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The Divine Voice of ‘Devotional ‘ Kishore

by Arghya Dutta Kishore Kumar is considered to be a “versatile genius” with so many outstanding facets of his artistic personality. If overall as an artist, Kishore is versatile, only in singing domain he is a “versatile singer” in a true nature. Right from romantic to sad to soulful to motivating to semi-classical to qawwali […]

by Arghya Dutta

Kishore Kumar is considered to be a “versatile genius” with so many outstanding facets of his artistic personality. If overall as an artist, Kishore is versatile, only in singing domain he is a “versatile singer” in a true nature. Right from romantic to sad to soulful to motivating to semi-classical to qawwali to patriotic and to ghazals, Kishore had shown his tremendous variety in his god-given voice each and every time he had stood behind the microphone.

Here we discuss, yet another interesting genre of songs from Kishoreda – devotional songs – where he, as always, did tremendous perfection in singing, although he remained underrated always.

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Kishoreda’s first true devotional song was “Leela Aparampar prabhuji teri leela aparampar” which he sang in the movie, Humsafar(1953). The song was composed by the maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan sahib. The song requires extensive voice modulation and Kishore sang the song with great feeling. The antara where he goes up with “ O neele ambar pe basaria, teri jay jaykaar…,” the feeling touches hearts.

Next came the classic “Haal tujhe apni duniya ka nazar to aata hoga” from Asha(1957). Composed by one of Kishore’s earliest admirers, C Ramchandra, the song is different, as now, Kishore is complaining to the Almighty for all the misdoingd on planet earth. His voice carries the grief and complaint and very “open throated”.. with “ Maalik tu bhi isko banaake ab pachhtata hoga…” truly depicts a person’s disappointment which he keeps in front of the god,,,

One of my most favourite devotional song from Kishore was in Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein(1964)- a song which he himself composed and sang alongwith Manna De. The song “O jag ke rakhwale humein tujh bin kaun sambhaale” is very soulful and touches heart immediately with the divine tune.. Manna starts the song with chorus and Kishore enters very late and immediately leaves a heavy impact with “Kiya sab kuchh tere hawaale, o jag ke rakhwale”.. Manna reportedly praised Kishore openly for the composition as well as the rendition… Shows again, the genius of that man- Kishore Kumar!

Kishore sang many devotional songs in the 70s, when he was on the top spot in playback singing. Chhoti Bahu(1971) saw Kishore rendering “Hey re kanhaiya, kisko kahega tu maiyya..” composed by his long time associates Kalyanji-Anandji.. The song depicts the dilemma of young Kanhaiyya, as he was born in Devki’s house but brought up in Yashda’s home and finding it difficult whom he should call “his actual mother”.. “Jisme tujhko janam diya ya jisne tujhko pala…”, very simple lyrics and simple tune and Kishore’s “open voice” makes this song very close to heart..

Ram ka naam badnaam na karo..” is perhaps the most popular devotional song of Kishore which he sang in Hare Rama Hare Krishna(1971) under Rahul Dev Burman. Youth getting astray are motivated by Kishore with the “tyaag” and “dharma” of Rama and Krishna here with a voice “pioneering” and “comforting”.. The feelings which he brings here also makes the song memorable and timeless. “Ram ko samjho, Krishna ko jaano, neend se jaago o mastano..”, Kishore calls the youth to follow the “true path”of Almighty to come out of darkness.

Mere Jeevan Sathi(1972) is mainly rememberd for the romantic songs of Kishore for Rajesh Khanna, but the song “Aao kanhai mere dham” is very special for those who love Bhajans.. The true passion and anxiety of a bhakt for not getting the darshan of Lord Krishna, is reflected in the anxious voice of Kishore “dekho ho gayi shaam”… Composed by Rahul Dev Burman- a truly sublime bhajan for Kishore..

Naya Din Nayi Raat(1974) saw this time Laxmikant Pyarelal turning to Kishore for a nice melodious and simple Krishna vandana in terms of “Krishna Krishna bolo Krishna…”, influenced by Bengali kirtan- with proficient usage of the instrument “khol”. The song was sung very melodiously by the two legends- Kishore and Lata and is even popular to this day!

In 1974, the newcomer music director Rajesh Roshan handed Kishoreda a very high pitch beautiful devotional number “Jai Bholenath Jai Ho Prabhu” in the movie “Kunwara Baap” where Kishore sang as many as 4 songs … Although, the song might not have left too much of an impact as a “devotional song” in the mind of the audience, it is very much a memorable and a very melodious song of Kishore and Lata..

But the best was yet to come!! Laxmi-Pyare turned again to Kishore with “Prem ka rog laga mujhe yeh”- a classic devotional song on a semi-classical note in Do Premee(1980)! All the three antaras were different from one another and the note changes were complex!! With lot of vigour in his voice, Kishore sang like a truly “magan” bhakta in “Yeh kaanton ke haar hai saare , murari..” This song is still a showcase of Kishore’s multi layered voice!!

The next considerable devotional song was “Bhole O Bhole” from Yarana(1981) composed by Rajesh Roshan, may not be called a “true devotional song” in a proper sense, but had the essence of a troubled mind addressing the God.

The last significant bhajan by Kishore was in Swami Dada(1982) for Rahul Dev Burman with “Ek roop kayin naam man mandir tera dham..”.. Again a simple tune sang with lot of emotions… But bhajans were scarce those days in Hindi Cinema, and this song remained the “swan song” for Kishore as far as devotional songs are concerned…

In 1986, recovering a heart attack, Kishore recorded his last Rabindrasangeet album (Bangla) with music arrangement of his another true admirer- Hemant Kumar.. The typical low note devotional Rabindrasangeet “ Klanti aamaar khama koro prabhu…” (Please forgive my tireness, O Lord..), according to me, is the best devotional song of Kishore …

A man of many moods, Kishore truly proved his versatility in all genres of singing.. Although, his devotional songs cannot fall in the same category of “Man tarapat hari darshan” or “Sukh ke sab saathi”, but the glimpse of his great talent cannot be overlooked in all the devotional songs he had sung!! A truly “divine” voice!

468 Responses to “The Divine Voice of ‘Devotional ‘ Kishore”

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  1. 51
    paramjeet Says:

    respected srivasji..

    Jo aap ne range ki baat ki wohi main bolna chahta tha ki low and medium octave mein kishore ka hold highest octave mein rafi ke barabar hi tha..

    Jitna ooncha rafi ja sakte the utna neecha kishore..

    Range is a combination of all the octaves and not only high notes.. To anilji jaise mahagyani logo ka yeh bolna ke kishore ka range khaas nahi tha aur rafisahab ka range sabse great tha , unki khudki aadhi adhuri knowledge ko hi reflect karta hai..

    Arghya babu..

    Aap ka bataya hua rabindrasangeet maine suna.. Before the word ‘joriche sharvan dhara'(mujhe achhi bangali nahi aati) , dhara se pehle kishoreda ek breathing space lete hai.. Aap sahi hai ismein guruji ‘ma’ touch karte hai udara mein.. Kishoreji ka adbhut kshamata low octave mein darshit hota hai is gaane mein..

    Krupaya yadi aur kuchh rabindrasangeet ho aap ke paas to mujhe bheje.

  2. 52
    Lalit Ganapathy Says:

    Srivasji,

    Thank you for your comment, and my response to it hereunder.

    Balamuralikrishna is the only one I know in Carnatic music who has a clean 3 octave range in normal voice, ie mandara shadjam to tara shadjam (on occasion even 3 1/2, all the way above tara sthayi). Murali, despite being a Sangeeta Kalanidhi, is not regarded in conventional Carnatic circles to be “pure” (whatever that means) unlike say, Nedunuri, KV Narayanaswami, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, or Semmangudi – another instance of parochial prejudice, the way Sawai Gandharwa is not held to be “pure” unlike Ustad Karim Khan in some classical circles, despite being the paragon of Kirana Gharana.

    They say Balamurali’s emphasis on his own compositions (he has over 400 ‘Muraliganams’) is an indecent attempt to place himself on par with the trinity of Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri – even though TV Gopalakrishnan for example also composes, though no one has anything to say against him. Balamurali is of course a genius and his 72 melakarta exposition, along with Balachander’s veena exposition, is a tour de force. In terms of nada purity and attraction, my vote will have to go to Madurai Mani though, whose sheer vocal timber, kalpanaswarams, and manodharma were outstanding, and unlike the great GNB and MLV there was no sruti-bhedam.

