Saturday, November 22, 2014


It has always been fascinating for lovers of old Hindi films and songs to marvel at the genius of Kishore Kumar, the producer, director,writer, music director, actor and, above all, singer, who ruled  the Indian film scene on his terms during about  four decades from the 1950s.Even now the young and the old adore him for the wonderful songs he had composed for himself  as well as for other singers and for the innumerable songs of different genre he rendered for all the other acclaimed music directors of the period. For me, what makes Kishore Kumar’s contribution to film music different is the fact that almost all his songs upto the middle of the 70s, were popular and there would never be a dull moment when we listen to these songs be it a melody, a semi classical, a grief filled, a hilarious or even an ‘non sensical’one. His unique voice, open throated style of singing, adaptability to the mood and situation of the song, his very successful stage shows which probably  started the trend of audience participation all made him a darling of the masses.

Enough has been written about his contribution to film music, his eccentricity, his hilarious ways at recording studios and sets, his idiosyncrasy, his playing pranks with co singers and co-stars which are all part of the folklore of Hindi film world and even after about three decades of his passing away the channels are coming up with special programs on him. But still what prompted me to throw my fingers on this old key board is a song, from Hrishikesh Mukherji’s film BUDDHA MIL GAYA(1971)  with  Navin Nischal and Archana in the lead which, to my huge delight, I heard this morning over  Radio Ceylon on my tiny old Keltron radio! The song,’Raat kali ek qwaab me aaye’, composed by R.D.Burman and  rendered by Kishore Kumar in his sweet melodious style is one of my favourite Kishore songs besides being the first I recorded on my tape recorder bought in 1971 at Bangalore! It also reminded me with nostalgia this song from Dev Aanand’s  film GAMBLER (1971-Music S.D.Burman), Viz., ‘Choodi nahin mera dil’ by Kishore which was there on the demonstration tape supplied along with the cassette recorder.
This made me remember many of the hit songs of this trio of Kishore, Dev Aanand and S.D.Burman especially of the 1950s during the first phase of Kishore’s singing career. As mentioned in my earlier posts there were a few such successful trios like Rafi, S&J and Shammi kapur, Rafi, Naushad and Dilip Kumar, KIshore, RDB and Rajesh Khanna  in the late 70s and so on. The beauty of the songs of these trios is that one can think of them only together as the thought of one necessarily brings the other two to mind. One such song of the trio of  Kishore, SDB and Dev Annand is this soft ’Mana janaab ne pukara nahi’ from film PAYING GUEST  with Nutan in the lead. Another is the one ‘Hum hai raahi pyar ki’ from film NAU DO GYARAH(1957),  a Dev Anand-Kalpana Karthik film. A rare duet of Kishore with Asha, viz.,’Aankhon mein kya ji’ is also there in the film. In film MUNIMJI(1955), a Dev Aanand Nalini Jaiwant film, the soft, flowing ‘Jeevan ki safar mein rahi’ was very popular. Film FANTOOSH (1956- Shiela Ramani) is remembered for Kishore’s sombre  ‘Dukhi man mera’.

While Dev Aanand continued his success pairing with several of the leading female artists of Hindi film world, for S.D. Burman,  Kishore remained  a favourite voice for Dev Aanand even  in the 60s , but  in a limited way, with songs like ‘Yeh dil na hota bechaara’and the duet with Lata,viz., ‘Aasman ke neeche’ from film JEWEL THIEF (1967) wth Vyjayanthimala in the lead. In TEEN DEVIAN(1965), with Simi Garewal, Nanda and Kalpana in the female lead, there is this haunting melody of Kishore,  in two versions, viz. ‘Khawab ho tum ya koi haqueeqat’ reminding us of SDB’s own superhit ‘Pyar dewaana hota hai mastana hota hai’ by Kishore from the epoch-making musical film AARADHANA. In the superhit film GUIDE(1965) the music of which had earned huge popularity for SDB, there was only one song , that too a duet with Lata, for Kishore, viz., Gaata rahe mera dil’ which is a departure from the past. In fact Rafi was given the pride of place  with two haunting melodies,’Kya se kya ho gaye’ and ‘Tere mere sapne’. Again there was no song for Kishore in film MANZIL(1960), a Dev Aanand Nutan starrer in which SDB preferred Manna Dey,  Hemant Kumar  and Rafi  instead of Dev Aanand’s usual voice Kishore. It happened in Dev Aanand’s  other musical hits like BOMBAI KA BABU(1960-Suchitra Sen) , KALA BAZAR(1960 Waheeda Rahman)  and KALA PANI(1959- Madhubala). In all of them it was Muhammed Rafi all the way. The fact that this had happened in films of Dev Aanand’s own production house, Navketan, speaks for itself. Yes, by 1960 and for the next decade Rafi had emerged as the top male voice in Hindi films. But, still, SDB used the voice of Kishore in yet another Dev Aanand film  PREM PUJARI(1970-Sharmila Tagore) for this soft melodious song,’Phoolon ke rang se dil ki kalam se’ to the utter delight of Dev-SDB-Kishore fans.
