisise. Their other hits include Chhookar mere man ko from Yaarana , Tune Abhi Dekha Nahin from Do Aur Do Paanch and Kab Tak Andhere Man Ko Chhalenge from Baaton Baaton Mein. Bappi Lahiri also recorded many popular songs with Kishore Kumar, including Pag Ghunghroo from Namak Halal (1982), Manzilen Apni Jagah Hai from Sharaabi (1984) and Chalte Chalte Mere Ye Geet from Chalte Chalte (1976), Saason Se Nahi Kadmose Nahi from Mohabbat in (1987) and duets with (Lata Mangeshkar)) like Taa thaiya from Himmatwala in (1984), Albela Mausam from Tohfa in (1985) and another duet Pyar Ka Tohfa from the same film.
During the Indian Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi asked Kishore Kumar to sing for a Congress rally in Mumbai, but Kishore Kumar refused. As a result, the Government put a ban on playing Kishore Kumar songs on the All India Radio or television. But, Kishore Kumar refused to apologise. Finally, the ban was lifted after some prominent producers and directors lobbied against it. The Madhya Pradesh Government honoured him with the Lata Mangeshkar award and then renamed the coveted award as Kishore Kumar award thereafter.
Kishore Kumar produced and directed some movies in the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi (1978), Zindagi (1981) and Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin (1980). But none of these films did well at the box-office. His last appearance as an actor was in Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin.
With patronage from R. D. Burman and Rajesh Roshan, Kishore Kumar's son Amit Kumar also became a leading Bollywood singer in the 1980s. Kishore Kumar also continuted singing for several actors. He also did some stage shows, apparently to earn money to pay his income tax arrears.
Kishore Kumar stopped singing for Amitabh Bachchan in the mid-1980s, after Amitabh didn't do a guest appearance in a film produced by him. He also stopped singing for the actor Mithun Chakraborty, after Yogeeta Bali divorced him and married Mithun.
In mid-1980s, Kishore Kumar sang for Anil Kapoor in his Kapoor's debut film, Woh Saat Din and also recorded for his first superhit Mr. India. He also recorded some popular songs for the film Saagar with R. D. Burman. By this time, he had decided to retire and was planning to go back to his birthplace, Khandwa. However, on October 13 1987, he died of a heart attack in Mumbai. His body was taken to Khandwa for cremation. He recorded his last song a day before he died. The song was Guru O Guru, a duet with Asha Bhosle, for the film Waqt Ki Aawaz (1988) composed by Bappi Lahiri for Mithun Chakraborty. The leading female playback singer of 21st century Alka Yagnik first became popular when she sang the duet Tumse Badhkar Duniya Mein Na Dekha from Kamchor in (1986).
Kishore Kumar's voice inspired many upcoming Bollywood singers, including Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet, Vinod Rathod and Babul Supriyo. After his death, many of his songs have been remixed or re-sung by several artists. The songs like Kab Tak Andhere Chalte Rahenge, Yeh Jeevan Hai, Zindagi Ka Safar, Aanewala Pal, Aa Chalke Tujhe are considered as milestones in singing. He was the top and highest paid male playback singer in Hindi Film Industry Bollywood from 1969 till his death in 1987. He has rendered some of the finest songs of his career in the later phase of his career notably, Neele Neele Amber Par from Kalakar in(1987) Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna from Kudrat, Zindagi Pyar Ka Geet Hai from Sautan, Zindagi Ki Yahi Reet Hai from Mr. India, O Yaara Tu Yaaron Se Hai Pyara and Lahron Ki Tarah Yaadein from Kash, Rah pe rahte hai from Namkeen, Bin Phere Hum Tere from Bin Phere Hum Tere from Bin Phere Hum Tere (1979), Maine Tumse Kuchh Nahi Manga from Katha in (1986), Saason se Nahi fom Mohabbat in (1987).
Kishore Kumar's song Pal Bhar Ke Liye from the film Johny Mera Naam (1970) was used in an episode of The Simpsons titled Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore. His songs have also been featured in several films, including Such a Long Journey (1998) and Side Streets (1998). Sony TV organised the show K for Kishore to search a talent like Kishorekumar. The songs Dil Kya Kare and the toe-tapping number Dekha Na Haye Re Socha Na are very popular among young generation of 21st Century.
Kishore Kumar married four times. His first wife was Ruma Guha Thakurta aka Ruma Ghosh. Their marriage lasted from 1950 to 1958. Kishore Kumar's second wife was the famous actress Madhubala, who had worked with him on many films including his home production Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). When Kishore Kumar proposed to her, Madhubala was sick and was planning to go to London for treatment. She didn't know about the condition that she was suffering from, and her father wanted her to wait and consult the London doctors first. Nevertheless, Madhubala married Kishore Kumar in 1960. Madhubala was a Muslim, and the two had a civil marriage,
His family was against the marriage, and the couple also had a Hindu marriage to please them, but Madhubala was not accepted by them. The doctors in London told Madhubala that she would not live for long. The marriage lasted for 9 years, and ended with Madhubala's death on February 23, 1969. Kishore Kumar's third marriage was to Yogeeta Bali, and lasted from 1976 to August 4, 1978. Kishore Kumar was married to Leena Chandavarkar from 1980 until his death.
