Mumbai: Though he is no more between us today but his songs will always thrive in the hearts of many. Abhas Kumar Ganguly, popularly known as Kishore Kumar left behind a musical legacy comprising thousands of hit Bollywood numbers. Today on his 83rd birthday, we will pay tribute to the legendary singer, whose voice is still the favourite of youngsters.
He was born on August 4, 1929 into Ganguly family in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. He was the son of Kunjalal Ganguly (Gangopadhyay), who was a lawyer and Gouri Devi. Kishore Kumar was the youngest of the four siblings, Ashok Kumar, Sati Devi and Anoop Kumar. Music composer Bappi Lahiri is also related to Kishore Kumar to his mother’s side.
In an interview, Kishore’s brother Ashok Kumar had revealed that when the legendary singer was 10 years old, his voice was very coarse grating but he loved singing. One day, when his mother was chopping vegetables, he rushed in such a speed that his leg banged into the chopper, Kishore suffered immense pain and cried nonstop for almost 20 hours daily continuously for a month; this crying ultimately cleared his voice and results to a ultimate singer of the Bollywood which created history. Ashok Kumar entered Bollywood when Kishore was a child later Anoop Kumar also ventured into cinema.
The singer also expressed his desire to join his brothers in Hindi film industry. He became a fan of singer-actor Kundan Lal Sehgal, whom he considered his guru, and tried to follow Sehgal’s singing style. Abhas Kumar changed his name to Kishore Kumar and started his career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies, where his brother worked.
Kishore Kumar’s first movie as an actor was Shikari (1946), in which Ashok Kumar played the lead role. Music director Khemchand Prakash gave him a chance to sing Marne Ki Duayein Kyun Mangu for the film Ziddi (1948).
Kishore Kumar was offered many roles after this but he was not serious about a film career as he was interested in singing. But Ashok Kumar wanted him to be an actor like him.
His hidden talent was observed by music director SD Burman, who once heard him imitating KL Sehgal. He appreciated Kishore and asked him to develop his own style instead of copying anyone. Keeping his suggestion in mind, Kishore developed his own style of singing. He featured the yodeling that he had heard on the gramophone records of Tex Morton and Jimmie Rodgers bought by his bother Anoop Kumar.
Later Kishore and Burman’s teamed up and recorded for Munimji, Taxi Driver, House No. 44 , Funtoosh , Nau Do Gyarah , Paying Guest , Guide, Jewel Thief , Prem Pujari, and Tere Mere Sapne.
He also recorded various tracks with RD Burman including O Maajhi Re, Yeh Shaam Mastaani, Chingari Koi Bhadke and Kuch Toh Log Kahenge.
Kishore Kumar sung for many actors but his voice best suited for superstar Rajesh Khanna. He sang for Rajesh Khanna in Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Namak Haraam, Aap Ki Kasam, Mehbooba and many more.
Besides hindi, Kishore Kumar sang in many Indian languages including Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Malayalam and Oriya. He worked in films including New Delhi, Aasha, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Half Ticket and Padosan.
He won 8 Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer and and holds the record for most number of Filmfare Awards won in that category.
He was awarded the “Lata Mangeshkar Award” by the Madhya Pradesh government and from that year onwards, the Madhya Pradesh Government initiated a new award called the Kishore Kumar Award for contributions to the Hindi Cinema.
Kishore Kumar married four times. His first wife was Bengali singer and actress Ruma Ghosh. His second wife was actress Madhubala and after her death he tied the knot with Yogeeta Bali and his fourth wife is actress Leena Chandravarkar.
On October 13, 1987, Kishore took his last breath and died of heart attack in Mumbai. He is survived by wife Leena Chandravarkar and two sons Amit Kumar and Sumit Kumar.