    As far as I know Bade Ghulam Ali Khan also had a clear 3 octaves, and my guru in Hindustani music in Delhi mentioned Pandit Jasraj had it on a good day, as do Rajan and Sajan Mishra, and the great Rashid Khan. Incidentally, my guru, who is a senior performing artist of the Indore gharana, and who was a student of Amir Khan says the same thing about Kishore – that there is an unmentionable, subtle quality in Kishore’s nada that attracts. It is a rare quality. Saigal had it for example.

    Coming to western classical, Carreras had a superior range of over 3 octaves, though Placido Domingo had a slightly better voice, but when it came to sheer timber, and attractiveness of tone, it was hard to beat a Pavarotti who learnt to read music only towards the very end of his career. Though the last word in bel canto tenor range should probably go to Corelli and more recently Winbergh and Kraus with their brilliant Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (eg. ‘dalla sua pace’).

  3. 53
    Rafifan Says:

    Lalith ji,

    Mohd. Rafi saab stands as the only singer whose voice was more melodious than all other hindi singers (kishore and lata to be specifically included). Whatever extra comedy talents one may possess (like kishore), the same cannot be of any significance before the so called ” MELODY FACTOR” possessed by the unique rafi. Kishore is certainly good in some songs, but no where near rafi in terms of the melody factor, which comes only as a gift for the vocal chords. And rafi was gifted with this unique voice and which is sure enough to captivate anyone. Agreed, kishore could copy and paste some songs which require technical ability (thanks to the support of the music directors and his staff who were musically specialised) but the same falls short before rafi’s or manna’s technical ability factor , which was developed by them due to their background in classical music. There will always be a difference between a person trained in classical music and the one who is not. The one who is not trained can only copy and paste (due to lack of training) and in this copy and paste activity, he may sound attractive (like kishore) and basing this one cannot conclude, he is a technical expert as the originality factor of technical ability lacks. At the end majority of the people are attracted to a voice which is more melodious and rafi certainly has a distinct edge in melody factor.

    Sri Vas Ji,

    Fascinating write ups Sri Vas Ji. I have heard Shri Ghantasala and in my view, he is the only other playback singer who can be placed on par with the great rafi in playback singing. Both of them were equally accomplished (than others due to their versatile talents and unique voices which were divine and melodious) in their respective fields. True, in classical film compositions, Shri ghantasala has a clear edge over rafi, I agree with that, as it should be, by virtue of the higher training and specialisation in classical music which Shri ghantasala had, but what makes him unique was, he too had a great melodious and unique gifted voice. Had it not been that, rafi ji would have been on top in terms of melody factor. Shri Ghantasala’s unique voice combined with his specialised musical talent (I am aware of his being a very great music director for more than 100 films in the south) makes him incomparable vis-a-vis other playback singers. I do not think there is any playback singer in India, who was simultaneously an accomplished playback singer as well as equally accomplished music director of high calibres. Truly great.

    A new fascinating news for me through you : siva sankari song by Shri Ghantasala was recorded in one take – astonishingly astonishing. Such a super difficult rendering, recorded only in one take, if true, confirms his talent which is beyond the reach of any other singer.

    As a rafi fan, I would think that I would really love to hear siva sankari in the great voice of rafi ji, not as rafi ji in the form he was, but as rafi ji singing the song as carnatic trained specialist. How that would have been is a fascinating imagination.

  4. 54
    arghya Says:

    Respected Lalit Sir,

    Yes, even in my post 46, I especially urged people to be on the technical note rather than being dismissive by saying “Kishore does not even come closer to xxxxx singer” or ” In this discography no song of Kishore is there”.. This is utter childishness IMHO…

    As you would also accept Lalitji, the same HMV(when they were not SAREGAMA), had released a romantic songs collection called “Love Songs from Films” which had 10 tracks, viz, ” Rajnigandha phool tumhare”, “Is mod se jaate hai”, ” Do deewane shahar mein”, ” Bol re papihara”, “Beeti na beetayi raina”, ” Naam ghum jaayega”, “Tera mera pyar amar”, “Kuchh to log kahenge”, ” Jab deep jale aana” and ” Jaaneman jaaneman tere do nain”.. What does it prove? That Rafi, Mukesh and Manna could not sing romantic songs??

    I never ever proclaimed anything like Kishore was the best in devotional songs or he was the ultimate, but my point is “he was underrated so the new generation should know what classical songs he had rendered and then accordingly decide whether he was good or not” – where the response has been very positive and ” to keep things under normal perspective”- and not overhype… But still, the response of certain people makes it clear that they want to defend this “devotional” singing from saying that “universal truth is Kishore is not a devotional singer”.. How can we be so dismissive? A certain group of people’s thought is “universal truth”??

    Haldarji( as his surname suggests) is known for his nasty comments like ” a word against our farishta and you are dead” kind of a stuff, so nothing to expect too much..

    As for Anilji, yes, as Paramjeetji and Srivasji have rightly put out, the “lowest octave” which his guruji always used to avoid ( even a “dha” on the lowest octave during his later years), should understand the meaning of “range as a whole” before claiming things like ” there is hardly to talk anything on Kishore’s range”..This is a point respected Mr. Surajit Bose has many times talked and discussed and nothing new to explore there also as Srivasji has echoed the same thing…

    Thank you

  5. 55
    P. Haldar Says:

    post 48

    Dear Lalit ji,

    It takes a couple of minutes to copy and paste such things. I don’t mind doing that when I realise that I am interacting with such a learned person as you. I actually happen to have several LP records of “semi-classical” songs and bhajans from films. In fact, the classical CD that I had mentioned before is an extension of an LP record that came out much earlier (probably in the early 70s). This LP was recommended to me by a sarodiya friend of mine, who just loved Rafi’s rendition of “Radhike tu ne bansuri chuarayi”. If you haven’t heard it, here it is for you. It may not meet your exacting standards, but for lesser mortals like us, it is sweet as honey.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpVwopnohE

    I rarely visit this site but someone alerted me to your posts. I have heard Kishore fans say a lot of things about Rafi, and we Rafians are guilty of doing the same. But I have never heard a Kishore fan trash “Man tarpat hari darshan” the way you did. I was totally stunned by what you wrote. I don’t know which age group you belong to but this bhajan occupies a special place in the hearts of millions of Indians for various reasons. It maintains an iconic status among lovers of music in general. Since you and your guru ji think that there is nothing great about this song, I made a simple request to you: make a video of your rendition of “man tarpat” and post it for us to watch. I even told some of my friends, “You’ve heard Mohd. Rafi’s Man tarpat hari darshan, wait till you hear Lalit Ganapathy ji’s.

    You said a lot of things in your earlier posts that are totally untrue. I’ll talk about them when I get more time. But for now, let me just inform you that Rafi was not trained in the Patiala gharana, though he interacted with both Bade Ghaulam Ali Khan saab and Barkat Ali Khan saab. His primary training was in the Kirana Gharana under Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan and Pandit Jeewanlal Mattoo.

    In the meantime, I’d like you to mull over the following question:

    Wasim Akram could not bowl off spin. Does that necessarily make Harbhajan Singh the greatest bowler?

  6. 56
    kishorefan Says:

    Arghya ji, – 53

    You are too honest and dignified in your posts. The romantic songs release by HMV should be a clear reply to Mr. Haldar ji, who is famed for his special comments in mohdrafi.com – form a group called united against rafi and we will take care of you ; a word against our farishta and you are dead.

    Respected surajit bose ji had asked haldar ji, would you beat up people who are not rafi fans and there was no reply. In fact no rafi fan also said against such comments and were watching the fun.

    Paramjeet bhai,

    Thik kahi apne. Low or medium range mey kishore ka hold rafi ke barabar hi tha. Esme koyi samshay nahi hai. As Srivas ji, says, low and medium octave, kishore is fine i.e. 2 octaves, rafi is fine in medium and high octaves i.e 2 octaves. How is rafi superior to kishore then. In their ranges both have good strengths.

    I compliment on your efforts on writing this nice article on the songs of kishore, which certainly as you say, will be appreciated by younger generation.

  7. 57
    P. Haldar Says:

    post 52

    Dear Lalitji,

    You totally misunderstood what I said. You wrote:

    “Rather than argue on musicality and on what constitutes the essence of shastriya sangeet (as Srivasji and Arghyaji did), Haldarji merely supplies a facile list of “classical” and “devotional” songs premised on hand-me-down tradition that exclude Kishore, and appears to imply that my surname and caste would act as an impediment to musical judgement – never mind that his own musical provenance remains unknown.”

