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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.

kk_turns_80.jpg

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. 401
    vitthal Says:

    Arghya ji, paramjeet ji, satyansh ji, and others.

    Longing to share a song of P Suseela,

    Anybody who hears this song has to feel happy. ( P suseela melodious number) Music : P Nageshwara Rao (composer for siva sankari song)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyKgHU5n5M4

    Request for views and composition please. (specially last para and raga)

  2. 402
    arghya Says:

    Dear music lovers here- Satyansh, Vitthalji, Paramjeet, Raj and all other esteemed members:

    The dignity of the forums of this site is gettting seriously hampered by the interference of those everfool Rafi fans who now have commented ridiculously on Saigal and his contemporary music on “Endless Feuth” column. Not only this is a childish and senseless comment but also degrades the quality discussion happening in this forum.

    I hope some proper response from Saigal fans come on this.

  3. 403
    Vitthal Says:

    Arghya ji, (Satyansh ji as well)

    A song for you, specially. Could you point similar one from Bengali (by hemant kumar) and by Hindi in mohd. rafi.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo55dh27aHY&feature=related

    (Telugu knowledge would certainly enable to catch the perfect expressions in song – the scene is pacifying his spouse.
    Music and melody you can easily get it.
    the song of ghantasala is followed by a padyam of ghantasala which I am sharing for the first time. Padyam is a dramatic composition sung in a song form and Ghantasala was “the incomparable” in these form of renditions on which I will pen later)

  4. 404
    Srivas Says:

    Kishore fan ji,

    You had earlier requested for some nice discussion on Kishore Kumar songs from musical point of view.

    Well, as a musician, I wish to firmly state that Kishore kumar had a good attraction in his voice, plainly from technical music point of view and none could find any flaw in his renditions. Whatever manner kishore might have sung, might be through rigorous practise or with the guidance of music directors, the expressions and attraction which flows from his voice are “great” and none can dispute this. Very few people have such talents, and incidentally as discussed here, SPB is another singer from the south, who belongs to such class.

    For instance, take a song such as gaata rahe mera dil, or kora kagaz tha yeh man mera etc. I think these songs to some extent have the shades of Mohana Kalyani raga in carnatic, which generally corresponds to the shades of Pahadi raga of the hindusthani. The songs are quite attractive from musical point of view. When I first heard the song kora kagaz tha ye man mera, I felt attracted to the song. By the way, Pahadi raga renditions seem to fit well for kishore kumar.

    Another beautiful rendition in hindi is by Mohd. rafi and lata from tajmahal – jo wada kiya woh nibhana padega, having shades of pahadi raga.

    What I feel is that technically qualified people like rafi could pour expressions musically, based on their training, whereas kishore could do the same with practise and guidance, the thing which many non trained singers cannot do. That is where kishore could create a distinct edge with his voice which had a magnetic and metallic attraction.

    ??? Perhaps this might be reason why many music lovers tilt towards technically trained singers as superior, which they claim that trained singers expressions are certainly different and more effective than those of untrained singers who try to pull out renditions based on guidance rather than relying on their artistic skills.

    Coming to various trained singers, Manna dey is another singer, who belongs to the trained class, and has good control over musical notes, specially command wise on the raga as well as switching of musical notes. P B Srinivas, is another trained singer down south, who has nice control over notes. Only point is PBS range of voice was limited, whereas ghantasala had a very wider range with magnetic force, which made him class apart from others.

    Vitthal ji,

    I was told that ghantasala breathed music literally for 24 hours, perhaps such rigorous practise and interest might be the reason for his skills and specialisation (of course, voice is god gifted which supplemented the skills). Many songs, he is believed to have recorded just in a single take. What do you say ?

  5. 405
    Balarykar Says:

    @Vithal Sir:
    I have developed a personal rapport with Arghya and can also make from the posts who are all rational. There is nothing, at least on online forums, to take them seriously or personally. To be honest we are all fans of our idols irrespective of their commercial success or awards, among others. After a certain point, only sane minds can understand and respect facts as they stand. For example, a true Sukhwinder Singh fan will like the song “Deewane tere naam ke” from the Dilip Kumar and Raj Kumar starrer “Saudagar” more than his most popular songs “Chaiya Chaiya”. Similarly, apart from the obvious and popular song, most of the true fans like their idols true gems.
    I have also got very good support from Satyansh, Paramjeet, Anil, and yourself. This is something worth remembering for ever. So rest assured, things from my end will be as simple as you can expect from any true fan.

    I will search some more Ghantasaala songs from Kannada too 🙂

  6. 406
    arghya Says:

    A request to site admin:
    raIt takes ages to get a post moderated.. Even of the quality of forum interests many people, they lose interest in it after a few weeks because the time taken to get their comments published is long and by the time discussion to their comments start, it is almost a month..This way, how can we make the site popular?

    Either we make the forum open and in case any offending or controversial comments, we delete/moderate that later or else we increase the speed of moderation…

    Why to spoil the name of Guru(like his site is unpopular, lethargic, he does not have mass appeal) for this website because of our own problems??

    I hope this does not hurt anyone.. But this is a bitter truth I have listened to enough…

  7. 407
    vitthal Says:

    Dear Music lovers,

    I repeat again, there is nothing to comment on comments which are capable of creating disturbances.