Kishore Kumar had two sons, Amit Kumar (playback singer) with Ruma, and Sumit Kumar with Leena Chandavarkar.
Kishore Kumar is said to have been paranoid about not being paid. During recordings, he would begin singing only after his secretary confirmed that the producer had made the payment. Once, when he discovered that his dues hadn't been fully paid, he landed up for shooting with make-up on only one side of his face. When the director questioned him, he replied "Aadha paisa to aadha make-up." (Half make-up for half payment). On the sets of Bhai Bhai, Kishore Kumar refused to act because the director M V Raman owed him five thousand rupees. His brother Ashok Kumar persuaded him to do the scene. But, when the shooting started, he walked across the floor and, each time he walked a few places, he said, "Paanch Hazzar Rupaiya," (five thousand rupees) and did a somersault. After he reached the end of the floor, he went out of the studio, jumped into his car, and ordered his driver Abdul to drive away.
On another occasion, when the producer R. C. Talwar did not pay his dues in spite of repeated reminders, Kishore Kumar turned up at Talwar's residence one morning and started shouting "Hey Talwar, de de mere aath hazaar" ("Hey Talwar, give me my eight thousand"). He did this every morning for a few days, until Talwar paid him.
The film Anand (1971) was originally supposed to star Kishore Kumar and Mehmood in the lead roles. One of the producers of the film, N.C. Sippy, had earlier served as Mehmood's production manager. Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the director of the film, was asked to meet Kishore Kumar to discuss the project. However, when he went to Kishore Kumar's house, he was driven away by the gatekeeper due to a misunderstanding. Kishore Kumar (himself a Bengali) had done a stage show organized by another Bengali man, and he was involved in a fight with this man over money matters. He had instructed his gatekeeper to drive away this "Bengali", if he ever visited the house. When Hrishikesh Mukherjee (another Bengali) went to Kishore Kumar's house, the gatekeeper drove him away, mistaking him for the "Bengali" that Kishore Kumar had asked him to drive away. The incident hurt Hrishikesh Mukherjee so much, that he decided not to work with Kishore Kumar. Consequently, Mehmood had to leave the film as well, and new actors (Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan) were signed up for the film.
In spite of his "no money, no work" principle, sometimes Kishore Kumar recorded for free even when the producers were willing to pay. He recorded for free, for some films produced by Rajesh Khanna and Danny Denzongpa. On one occasion, Kishore Kumar helped actor-turned-producer Bipin Gupta, by giving him Rs. 20,000 for the film Dal Mein Kala (1964). When the little-known actor Arun Kumar Mukherjee died, Kishore Kumar regularly sent money to his family in Bhagalpur. Mukherjee was one of the first persons to appreciate Kishore's singing talent.
Many journalists and writers have written about Kishore Kumar's seemingly eccentric behavior. Kishore Kumar had put a "Beware of Kishore" sign at the door of his Warden Road flat, where he stayed for some time while his bungalow was being done up. Once, the producer-director H. S. Rawail, who owed him some money, visited his flat to pay the dues. Kishore Kumar took the money, and when Rawail offered to shake hands with him, he reportedly put Rawail's hand in his mouth, bit it, and asked "Didn’t you see the sign?". Rawail laughed off the incident and left quickly. Once, when a reporter made a comment about how lonely he must be, Kishore Kumar took her to his garden. He then named some of the trees in his garden, and introduced them to the reporter as his closest friends.
According to another reported incident, once Kishore Kumar was to record a song for the producer-director G. P. Sippy. As Sippy approached his bungalow, he saw Kishore going out in his car. Sippy pleaded him to stop his car, but Kishore only increased the speed of his car. Sippy chased him to Madh Island, where Kishore Kumar finally stopped his car near the ruined Madh Fort. When Sippy questioned his strange behavior, Kishore Kumar refused to recognize or talk to him and threatened to call police. Sippy had to return. Next morning, Kishore Kumar reported for the recording. An angry Sippy questioned him about his behavior on the previous day. However, Kishore Kumar insisted that Sippy must have seen a dream, and claimed that he was in Khandwa on the previous day.
Kishore Kumar was also noted for defying producers and directors. Once, a producer went to court to get a decree that Kishore Kumar must follow the director's orders. As a consequence, Kishore Kumar obeyed the director to the letter. He refused to alight from his car until the director ordered him to do so. Once, after a car scene in Mumbai, he drove on till Khandala because the director forgot to say "Cut". In the 1960s, a financier called Kalidas Batvabbal, patently disgusted with Kishore Kumar's alleged lack of cooperation during the shooting of Half Ticket, gave him away to the income tax authorities. Kishore had to face a raid at his house. Later, Kishore invited Batvabbal home, tricked him by asking him to enter a cupboard for a "chat" and locked him inside. He unlocked Batvabbal after two hours and told him "Don’t ever come to my house again."