    In fact, I never brag about my ethnicity, caste or religion, though I come from the same background as Kishsore da’s. When discussing music, these things do not matter to me. I grew up in a middle-class Bengali household where Hindi films and Hindi film music were taboo. The only songs we were allowed to listen to were Rabindra sangeet, some modern Bengali songs (including Kishore da’s) and western music. It is you who have proclaimed your Tamil Brahmin Iyer lineage, and that’s why I thought you were suggesting that you have a better appreciation for bhajans than others.

    Now let me tell you why I gave you the list of songs from the 2 albums. Please do not assume that the marketing folks are fools. They are out to make money and if they think that naming a devotional album “Joi Baba Felunath” (a Satyajit Ray film) would sell, they would do so without batting an eyelid. In Marketing, there’s a term called “product bundling” and HMV has figured out that including Kishore’s songs in devotional albums might hurt their prospects. You will have to realise that this is a niche market where Rafi, Lata, Manna, Mahendra Kapoor and Mukesh rule. That is not to say that Kishore’s devotional songs would not sell. But you’ll have to create a separate package for that, catering solely to Kishore’s fans.

    Given that you are interested in making money, I honestly think that you can suggest a list of Kishore’s devotional songs (the list in this article may suffice) to HMV. But you need to have a good title for the album. I initially thought of “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar”, but that song has been reused too many times. How about “Bhole O Bhole”? Is that catchy enough?

  8. 58
    arghya Says:

    Lalitji//Srivasji..

    When the discussion on range and technicality is going on, I hereby feel it utmost interesting to give a Rabindrasangeet of Kishore Kumar which I had asked Paramjeetji to listen and which he also responded with amaze.. The song is “Shaghana gahana raatri”.. I know the language barrier would be there, but still, I want both of you to technically analyze this song with particular points like:

    1. Kishore’s control on lowest octave.
    2. His spontaneous switch of note in the later stage of second antara.
    3. Clarity of voice.

    Also, certain things to be referred just as side informations:
    1. The song was recorded in 1980 when Kishore was 51 year old.
    2. The record to which the songs belongs was sent to Vishwa Bharati record board with heads like Smt. Suchitra Mitra and Smt. Kanika Bandopadhyay( I hope Haldar sahab know these names and who they were)- who had taken lessons from Rabindranath Tagore himself in their youth from Shanitiniketan. And after listening the 12 Rabindrasangeets, Smt. Kanika Bandopadhyay was so moved that she posted a letter to Kishore Kumar at his Gauri Kunj address stating that : ” Only listening to rabindrasangeet in such a lovely voice of yours makes us all feel more motivated to live more”!! That was just the compliment part of it.
    3. The music arrabgements of the Rabindrasangeets were done by Hemant Kumar with some support from Salil Chowdhury also.

    Here is the song which I want trained people like you to comment:

    http://rapidshare.com/files/266801367/SAGHONO_GAHONO_RATRI.MP3.html
    Thank you so much sirs for enlightining us with pure thoughts and true analysis and awaiting your comments for this song.

  9. 59
    Srivas Says:

    Lalit ji,

    Let us purely discuss on some interesting musical technicalities (with the permission of the kind administrator)

    Thanks for your post. Indeed it confirms your knowledge on musical personalities and technical aspects. Nice to read & I concur with most of the points. To have a clear 3 octave range is a god gifted boon, rare cases only you can find. But it would be interesting to note that whether the clear range can be maintained if the sruti levels change. (it will be interesting to note some few examples from your experience) For instance range in octaves in sruti 1 will be comfortable as compared to range in sruti 3 where strain takes place, despite having a good range voice. Music is so vast and a gigantic ocean since it has such unimaginable technicalities. My view is that, very few singers with very good range are comfortable in all the octaves simultaneously in different sruti levels. Balamurali was comfortable as you said, even yesudas had a 3 octave range so was ghantasala who was even comfortable when the sruti levels change. For best instance of a filmy number we can take chal ud ja re panchi of rafi in hindi, which was sung by ghantasala in a higher sruti level and the notes roughly range from ‘pa’ note in the lower octave to as high as the ‘pa’ note in the tara octave, The telugu version sruti level is on higher side by ghantasala as compared to its hindi version, wherein he was fully comfortable & mesmerising even at the higher alaap in the end. What I mean is that even in change of sruti level, very few voices can maintain the clarity in rendering octaves. Of course, the vocal chords have to be built in that way by god himself, it does not come by practise. Thanks for your post on other information on hindusthani and western greats. Nice reading.

    Lalit ji and other respected friends and music lovers,

    I concur with you all that kishore had certainly an attraction in his voice – there was nada purity and none can dispute that. Without nada purity, the requisite attraction is not possible. I do not find any flaw in kishore’s renditions nor any musician. And as other music lovers such as paramjeet ji, Arghya ji say, yes, kishore was fully comfortable and attractive in his ranges as was mohd. rafi in his ranges. The range factor has to be certainly looked into when comparing singers as each singer vocal chords are built up on difference ranges. The female singers sruti levels are generally high as compared to their male counterparts. It is naturally built like that. Female singers voices do not have that depth which the male singers voices have. Kishore voice had a good depth and attraction and in his voice range, there is nothing to find any flaw in his renditions. This is quite clear, even I know of people having music knowledge appreciating kishore on par with mohd. rafi as a singer and about this there is no doubt. S Janaki, a leading female singer of the south respects kishore kumar equally along with ghantasala and mohd rafi. Even mohd rafi had said many times, kishore could have sung more beautifully, some of the songs. So was manna dey’s views on kishore. That is enough to say about kishore.

  10. 60
    Anil Says:

    Lalitji:
    Right you are; I ought not to be here. Mohd.rafi.com is the site for me and that’s where I will be.
    As for the technical factors you have mentioned, can’t there be a difference of opinion? Can’t it be possible that staying on hard and fast on a note (the purest one) with power and resonance for as long as possible before switching to the next is only one way of doing it? Can’t there be other ways also; like simply touching or caressing the note (without going off-key) and gliding over to the next? As far as my modest knowledge goes, there is no one perfect way to singing; if some one hits (and sits on) the purest (micro) ‘nada’ hard, it is just his/her style. It can’t be ‘the way to sing’, surely not for light singing. Personally speaking (not supported by the opinions of any ‘Gurujis’), it is a relatively inferior way to do a light song and several great classical-film combo singers (Lata and Yesu Das for instance) makes sure they make it wavy when rendering light songs. And I wouldn’t agree with you that Kishore alone could ‘seek out and latch on to the purest ‘nada”, contrary to what Rajan Parrikar thinks (See I’ve done you a favour by dropping in a name which you will use shortly, anyway). And I also don’t believe that Rafi, whenever he tried the stuff, sounded contrived. Rafi could do it if and when he wanted to do it, more of it later.
    What else where your canons? Tone, timbre, flexibility? I don’t really feel like debating these things vis-a-vis Rafi V Kishore. It doesn’t worth the time. Would only like to mention that Kishore’s tone, to me, is pretty much the tone of your posts- bold, aggressive and dissenting.
    Keeping aside the technicals, let me suggest you to listen to Rafi as a layman (like me) does; or else get deeper into the vast ocean of music and you might be able to appreciate him better in either case. People like Vinod Rathod did the latter and discovered the gem (I don’t suppose you’ll take offense at the mention of the name of a singer who could possibly be not as good as you are).
    Finally, please add ‘tere aankhon ke siwa..’ to my request list. I have recently seen/listened to a rather well-known (and well-trained) singer singing it on TV and found the soul of the song missing and no, his rendition was no joke. I am sure you can at least equal ‘the crooner without dimension’.

  11. 61
    Anil Says:

    Srivasji:
    I never said ‘kuch to log’ is not a good song nor did I compare the original with the clip per se, I had provided. If you notice, I had also mentioned that the young fellow in the clip sings at a lower ‘shruthy’. My only point was this particular song is not a ‘irreplicable by trained singers’ song. If you want my opinion on the song, I’d say it is a very good song equally well-sung.
    My views on Kishore is quite close to yours. He was one of a kind. However when think about him, his absence of formal training, naturally (and rightly) props up in our mind and that influences our view. We don’t give this leverage to Rafi. We tend to think of Rafi as a trained singer and therefore we take several things for granted from him. In my opinion this should not be the case. According to the best of my (modest) knowledge, Rafi’s training (from a ‘Gurumukham’) is rather limited. Manna Dey and Anoop Jalota stresses this point in one video that’s available in the youtube. One can say Kishore was quite equally trained himself (by singing Saigal and Manna Dey songs from an early age).