With the rise of Rajesh Khanna as the first super star of Hindi cinema with the release of the two hugely successful romantic musical hits AARADHANA(1969- S.D.B)  and KATI PATANG(1970- R.D.B) Kishore Kumar re-emerged as the No.1 play back singer and continued to be so till the end in 1987.The song ‘Roop tera mastana’  rendered in his inimitable style which won him the Filmfare Award for the best singer and the romantic song ‘Mere  sapnon ki rani’ from Aaradhana were the rage of the period especially on the campuses. The captivating songs like ‘Yeh shaam mastani’ and ‘Yeh jo mohabat hai, composed by R.D.Burman for film  Kati Patang marked the beginning of the trio of Rajesh Khanna-Kishore - RDB with a large number of hit songs to follow. In fact Rajesh Khanna’s rise to super stardom owes a lot to the music of SDB, RDB and Kishore whose voice suited best for him, the romantic hero he was! Besides, it was under SDB and RDB that Kishore gave most of his memorable songs.Two songs readily coming to mind are the super sweet, ‘Deewana leke aaya hai dil ka tarana’ and ‘Oh mere dil ki chain’ from film MERE JEEVAN SAATHI (1972- Rajesh Khanna –Tanuja). In film AMAR PREM(1972-Sharmila Tagore) there are three songs of Kishore, viz., ‘Kuch toh log kahenge’, ‘Chingari koi badke’ and the soft persuasive ‘Yeh kya hua kaise hua’. In Rajesh Khanna’s  super hit film NAMAK HARAM(1973-Rekha- Amitab Bachhan) again there are three songs of Kishore of which the one ‘Diya Jalte hain’was the most popular.
The outstanding performance of Amitab Bachhan  in film Namak Haram propelled him into stardom and two very successful films followed with S.D.Burman’s music and Kishore rendering some of his top romantic songs for Amitab Bachan. The first is film ABHIMAN(1973-Jaya Bahduri)with the song, ‘Meet na mila re man ka’ and the duet with Lata, ‘Tere mere Milan ki yeh raina’. The other film is  MILI(1975-Jaya Bahduri) with two songs by Kishore,viz., ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ and the soulful  ‘Aaye tum yaad mujhe’. Two other notable RDB-Amitab-Kishore films are Hare Rama Hare Krishna(1971-Zeenat Aman)and  Manzil(1971-Mousumi Chatterjee). The ‘rain’ song ‘Rim jim gire saaawan’ from film Manzil is remembered even today for the beauty of the composition and the picturisation of the scene. Two out of the eight Filmfare Awards for best singer were won by Kishore for his songs for Amitab, viz., for film DON (Music by Kalyanji Aanandji) ‘Khaike pan Banarasiwala’, and for NAMAK HALAL(Music Bappi Lahri-1982-Smita patil)the beautiful and one of the rare semi classical numbers of Kishore, ‘Pag ghunguroo bandh Meera  naachi thi’.That reminds me of RDB’s song for film SAAGAR(1986-Rishi Kapoor-Dimple),viz., ‘Saagar kinare’ which gave Kishoren another Filmfare Award for the best singer.
Kishore and RDB had also created a few wonderful songs, especially duets with Lata for  Sanjeev Kumar. Film AANDHI(1975) is noted for three of the best ever duets of Hindi films, viz.,’Is mod pe jaate hain’, ‘Tum aa gaye ho noor aa gaya’ and the immortal ‘Tere  bina zindagi’. There is another haunting duet in film AAP KI KASAM, viz., ‘Karvten badalte rahen’.In film ANAMIKA(1973)there is this evergreen solo ‘Mere bheegi bheegi si’ and in film PARICHAY(1972-Sanjeev-Jaya Bahduri-Jitendra)the melodious ‘Musaafir hoon na yaro’  picturised on Jitendra. I also remember a glorious O.P.Nayyar duet of Kishore and Asha  in film BAAP RE BAAP, ‘Piya piya piya mera jiya pukare’ with the typical ‘tonga beats’ making the song energetic and pleasing.
