He was the Yoodley Yoo Man of Hindi Cinema! A style of singing that became his signature and has remained unmatched till date. Every leading hero in from mid 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s wanted Kishore Kumar as their playback voice. And why not? His voice could blend into any genre! Be it the melancholic strains of ‘Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi’ or the joyful mix of tunes in ‘Ek Chatur Naar Hoke Hoshiyar’. Be it the classic romance in ‘Yeh Shaam Mastaani’ or the breezy ‘Kya Mausam hain’ – Kishore Kumar’s range of songs had its own cult following. In fact, Kishore Kumar, R.D Burman and Rajesh Khanna became the winning the combination at one time – and there were a number of hits notched up by the trio!
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But Kishore Kumar, the artist – couldn’t quite be ever slotted in one role. He was an actor, filmmaker, lyricist, screenwriter, composer and a playback singer! Reportedly, the legendary singer began his journey as a chorus singer in Bombay Talkies and had no formal training in music. He was encouraged to act in movies by his brother and veteran actor – Ashok Kumar. Though his heart was set on singing, Kishore Kumar did pull off commendable performances in movies like Half Ticket, New Delhi, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Jhumroo and Padosan! Though his first playback singing jig was in the late 40’s, it was music composer, S.D. Burman who gave him a series of good breaks and also encouraged him to develop his own style. Kishore Kumar sang numerous songs for Dev Anand, to begin with, and later it was Rajesh Khanna who became the face to his voice. But eventually, the list of actors became endless – Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Amol Palekar, Kamal Hassan and incidentally he even did playback singing for both father Sunil Dutt and son Sanjay Dutt in their hey days – in Padosan and Rocky.
So immense was the power of his voice, that even when he sang for virtually new names like Vikram in Julie or Vishal Anand in Chalte Chalte, the songs clearly outshone the actors. And be it classical, folk or rock and roll – Kishore Kumar’s timeless voice floored his fans.
Even though he was a man with average looks, it was his charisma and quirky behavior that added a flavor to the musical genius. Kishore Kumar had married four times – of which three were leading film actresses, including Madhubala – India’s classic beauty of all times.
Musical Maestro, Soulful, Genius – words fall short to describe Kishore Kumar! But an ode to Kishore Kumar can never be complete without mentioning a few of his songs. From a list that runs into thousands – here are a few favorites:
Let us know which is your favorite from the list?
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