The Man who popularised Yodelling
Kishore Kumar a name that is synonymous with the yodelling that started out in the music world many many years back when only classically oriented singers were giving the playback in the films.
For people who do not know much about Kishore Kumar and probably have heard a few great songs of his and hum them in the pastime being thoroughly ignorant about the singer.
His Birth and His family
Kishore Kumar was born on 4th August 1929 in a middle class home at Khandwa. He was the youngest in the family. Kishore Kumar’s father, whose name was Kunjhalal Gangoly, a lawyer by profession, was a modest man. Kishore’s mother Gauri Devi, hailed from a wealthy family and had received an education denied in those days to most girls. Of the four children, Ashok Kumar was the eldest, born on 13 October 1911 and was twenty years older than Kishore . He was followed by a daughter who was about 15 years older to Kishore. Her name was Sati Devi. The next was a boy, Anoop Kumar – who was about 5 years older than Kishore, who was the youngest of all.
As a young boy, Kishore was full of mischief and pranks. He loved to play and almost never tired of seeking amusements . He constantly thought up antics to play on his sister and his brother Anoop Kumar. Kishore was very close to his sister, who appreciated his sense of humour. Though the interaction with his eldest brother was minimal as Ashok Kumar left home to study law after graduating in science. He met his brother occasionally when Ashok used to come to visit the family.
Though Kishore went to a prominent school at Khandwa, he was never interested and he hated reading books and having to learn under a discipline that seemed to curb his natural steam.
Kishore Kumar used to sing for his parents and they would give him money as a small token. His father often asked him to sing Ashok Kumar’s song from the movie Achut Kanya.(Main ban ki chidya .. bolun re..). Kishoreda was good at imitating and this was near to perfect when it came to singing K.L.Saigal’s songs. K.L.Saigal turned out to be his mentor and meeting him was his wish at the top of his mind. Sadly, the meeting with Saigal did not take place, for Saigal died soon after Kishore’s arrival in Mumbai.
The move into the filmdom
Ashok Kumar thought it was best for Kishoreda to try and pick up acting by initially doing small roles in films and he also considered that just singing was not lucrative as acting. Kishore knew that he was cut out to do the romantic hero. He felt was just an ordinary looking person. In his heart, Kishore resolved to try and pursue a singing career, which he was confident about. He was rejected many times on the pretext of “Your voice is no good; us mein woh cheez nahin hai.’
He was offered a small role in the movie Ziddi and it happened in the making of this movie. Khemchand Prakash heard Kishore Kumar sing and was impressed. He told Ashok Kumar that the boy (Kishore) had a future as a singer. Khemchand went ahead and gave a song to Kishore who executed it in a typical Saigal style..Marne ki duayen lyon maangon…. What impressed Khemchand was the skill with which Kishore held the tune.
The early times with the Burmans
Sr.Burman was visiting Ashok Kumar when he heard Kishore sing in his bath. When he was told who was singing, he decided to wait and meet Kishore. He complimented his singing and told him that he should develop a style of his own. In his own words ‘Saigal is undoubtedly a great singer, but there not much sense in imitating him; a singer needs to have a distinct style that is his own.’ How true it was what he said.
What launched KK as a hit was Aradhana with his Mere Sapnon Ki Rani under the music direction of S.D.Burman. The rest is history…