  12. 62
    Anil Says:

    To everyone who might be interested:
    It is not my intention to hail Rafi and trash Kishore; simply because Rafi doesn’t need one Anil’s hailing and Kishore will remain Kishore even if one Anil disses him (and I wouldn’t dare throw mud at a singer/artist as great as Kishore). However I want to point out a couple of things that have meen mentioned by Lalitji in his posts. I hope I can club them together and be brief with my opinion.
    Point #1- People who thinks they know music ‘thinks’ that Rafi is better while people who know music ‘know’ that Kishore is better.
    Point #2- Kishore is technically the better singer (mainly) because of the purity of ‘nada’ and his ability to hold on to it longer while Rafi was just ‘meends’ and other gimmicks.
    Now, the basic questions are who ‘knows’ music, who are the best judges of film singers and are these statements factually true?
    Who knows music? Only those who go to a teacher and learn to sing/ play musical instruments? It can’t be, else we can’t call S.Janaki or S.P.Balasubramaniyam or Kishore himself musically literate. Musical aptitude is God-given and training can only give it a proper shape and direction.
    Who are the best judges of film singers? It can’t be the modern classical musicians. Better judges would be the co-singers, music directors who have worked with them and ‘musically enlightened’ (not necessarily trained) listeners- especially those who have listened to them in live shows.
    Is it really true that ‘all’ classical musicians consider Kishore to be superior? No way. There are some of them, but then there are some who consider Mukesh superior to them all.
    Now what makes some of the classical exponents think that Kishore is superior? Is it technical reasons alone? I doubt it. There are several factors at play. One off course is the factor well-exponded by Lalitji- the hitting of right (micro) notes and sustaining it with uniform amplitude, strength and texture. This is what every classical guru teaches his ward to follow. Then there is the voice- Many classical vocalists can find Rafi’s voice not to their liking with its ultra-velvetty texture (almost an anti-thesis of the classical singing voice). But the most glaring issue is what I call the specialist/class syndrome. This happens with artists who are good in several areas and who appeal to all classes of ‘rasiks’. To accept Rafi unconditionally would have to be a big risk for classical singers. Several questions would prop up- like for instance ‘do we really need the classical singers?’ Jagjit Singh’s (in) famous derogatory comments on Rafi has the same root cause. These questions wouldn’t arise with Kishore. Even with Kishore around, we still need the classical singers to render the heavy stuff and cater ‘to the ones who think they know music’. I am pretty sure Gantasala also faced the same issue; I see no other reasons why that saintly soul would challenge the classical singers to those contests. May be Srivasji would enlighten us on this. Thankfully, Gantasalaji was well-equipped to counter them at their own game. The same syndrome is at play vis-a-vis Yesu Das. In South India, this great singer hasn’t got many fans among the classical singers/ experts/ analysts. But S P Balasubramaniyam has their blessings.
    Hoped to pen something on the Rafian way of singing, but the post has already become too long. So may be, some other time.

  13. 63
    arghya Says:

    Lalitji/Srivasji..

    Pl keep in touch with my post 58, as I see so many posts from so many people..

    It is really important to understand certain “technicalities” before we comment on Kishore as a singer and “dismiss” which a group of people love to do..

    One query though: If we think a particular singer is the best, then we are “musically knowledgable” and when we think Kishore is the best, we are “biased”, “laymen”, “uncouth” and what not(regional, religious and many unconstitutioanl things also)… Can’t we come out of our “myopic” view and see music broadly?

  14. 64
    arghya Says:

    Anilji Post 61

    Kishore never sang Manna De songs from his childhood.. As per my research and analysis of my idol..

    If you have any back up, please substantiate..

    He sang Kundan Lal Saigal’s songs and some Sachin Dev Burman songs..

    The first time Manna became known to Hindi music was in 1950 in “Mashaal” singing “Upar gagan vishaal” under S D Burman.. Even if we consider, Kishore became highly impressed with Manna after that, was he a “child” anymore??

  15. 65
    arghya Says:

    Rafifan..

    Too subjective a post and your hatred for Kishore is just oozing out,,,

    Go get a life in the neighbourhood community..

  16. 66
    Srivas Says:

    Arghya ji – Post 58

    I have heard the song 3 times. Nice clarity in the voice of kishore and good control in the lower octave notes (ranging 4 notes in the lower octave) as well as the medium octave. No complaints. Though language is new, I could catch the bhava effect & the emotional effect, which were good to hear. Thanks for the song. The way I heard the song, my grasp is that kishore can even go high, due to the strength he has displayed in the medium octave with good command.

    When the question of range or technical issue comes up, it should be vividly noted that if any singer is faulty from technical issue point of view, either the music director would not accept him to sing the song or such singer cannot stay for long as a singer by virtue of his lacunae. But kishore was a well established singer and he virtually ruled hindi cinema along with the great mohd. rafi and one cannot say that kishore’s renditions are faulty or he was not ‘that better’ etc. In his range,he was fine. It is well known that kishore too was immensely popular like rafi and has great fan following, which would have been otherwise if kishore was treated as an ordinary singer.

    Specifically addressed to Anil Ji, – 62

    Thanks for pointing out the mis-presentation on my part as stated by you in your post 62 . I should have been more clear in my presentation.

    Your para in post 62.

    ” I am pretty sure Ghantasala also faced the same issue; I see no other reasons why that saintly soul would challenge the classical singers to those contests. May be Srivasji would enlighten us on this. Thankfully, Ghantasalaji was well-equipped to counter them at their own game”.

    Sure, you are absolutely right. Ghantasala never challenged any body, he was a saintly soul. What I meant was during the course of a discussion between ghantasala and semmangudi, this topic was discussed between both of them as “topic of musical interest” because those days the playback singing was in full form and it was like a ‘research item’ on making classical music more attractive mixing it with playback singing. As you said, the classical singers generally do not appreciate playback singing, and in this line ghantasala was surely there to convince that playback singing can be made attractive by mixing it with classical style without compromising the classical attributes. And this he did, as all are aware of his status as playback legend with unique voice. And again you are right, since ghantasala was well equipped both ways, he was able to equip himself well before the great padmavibhushan semmangudi srinivasa iyer. It was purely not a challenge and ghantasala, himself being a well trained classical musician, had immense respect towards semmangudi and other classical greats. I should have presented this fact correctly. Hope the error stands corrected. Thanks for the correction Anil ji.

    To all, (again anil ji specifically)

    Further, as I am a classical musician, I have to state that the above argument is not applicable for all the singers (mostly present generation singers). I admit that classical singing is the mother of all types of singing. Singers like ghantasala, mohd rafi etc. have made playback singing more attractive without compromising the classical attributes, but that does not mean all the playback singers can or will become ghantasala or mohd rafi.

    Anil ji, – True, in general playback singing is not appreciated by classical singers (with ghantasala, rafi etc. as exception as they had made playback singing more attractive combining it with classical attributes, with the former one being more accomplished in this regard & even classical singers appreciate them), but all the current generation singers (yesudas being an exception as I do not consider him a current generation singer) cannot copy that & cannot think to prove that playback singing is greater than classical singing. This kind of wrong importance / presentation given to playback singing in current scenario is underrrating the current playback singers & playback singing also which was truly appreciated in 50’s to 70’s by classical singers as well. What do you say ?

  17. 67
    Srivas Says:

    Anil ji,

    Small point I have missed – You say s p balasubramaniam has their blessings (classcial singers) – I do not think so. I do not think SPB was even technically well qualified or had a advanced training in music, because in my knowledge when occasionally even some semi classical ( not classical) range songs had to be rendered, SPB had to get himself trained with some established musician to render that semi classical rendition correctly (this I came to know through some people having music knowledge). Of course, number of semi classical film songs rendered by SPB can be counted on fingers and consequently many classical exponents know of his talent in such areas (i should not comment as a classical musician). Your apprehension can be put at rest by quoting facts that this singer is diplomatic and he equips himself well with the exponents of traditional singing according to the times and circumstances as compared to straight forward and fact based artists (yesudas). I hope this might be the reason for your statement.