Music directors Laxmikant Pyarelal had composed some of the evergreen melodies for Kishore Kumar.In Mr.X IN BOMBAY the song. ‘Mere mehboob khayamat hogi’;for film DAAG the song , ‘Mere dil mein aaj kya hai’; in filmDO RAASTE the song ‘Mere nazeeb mere dost’ and for film HUM SUB USTAD HAI the song ‘Ajnabi tum jane pehchane se’ come readily to mind.
I also remember a few popular songs of Shankar Jaikishen for Kishore Kumar. One is ‘Nakhre wale’ from film NEW DELHI; another is ‘Hum matwale naujaawan’ from film  SHARARAT;two from film RANGOLI,’Rangoli sajaore’ and ‘Chhoti se yeh duniya’. Kishore’s ability to ‘yodel’ has been used with great effect by S&J for some of these songs. Kishore’s song ‘Zindagi ek safar ek suhana’ of  film ANDAZ(1971) was the top of the chart song  of the popular Binaca Geetmala program of Radio Ceylon in 1971.
Composer Ravindra Jain’s ‘Ghungaroo ki tarah’ (Film Chor Machaaye Shor-1974),Hermant Kumar’s ‘Woh Shaam kuch ajeeb thi’(Film-Khamoshi),and lyricist turned music director Prem Dhavan’s, ‘Teri duniya se hoke majboor chala’(Film Pavitra Papi)are some of the other songs which passed through my mind.The last named used to be heard repeatedly over the radio during early 70s but, regrettably it appears, the song has gone into oblivion.
Kishore Kumar, the eternal comedian on the screen and the best and the last ‘yodeller’of Hindi film music, had used his talent for both to great effect especially in films in which he himself had acted and composed music. Film CHALTI KA NAAM GADI ( music SDB) was a full length hilarious comedy where an old motor car was the real hero.  Film JHUMROO, for which he himself composed music has a few of the top melodious songs  in which he freely yodelled to the delight of the discerning listeners. The title song, ‘Main hoon jhoom jhoom’, ‘Thandi hawa’ and ‘Matwale hum’ are examples. The grief filled ‘Koi hum dum na raha’ is, probably,  the best song composed by Kishore in which his voice comes out in all its glory to create the mood of the song. In the famous ‘Mere samnewale kidki’ song of film PADOSAN, in the ‘zaroorat hai zaroorat hai’ song from film Manmouji( Madan Mohan), and in the ‘Priye praneswari’ song from film HUM TUM AUR WOH(Kalyanji Aanandji),’ his ability as a comedian comes to the fore. Two of the most ‘nonsensical’  but highy pleasing songs  ever were also by Kishore,viz., ‘Ina mina dika, dai dama nika’(Film-Aasha-C.Ramachandra) and ‘C. A. T. cat mane billie’ (Film Dilli ka Thug-Ravi). The muti pronged talent of Kishore could be seen in the films ‘DOOR KA RAHI and DOOR GAGAN KI CHAAON MEIN’, both films written, produced, directed and  ted by him besides composing music and singing a few songs.’ Aa chal ke tujhe’ and ‘ Koi lauta de mere’  from Door Gagan and ‘Jeevan se nahar’ and ‘Panth hoon mein is path’  from Door ka Rahi were comparable with any of the top songs he sang for SDB and RDB. Who can forget his duet with the newcomer Sulakshna Pandit,viz., ‘Bequarar dil’ for Door ka Rahi?
Kishore Kumar, the genius, always wore a mask of eccentricity probably to guard his privacy and led a life away from the limelight towards the end of his career. His tiff with the Income Tax authorities were well known  reflected in this hilarious song ‘Guni jano bhakth jano’with words coined  by the names of film stars and films and the song ending with words ‘Peeche pad gaya income taxum’!( Film Ansu aur Muskan-Kalyanji Aanandji). Many still remember the out and out comedy film CHALTI KA NAAM GADI. Who else but Kishore could direct a full length parody film BADDTHI KA NAAM DADHI?

Tail piece:-Unbelievable that Kishore did not sing a song for composer Naushad!