  18. 68
    Anil Says:

    Arghyaji:
    As far as I know, Manna Dey was rather well-known in Bengal by the early ’40s. Please correct me if I’m wrong. So in ’45, Kishore was 16, right? and it is a ‘young age’ (this is how I penned it, not ‘childhood’). I’ve read somewhere (in the internet) that Kishore and a group of friends used to assemble frequently and Kishore sang for them. He didn’t sing free (his business acumen was pretty much intact even at that young age); he charged them something like 0.25 per song for SDB songs, 0.50 for Manna Dey songs and 1.00 per Saigal songs.
    Off topic, let me tell you that I’ve come to appreciate you a lot. Despite being a H.U.G.E Kishore fan (probably one of greatests fans of all time), you admire and appreciate Rafi. You could just easily have tagged Rafi as a mere crooner or just over ornateness (especially with the kind of support from the musicians/analysists here). Appreciating your ‘ear for music’ and objectivity.

  19. 69
    Anil Says:

    Srivasji:
    Would it be okay with you if we continue our debate in ‘mohdrafi.com’. I feel that would be the more ideal platform to discuss classical singing V playback singing since we would have to talk more about Rafi and Ganthasala than kishore. And certain posters here have already expressed their misgivings about my actual qualification to debate music and my right to be here in this site.

  20. 70
    paramjeet Says:

    kishorefan ji..

    Sirf haldar sahab hi kyun, wahan pe bahut saare diggaj aese hai jinhone anil biswas, rd burman, kishoreda, salil chowdhury aur aese kuchh aur guni kalakaron ko jo mooh mein aaye bole hai.. Aur fir reason yeh diye hai ke humein rafi sahab se prem hai is liye bola.. Aur yeh sunke baaki saare ayr diggaj awaz lagaye’waah..waah..kya bola bola hai’.. hansi aatu hai mujhe to kabhi kabhi.. Ek dafa to mera dimaag garam ho gaya tha inki baatein sunke..
    Rafi sahab ke saath thoda sangeet se bhi prem kar lete…

  21. 71
    sid sen Says:

    Dear Lalit,

    I’m sorry for bringing up an old area in this topic 🙂 .

    But let me quote what you said:

    “But my friend, there is an inside joke amongst us classical vocalists – and that joke is “Kishore Kumar”. We can sing Rafi songs, we can sing Hemant songs (any song from ‘Anarkali’ for example), we can sing Mukesh, BUT we have a horrible time singing Kishore songs, because they can never be satisfactorily replicated. Ask any competent and classically trained vocalist, and he will tell you the same thing. That is why classical vocalists LOVE and respect Kishore, because we see in him undeniable (and original) genius that defies and surpasses every vocal music rule we have ever learned. ”

    I have a few questions:
    1. Do the kishore kumar songs which you find relatively tougher than others include his semi classical/classical songs? ( I am sure of semi classical as my good friend Arghya gave me a video of kishoreda singing an sc. 🙂 )
    2.Do the songs of Mohammed Rafi comprise only of his semi classicals ? Or do they include his songs like: Deewana Hua Badal, Tumne mujhe dekha, Aa jaa re aa zara, nazar na lag jaaye, tere mere sapne, Likhe jo khat tujhe, Dil ka bhanwar (or was that song by kishore da? Dev anand seems to think so!), Khoya khoya chand, Aap ke haseen rukh pe, Pukarta Chala hoon main, etc?
    3.If no to the above 2 questions, then my question to you is WHY?Aren’t the difficulty compositions the main point of focus, rather than the singer of the composition (Yes I know about how identity of a singer plays a heavy role, but I am talking more on the lines of difficulty in singing the tune 🙂 )

    Thanks, and a belated happy birthday to Kishore Kumar ji, the only multifaced artiste of india! 🙂

  22. 72
    sid sen Says:

    Sorry for not including this earlier but,

    I quote again:

    “it may interest you to learn that my own Hindustani vocal guru used to call Rafi a ‘crooner’ – so much for his being “technically competent!””

    And did your guruji call rafi a crooner? Well, if it is a song like aa ja re aa zara or o zindagi tu jhoom le zara, it is quite a compliment to Mohd. Rafi ji that he didn’t sound like a “technician” !! And if it was in general, it is another way of complimenting Rafi Saaheb on his versatility, whether it was intentional or not from your guru’s side 🙂

    Oh, and parthiv goyel, altho sang the song in PERFECT Sur , sadly lacked the :
    1.emotions
    2.voice quality
    3.expressions
    4.Sophistication

    which were very much present in the original!

    *Sigh* if only those 4 qualities were mere skills, then perhaps even good ol’ Parthiv and the rest of the sur mechanics could be a rafi! *Sniff*

    I maintain the fact that Rafi Saaheb and Kishore Da were brilliant in their own way, be it being multifaceted or unimaginably versatile in all genres, So it is a humble request from my side, just as a person who loves music , that no harsh words must be spoken from the less privelidged 🙂

    Just wanted to express my views 🙂

  23. 73
    Kapil Says:

    Dear Lalit Sir,

    You not only possess great business acumen of Kishore Da, but also his hilarious comic talent, even Kishore da would have been proud of you, had he lived more to see all your posts. Friends,don’t raise your eyebrows if soon Shri Lalit Ji proclaims something that he can easily sing “Na Kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon” but can’t sing “Humein tumse pyar kitna”.

    Friends,Bade Gulam Ali Khan Sahab and Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh had rellay admired Rafi Sahab, in fact the latter one called Rafi the “exponent of Classical singing in HFM”, i am sure, Lalit Ji with all his great classical Taleem, would really have corrected these two legends, had he interacted with them.

    Kishore’s better control than others, over Naada,Pranna and all other basics of classical singing, was another joke by Shri Lalit Ji.

    Arghya,

    I am not at all dismissive to Kishore, By that “Universal Truth”, i meant people love Kishore Da as an artist *more*, like for his singing, acting, comedy and Direction with music direction (I know many who love Jhumroo, DGKCM, DKR). But i really doubt, other than Kishore Bhakts, who would *love* to listen him in classical and Bhajans.

    Thanks

  24. 74
    Kapil Says:

    Paramjeet Bhai,

    Aap sab Rafi Fans se nahi mile hain, IN MY OPINION– Sangeetkar ki mahanta ka singer se koi lena dena nahi hai, Anil Biswas aur Salil Chowdhary Behad “melodious” evam Mahan SangeetKaar the, HFM ke anmol ratan hain dono, sabko pata hai.

    RDB was also great, Halaki unka trash work bhi kafi bhari maatra mein mojood hai, jo head ache deta hai.

    Aur Kishore Da ke baare mein wahan tabhi bola jata hai jab koi ignorant person aake cheekhna shuru karde ki “Kishore was much better than Rafi”

  25. 75
    arghya Says:

    Anilji..Post 68

    I am really not sure of the Manna stuff. Manna De started his career at around 1943 in Bengali but I have my doubt on him being inspiring Kishore from an early age.. At least, I have never had any such strong proof.. Anyhow, this was just a query raised, that is all..

    Thanks for your off the topic compliments.. I have full faith on Kishoreda just because, SUBJECTIVELY, after extensively listening to all the legends of the past( I have been an ardent follower of old hindi music since 1988), he still touchesd my heart the most.. And I have full respect to all the singers of past..

    I was also a regular part of discussion in mohd.rafi. com, but really had to come back from there, not because anyone said anything bad to me, but because I saw a full display of insulting to past luminaries by certain people who hail a particular position in certain organization and out of ego start thinking themselves equal as the person on whose name the organization is made.. Otherwise before calling a luminary like Anil Biswas “moron” and “chameleon”, Salil Chowdhury “politically corrupt” and calling Kishore “besoora”, they should have remembered that they are using adjectives which even their demigod( and even our beloved and respected) never dared to use..

  26. 76
    Anil Says:

    Here’s some musically accomplished people discussing ‘madhuban mein…’. Please note the mention of the highly accomplished Sanjay Subramaniyam in the discussion. Not every moderm classical vocalists has ‘misgivings’ about ‘classical Rafi’
    http://rasikas.org/forum/topic3277-peerless-rafi.html

  27. 77
    paramjeet Says:

    kapilji..

    Chalo main maan leta hoon ke wahan pe kishoreda ko besoora tab bola jata hai jab wahan pe koi aake chillane lagta hai ke kishore was much better than rafi..

    To us hisaab se aap yahan kya bol rahe hai?

    Magar hum kabhi bhi humare sanmanta mein kami nahi karte aur fir se bol rahe hai ke rafi sahab ek mahan gayak the..

  28. 78
    Lalit Ganapathy Says:

    Dear Haldarji and others who commented on my posts:

    Firstly, I never “trashed” “Man Tadpat” at all. I merely said I could sing it rather well (better, and certainly more faithful to the original than I can certain Kishore songs), but the tone of my comments should make it clear I am more moved by Kishore, whose songs I consider more challenging these days after about 20 years of riyaz (for my own reasons).

    I have supplied several reasons why I think Kishore is superior, but it appears for each reason I supply there are Rafi fans who will advance reasons why their own Rafi is better.

    Haldarji, I read your article in response to Raju Bharatan by the way, and thought it rather well written, accurate, and clever. Naturally I was rather disappointed at my receiving only “cut and paste’ from you, hence my comment. But then how can a mere mortal like me compete against Raju Bharatan! LOL!

    I have not personally had any first hand experience of vitriolic comments from you (though it is true Kishore fans like Arghyaji, Paramjeetji, Srivasji, would probably disagree with that, and be better disposed towards my views), so I cannot complain of any particularly vicious attacks ad hominems, though from what others write it does appear your admirable love for Rafi on occasion crosses the bounds of civil conduct.

    As I mentioned (only in half-jest) to Kapilji regarding musical notations, I am perfectly prepared to sing and upload versions of the songs you mentioned for monetary compensation. In fact I feel I should charge people even for posting on this board. LOL! Hopefully Kishore lovers will get the humor behind that one.

    Also a counter statement to you Haldarji: Javed Miandad once complained to Sunil Gavaskar in Australia about Kiran More’s antics behind the wicket. He shouted “Yahan insaan khel rahe hain, jaanwar nahin!!” To which Sunny just said, “Come again?”
    ____________________________

    Sidji: post 71

    Qu 1. Yes
    Qu. 2 Yes again
    Qu 3. Moot, since “yes” to both above, but I still maintain despite brilliant Rafi songs like “Khoya Khoya Chand”, “Chaudhvi ka Chand”, “Yeh mera Prempatr padhkar” and “Deewana hua Badal”, Kishore is the better singer on account of tone and nada quality.

    Sidji again post 72

    My guruji, and HIS guruji before him (I mentioned his name earlier), and quite possibly all his students universally regard Rafi as a “crooner” who fakes his voice on the lower register, ie manipulates the larynx preventing the sur from escaping naturally – and NO, it is not intended as a compliment at all.

    You are free to have your opinions on Parthiv Gohil’s version of “Aaj gawat man mero”, though my limited point was not about his version or the lack of the qualities you pointed out, but that Rafi (and for that matter Kishore) could not sing that song if their lives depended on it.

    By the way, I think Manna Dey could probably sing it better than either Amir Khan or Paluskar, but don’t tell my guruji that!

    Thanks Arghyaji, Srivasji, and Paramjeetji for all your kind words and informed scholarship!

    Inshallah we will continue to keep in touch on this board.

  29. 79
    surjit singh Says:

    Lalitji:

    If you are seriously telling me that you as a classically trained singer cannot sing the Kishor songs from Ziddi, I seriously doubt your training and expertise.

  30. 80
    Prabhanjan Says:

    I read completely the article and each of the comment below it. The author has rightly concluded with the last paragraph “Although, his devotional songs cannot fall in the same category of “Man tarapat hari darshan” or “Sukh ke sab saathi”, but the glimpse of his great talent cannot be overlooked in all the devotional songs he had sung!! A truly “divine” voice!”
    Yes, he does not mention Rafi. But then why did he choose two Rafi songs to conclude. There is no hidden agenda here. Arghya clearly knows the strengths and weakness of KK devotional songs. Still many fans found a way to prolong the debate as long as this. Its simple. If the author had other ideas, there would not be the last para. Yet it is there. Its a honest attempt to bring into light for those who love KK and those who don’t that KK had a decent number of devotional songs.
    Also listen to KK’s bengali devotional songs, especially Rabindranath geet, and then decide if he did justice or not.
    For those who are ridiculing his devotional number or the talent to sing them I have one question. Do you think Mukesh could sing COMEDY songs? Think. Yes, he has one song in the Junglee film. Yes, that very same Junglee film in which Rafi screamed “Yahoo!” and “Sukoo Sukoo”, etc. There is a nice Mukesh duet “Nain Tumhare Matwale Janabeali”. Its a comedy song. Whoever listened to this song never missed KK or Rafi in this comedy song. This is the CRUX of this article. Listen to KK devotional song and enjoy if you can.
    P.S: This is the only Mukesh comedy song that I know to the best of my knowledge. There may be more though.

    Finally, Arghya! I want to know KK’s Sanskrit renditions. They may be shlokas or complete song too. BTW, taking of variety, SPB has probably sung the only Sanskrit POP song ever composed 😛

  31. 81
    Shukla de Says:

    Hello rafians,

    I had raised a query in rafi forum – can anybody show sophisticated yodelling rendition like zindagi ek safar hai suhana by rafi – no answer by rafians. Some one or two note yodelling by rafi were presented by rafians and when this was brought to their notice, kishore lovers were harshly asked to exit from the site. Very great response from rafi fans. Now here, when discussions are taking place nicely, rafi fans started interfering again, unable to see the interesting discussions here and calling them as nonsense discussion etc. (true voice col. in other rafi forum) What rafi fans think, do you want that only you should continue the discussion and not others. You call kishore lovers jealous, then what is this.

  32. 82
    Siddhartha Das Says:

    Dear Arghya
    You have so much information about Kishoreda & Salilda that it has really made the reading so much more interesting. Kudos to your knowledge & writing style.

  33. 83
    arghya Says:

    My response to the last post of respected P Haldar sahab on the other topic “endless feuth”..

    1. Haldarji, I used the word “hate”, because i know there is hatred.. Would you like to be reminded of the comments passed on to Kishore by your other colleagues? ” compact disk”, “commercial puppet”, “rickshawpuller voice”, “a candle in front of the sun”(the funniest of them all), “besoora”.. Do you think these “compliments” come out of “love”?? Do you want the links also?? Tell me yes, and I would provide them and remind you..

    2. Regarding bengali jouranlists,, I dont know about Kerala, I have lived in Maharashtra for four years(Pune and Nanded), two years in Rajasthan( Jaipur), two years in Hyderabad and travelled out of profession and living in and around,length and breadth of India.. And the person, whom I have met and consider a true scholar on Hindi music is Mr. Vishwas Nerurkarji, who is not a Bengali..

    And don’t worry about your concern of me getting carried away by other people’s musical discussion.. To say the least, I do have a diploma from Bangiya Sangeet Parishad,, please don’t worry…

    I raised some points on Kishore’s vocals in terms of range and knowledgable people have responded just the way I felt about it.. If “Saghana gahana raatri” is not sufficient for you, (the download link is still available), please listen “Tere liye maine sabko chhoda” from Anand Ashram and see how many notes in the lowest octave is covered..

    You said, you can publish praises on Rafi sahab taking two three days,,, What is the problem? If you think, I do not know how many people have praised rafi sahab and “for what skills also”, you are in wrong perception.. But, you go ahead, as that will help your other colleagues to know this great singer better.. For the skills of Kishore, I have sufficient knowledge and information.Thanks and I am putting a full stop to our mutual conversation.

    Prabhanjan..

    Sanskrit shloka..hm.. There is a song from “Muqaddar ka faisla”(1987) where Kishore sings a devotional song “Teeno lok ke nath kanhaiyyaji ne janam liyo re” and starts the song with the shloka” he krishna karunasindhu, dinabandhu jagatpate, gopesh, gopikakanta, radhakanta namastute”.. Definitely, wont be as good as SPB, perhaps( I take your words, I know you are too good in your analysis)..
    And yes, you are right in your observations.. I really do mean that “Rafi sahab’s devotional songs were better than Kishore da’s”- no controversy in that:).. You are also right in saying, people should decide themselves how good Kishore’s renditions were regarding devotional songs.. I had once forwarded you two rabindrasangeets of Kishoreda, which you admired.. That was encouraging for me also as my non-bengali friends do keep on asking for Rabindrasangeets of Kishoreda..

    Sidhdhartha ji..

    Thanks a lot for your compliments.. Your encouragements are like fuels to me to keep going..

    Shukla De ji..
    I wont go into that heated arguement part of it.. Technically, yes, I have heard “Unse rippi tippi ho gayi”, at least three or four times – the song which Rafi fans put as the best “yoodelling” not only by Rafi sahab but also by any singer whatsoever..:) And I found those comments so funny, a yodelling of hardly two notes,, and pitted against complex and high pitch yodellings of many.. And overall, I dont bother too much about “yoodelling”, Rafi could do it just as good as Kishore could do an “alaap” in raga based songs..

  34. 84
    Anil Says:

    Excuse me, Lalithji. I know I am not entirely welcome here but can’t help pointing out yet another historically incorrect statement (or story?) from you. Miandad, Sunny and More never went into an international match together ‘Down under’. The last time India played Pakistan during “sunny days” was in ’85 (the B&H World series cup). The two teams played twice in the tourney and it was Sadanand Viswanath who kept wickets for India in both the matches. Then there was the (in) famous ’92 world cup match, but Sunny was long gone by ’92.

  35. 85
    Lalit Ganapathy Says:

    Anilji (post 84),

    Since when does retirement from international cricket preclude presence in a foreign continent in another capacity, as a commentator for Channel 9 perhaps? I never mentioned it was during a match. In point of fact, I think the incident was recounted in a newspaper by the venerable Raju Bharatan, but I am open to correction.

    But lest we forget, this a Kishore forum, any your comments (like Gavakar’s) are most welcome.

    Speaking of stories and inaccurate statements Anilji, do you know any good ones about Kishore Kumar growing up singing Manna Dey songs?

  36. 86
    arghya Says:

    Shukla De ji..

    Just a couple of more things on yoodelling as you mentioned so just thought to add my two cents into it:

    Yoodelling is traditionally seen as a mode of singing used to emote light hearted and happy songs.. Even in western music, yoodelling is mainly a happy expression or rather an expression or outburst of joy..

    Leaving apart the range of yoodelling, which you had mentioned, Kishore was unparallelled in the “forms of yoodelling” also.. Continuing from my last para, the yoodellings which were done by other singers again are basically “happy” forms of yoodelling or rather “traditional” yoodelling.. Kishore was unique in this “form of yoodelling” as:

    1. he used yoodelling in romantic songs( “El poloker ektu dekha”) without losing a single shade of romance out of it..
    2. he used yoodelling in sad, griefstruck songs( “She dino aakashe chhilo koto tara”, ” shei raate raat chhilo purnima”) without letting loose the grief and sadness which people can feel after listening the songs.. the first one seems like a lonely person, looking at the sky above, isolated and emotional and “yoodelling” out of despair.. An “experimentation” with this breaking of voice which no other singers tried
    3. and of course, he used yoodelling is classy masti songs which are just so memorable..

    The reason I spoke so much of yoodelling- even though considering this form of singing nothing special if to prove Kishore’s greatness- I saw a topic recently in one of the comunitites in a social networking site saying “where kishoreda was better- funny yoodelling or emotional deep songs”?

    so, I thought I would add here that extraordinary talent of Kishore, where simultenously he could express deep emotions with yoodelling coupled also.. Yoodellling is not only “fun”, perhaps Kishore taught this to us..

  37. 87
    Anil Says:

    To Lalitji:
    Can you please narrate the exact incident involving the 3 players in question. Is it that 2 were on the ground and the other in the commentator’s box? Or can it be that the ‘complaint’ happened post match when Miandad met Sunny; but in that case how can it be ‘yehan insaan khel rahe hain’?
    Yeah; there are more such stories about Kishore singing Manna Dey songs in his youth. You only have to visit the site of the one ‘whose catholicity of musical spirit’ cannot be suspected.

  38. 88
    Shukla de Says:

    Arghya ji – 86

    I agree with your points. Kishore was special in yodelling.

  39. 89
    sid Says:

    lalit,

    thanks for your reply! Good things certainly do come to those who wait!
    well my points were more on the lines of logic and reasoning. So you find a kishore kumar semi classical number harder than a rafi semi classical number? quite odd, as the kk one that arghya gave me seemed quite labored and forced. It wasn’t free flowing like a number by manna,rafi,etc Not to say k da wasn’t a brilliant singer, but to say his semi classical ones were tougher is quite odd, as many ppl twice as profficient as u, ur guruji or ur guruji’s wife have never told me such a thing! some were quite rude imo, but oh well, fanboys will be fanboys 😉 you should know 😛
    so u can sing deewana hua badal with more ease than chala jaata hoon eh? well to each their own i guess… . i think you need to be less obsessed with naturally talented singers or totally classical obsessed singers..learn to appreciate the more “balanced ones”… it’s odd how u and ur guruji have totally disagreed with manna dey(and kishore kumar ,lata ji and mukesh!)

  40. 90
    sid Says:

    furthermore,

    since we like to talk abt “faking” voice… whats ur take on “humko tumse ho gaya hai pyar”.. it is as if kishore and mukesh’s throats are coming out of their mouths as they go on to high pitch 🙂

  41. 91
    Surajit Bose Says:

    Hi Arghya, Lalit Ji,

    Some very nice points have been discussed here.

    Hearty thanks to Lalit Ji for putting forth his points so well, and with such good depth behind them.

    I have always insisted, here and elsewhere, that classical music (vocal) is first and foremost about developing a voice culture, about developing control over your voice (by learning to control your breath, and bringing your body in rhythm with the source of your voice), staying true to the Sur and Laya/Taal at every phase of the rendition. It is not about bringing about variations when there is need for none.

    I have already expounded my theories long time before, on this forum and elsewhere, about the comparision between Kishore and Rafi. I re-iterate that Rafi was not adept at classical songs. He was astute enough to know how to carry a song well enough, so that he didn’t sound out of place. But it was apparent that he was not the equal of Manna Dey. In my opinion, nobody, not even Manna Dey, comes close to Lata and Asha when it comes to classical renditions. Their control over their sur and their mastery of laya is breathtaking.

    Rafi was great in all other genres – ghazals, romantic songs, fun songs etc. But Rafi was relatively weak in the lower octaves. His voice didn’t project as well (and he frequently appeared to lose his breath) as it did in the middle and upper octaves. Kishore, OTOH, was equally good in the lower, middle, and upper octaves. However, nobody could go as high as Rafi.

    It is unfortunate that most of Kishore’s skills and technical mastery is overlooked due to his image as a comedy singer.

    Lalit ji, it would be a pleasure to interact with you here and outside this forum.

  42. 92
    arghya Says:

    Surajitda..

    Welcome back! Missed you so much here of late!

    Sid..

    Listen to the song carefully.. the high note of what you call, ie, “ab tak chhupaye rakha shola dabaye rakha”, although i a not on keyboard, i can make out is not at all something “challenging” to the calibre of Kishore and he was just as he was in that song!! There was no “falsetto” voice coming in that song on that note.. And out of the three stanzas, Mukesh’s one(the second one “tere sang jeevan ki dor bandhi hai”) is the most lovely one.. hats off to him for carrying that so well..

    Talking of “false voice”, 1. kishore never ever tried something as high as Rafi just like Rafi also did not try anything as low as Kishore. 2. On their own comfortable gambit also, kishore had difficulty in pulling some high notes towards the later half of his career especially after his heart attack. But when he was young, he could beautifully hit “re” on the highest octave in “Bin paisa har khel hai jhutha” where all the fab four “L-A-K-R” sang the only time togetehr! And Kishore had the highest note part “bin paisa har khel hai jhutha/ pyar kala sab dhokha” with stunning clarity definitely owing to the fact he was young those days..

    How old was Rafi sahab while singing “toote hue khwabon ne” where his voice entirely changed in the line “hum ko yeh sikhaya hai”, the last line hitting “dha” on the lowest octave?? It would also be beneficial for us also to know, whether Rafi sahab could hit a “Dha” on the lowest octave once he was past-50?( post-1975)? In “saghana gahana raatri”, the link I had given, on keyboard also you can test, Kishore hits “ma” on the lowest octave at the age of 52…

    Apart from that point, I entirely respect all your views on these two legendary singers.

    Thanks.

  43. 93
    arghya Says:

    Shukla De ji..

    Just saw your post in that other community.. Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Strange is this world, Shukla ji.. For two minutes fame, what not people do! No one knows a person, no one remembers a person, no one recognizes a person, and he starts abusing legends just like that!!

    Funny thing is Shukla ji, questions were asked like “don’t gag our mouths and let us speak”.. very funny, who has asked then to stop?? They have been going on just like this forever.. my response is LOLz..

    All are entitled to put their views, but to say things in first person, that too controversial things which we know since ages, is very distasteful to say the least..

    Here, whenever someone says “I like kishoreda the best”, a flock of migratory birds from the neighbourhood nest comes flying.. But, that way I have never seen any flock of birds from this nest flying vice versa when bullshitting on legends keep happening.. That just makes me feel prouder as a music lover.. I dont bother about hooligans gabbling around, but imposteration is horrible!

    People are yet to find out from the “Genuinely close” associates of the two great MDs about the authenticity of that musician.. Even if he is real, just like another face in the crowded music room in those days, what authority he has to comment on the mentality and behaviour of great souls?

    We talk about giving respect to elderly people, what about disrespecting a musician, who was a poet, a freedom fighter and a mass leader also?? I am talking of Shri Salil Chowdhury..

    You know what shukla ji, there is a thin line of gap between a fan and a fanatic. A fan first learns music and then finds his favourite artist and a fanatic first finds his favourite artist and then tries to mould the whole music according to him.

    Thanks.

  44. 94
    paramjeet Says:

    kishore fans ko kabhi naushad ya o p nayyar ko gaali dene ki ya unke koi comments pe chillanw ki zaroorat nahi padhti.. Aur rafi fans ko har din khaane mein ek na ek artist ka mundi chahiye hi hota hai kaalia banaane ke liye..

    Isi baat se pata chal jata hai WINNER kaun hai aur LOSER kaun..
    Binu nair aur haldar sahab ko bolo apna ‘wah wah’ culture jaari rakhe..waise unke gurudev parampujya nadkarni sahab ki auqat kitni hai industry mein woh to pata chal hi chuka hai..jisko identify karne ke liye hi paseene chhut jaate hai, uski baaton ka value hi kya..saari zindagi kuchh kar na saka ab legends ko gaali deke frustration nikal raha hai.. Fir se dohrata hoon, isi se pata chalta hai ke WINNER kaun hai aur LOSER kaun.

  45. 95
    paramjeet Says:

    waise kuchh aur bolna chahunga rd-guruji ke baare mein.

    Agar Aradhana mein aesa hua tha, jo ki sahi bhi hai, to itna halla kyun? Kya rafi sahab itna kamzor the ke ek Aradhana ne sab ujaad diya??? Doston, zara gaur farmaiyega, bahut important baat hai, Aradhana ke baad guruji ke baaki performances.

    Safar(1970): MD kalyanji anandji. Sad,philosophical , aradhana se bilkul alag.
    Prem pujari(1970): MD sachin dev burman. ultra romantic. Ultra melodious.
    Johny mera naam(1970): MD kalyanji anandji. Full masti and cheed khaani.
    Aan milo sajna(1970): dono ko barabar ka mauka mila aur kishoreda ne dusre gayak ko just flat kar diya.
    Pavitra papi(1970): sirf ek gana, magar aaj bhi log us picture ko woh ‘teri duniya se hoke majboor chala’ ke liye hi yaad rakhe hai.
    kati patang(1970): bas guruji hi guruji.
    Amar prem(1971): kishoreda ne dikha diya semi classical theme pe bhi woh kya ghazab kar sakte hai.
    Hare rama hare krishna(1971): sad, romantic, devotional, sabmein unhone kamaal kar diya. Bas suno aur magan ho jaao.
    Sharmilee(1971): romantic, semi classical, sad, masti- sab woh rang dikha diya guru ne jise sunke log sirf taarif hi kar paye aur kuchh nahi(1-2 exception to honge hi)
    Gambler(1971): kehte hai ‘dil aaj shayar’ ke liye dusra gayak ko bulaya tha pehle’ nahiaa paye to kishoreda ne gaya. Aur aesa gaya ke jab tak burmandada zinda the, aur kisi gayak ki zaroorat unko kabhi nahi padi…

    Aur bhi bahut geet hai, magar mitron, kya aap ko lagta hai yeh sab politics hai???? Ya ek Aradhana hi kaafi tha?? Gurudev ko ek mauka mila indusrry mein aur unhone chhakke chhuda di sabki..politics agar hua hai ti woh unke saath, 60s mein, jab industry ne unki qadr nahi jaani..

    Jo log Aradhana ko leke chillate hai, woh is liye ki unko dar lagta hai’ agar sahi mein analysis kiya jaye to kamaal Aradhana ke baad hi hua tha.. khaali ckassic hi baaki tha, jab Amar Prem me bhairavi aur khambaaj ga diya guruji ne, to aur kuchh kehne ko baaki nahi raha- a generation of Rafi lovers got converted to Kishore lovers!!!

  46. 96
    shukla de Says:

    Arghya ji,

    Well said. In fact I had posted another strong post for binu nair ji in the other community which was not posted (as expected which happens when you raise some straight forward queries – & specially when Mr. Binu Nair is questioned) you can understand.

  47. 97
    Prabhanjan Says:

    “You know what shukla ji, there is a thin line of gap between a fan and a fanatic.”

    Technically speaking (grammatically speaking), fan is just an abbreviation of the word “fanatic” 😀

  48. 98
    paramjeet Says:

    jo bolna tha bol diya unko.. Nahi to jaise chal raha tha waise hi chalega wahan pe.. Jab jin logon ko gaali de rahe hai unke gharwalon ko fikr nahi hai, to hum kaun hai??

    Aur gaali do..kuchh suggestions, gaali ke liye:

    Anil biswas(because he said kishore overtaking rafi was only a matter of time)
    C Ramchandra(because he said kishore had the best voice amongst all)
    Satyajit ray(because he said kishore is the best voice in india)
    Bhimsen joshi: who still admires Kishore as the best..
    Javed akhtar: khair chhodo…

    Aur maine lataji, ashaji, rd etc,etc. Ka naam nahi liya.. Aese chhote logon ko bahut joote pad chuke hai mahaan rafi bhakton se….

  49. 99
    J.K. Bhagchandani Says:

    I am basically a music lover but leaned more towards Rafi. Today for the first time I visited this site and read this article. I respect writer’s devotion to KK (whatever be the reasons) and have no issues on that. Everyone is entitled to his or her likes and dislikes. That is the reason I disliked the war of words on the ‘other community site’ (that is how this writer calls it). But I find that same thing is happening here also, in fact more vigorously and more aggressively.
    Leaving the mud slinging part apart, what shocked me on this site is (and in this article) is that in a systematic and orchestered way the mediocrity is glorified. KK’s devotional songs that are mentioned in write-up (for example Bhole o bhole…., krishna Krishna bolo Krishna….., “Jai Bholenath Jai Ho Prabhu” etc.) do not come even in the category of ‘good songs’ (leave aside dubbing them as ‘classics’). I know all KK fans are going to jump on this. The write-up is a poor attempt to project KK as a singer who could also sing bhajans (which was not his forte… let us admit it).
    Kishore has many great songs to his credit. No one denies his talent… but let us also admit his limitations. The site should concentrate more on his good work rather than trying hopelessly to project him above other stalwarts.
    Lalit Ganpathy’s posts are in poor taste. If he says that he can sing ‘Man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj…’ better than Rafi…. well I can only sympathize with his sense of self-judgement. Naushad must be a fool not to have discovered Mr Lalit Ganapaty.
    And then there is one Mr. Paramjit …. left to him he might resort to real hard core gaalis.
    Trust me I like Kishore very much. But this kind of amateurish and at times fanatic approach will only hurt Kishore’s reputation.

  50. 100
    arghya Says:

    Well, let me tell you some problems with Salil Chowdhury which the fans of a great singer always have.. Something unexplainable, but quite interesting..Because, Salil is one MD, if you consider his associations with male singers(forget abour female voice[s]), in the top 5, Rafi sahab would never feature(with due respect to his 20 songs with salilda).. Which is even for R D Burman would not happen( even if a distant, Rafi sahab would definitely finish runner up).. For Salil Chowdhury creme-da-le-creme went to Manna De, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar(Hemanta Mukhopadhyay), Yesudas(in later half) and to some extent Kishore Kumar and Talat Mehmood.. Add to that for 15 years, Salil achieved artistic and commercial success with Anand, Mere Apne, Annadata, Rajnigandha, Chhoti si Baat, Anokha Daan, Agni Pariksha etc. ( which his contemporaries like OP and Naushad could not in the 70s) without the help of a particular singer, can really make the blood of the fans of that singer boil..

    For me, I would rate for male singer under SC this way:
    1. Manna De
    2. Mukesh
    3. Hemant Kumar
    4. Yesudas
    5. Kishore Kumar/ Talat Mehmood.

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