    On saigal ji, in the other thread, there was a comment.

    Satyansh ji’s earlier post on respect for saigal in hindi industry can suffice for the post.

    Srivas ji,

    Good post. I am in agreement with your views.

    Arghya ji, Paramjeetji, & satyansh ji,

    Waiting for your views on some rare songs, which I have posted earlier.

    Balarykar (Prabhanjan Ji)

    Youtube links for kannada and tamil songs, I am finding it difficult. Other links (in plenty) I could get it, but posting them would not look attractive.

    By the way, today feb. 11th is 36th death anniversary of ghantasala. The vivid bharathi FM rainbow channel of radio has specifically dedicated close to 7 hours today on radio for programme on ghantasala. Our friends, if possible, may please listen to the same.

  8. 408
    vitthal Says:

    Dear Music lovers,

    The details are here (contd. to my last para in previous message)

    http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/09/stories/2010020954020200.htm

  9. 409
    satyansh Says:

    Paramjeet ji,

    I’d earlier inquired/quized about Kishore potentially singing in the whistle register (our discussions on Posts [234,243,244, etc.]). Excerpt below:

    “…Whistle register ke baare mein mai isliye pooch raha tha kyonki mere khayal mein Kishore ne woh ek baar gaya tha ya kissi comedy picture ke scene mein masti ki thi (Sadhu aur Shaitan??), yaad nahi aa raha ki yeh sach hai ya khayal. Agar sach mein gaya tha to woh HFM mein shayad highest note hoga (not from modal register). This is just for the sake of information and would be another small skill for the giant genius that is Kishore. I am not sure about it though…”

    Kripaya iss link mein 6:03 to 6:21 suniye – whistle lambi hai aur vibrations bahut funny hain
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnxwVmt9Ems

    Sounds to me like the whistle register, but there are caveats and people might say it is from the falsetto register or something totally different. In any case, what matters is the note he hit and the manner in which he hit it. It sounds easy, but you would already know that it is not. Have other singers in HFM done this? I call this and much more Kishore’s X-factor.

    I will wait for the Rafi-fanatics to reply to our other queries on the other thread. Till then, there is no point getting into meaningless arguments.

  10. 410
    Paramjeet Says:

    satyanshji,

    Bahut bahut dhanyavadd.. Hum aapni baatein chalu rakhte hai, kyunki Rafian naam ke yeh vichitra jeev aaj tak itihaas mein kabhi bhi kisi logic ka logical jawab nahi diya hai..

    Bahut shaandaar! yeh ek ajeeb awaaz nikali hai Kishoreji ne yahan pe.. Aapne ek pashchatya gayika ke jo gaane diye the usse kaafi had tak milta julta hai yeh item. Lajawaab.. Itna high notes kisi bhi Bhartiya gayak ko maine lagate hue nahi suna.

    dhanya ho guruji aur dhanya ho aapke saare bhakt!!

  11. 411
    vitthal Says:

    Satyansh ji, – 407

    Interesting item – whistle register.

    In fact SPB is also another singer who did good mimicking tricks in various movies, Please hear this song of SPB – the whistles, sounds of birds etc. are all mimicry by SPB

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uwn4yogexQ

  12. 412
    satyansh Says:

    Paramjeet ji [Post 408],
    Maine bhi aisi awaaz mein Kishore ke ailava kissi bhi HFM ke gayak ko gaate nahi suna. Note ke saath saath Kishore ki “register-al” flexibility par gaur karen. Kya kamaal kiya hai. Rafi-fanatics aadhi-adhuri baatein karke nikal jate hain. Woh to kai baar ho chuka hai. Ab dekhen woh “An Endless Feud…” thread mein kya kehte hain.

    Vithal ji [Post 409],
    I loved the song. It was very entertaining. I am definitely learning to appreciate SPB a lot more. He can sound sweet if he wants to and he also has the ability to sound funny. I wish I understood the language. Whistling is different from singing in the whistle register. While bird sounds can be and are often made from the whistle-register, I could not catch any example of the same in this song. However, with my limited understanding of what SPB can do based upon songs you and Prabhanjan have shared; I believe he can do it, as also Manna Dey. Amongst today’s singers I think Sonu Nigam can do the same. The reason I say this is because Kishore demonstrated amazing flexibility at switching registers and these three singers also possess those qualities in varying degrees. I feel this was one of Kishore’s greatest strengths. As another side note, I am yet to hear a singer with a break as pronounced as Kishore in switching from chest voice to falsetto, another great quality of Kishore Kumar.

  13. 413
    arghya Says:

    Whistling Register Singing

    Satyansh/Paramjeet

    Yesterday, at the Press Conference of Kishoreda the Legend-Foundation we presented this accomplishment of Kishore in front of around 50 people from Press and Media. We explained “whistle register” singing with examples of Mariah Carey videos(thanks to Satyansh) and then we presented them this clip of Kishoreda which he did 20 years before Mariah Carey arrived- singing in whistle register. And the entire hall was dumbstuck. Even legendary musician Bhanu Gupta was stunned with surprise. He said “I never knew I could learn new things about this man by coming to this press conference”… Just a small jewel in the crown of this astoundinh genius.

    Vitthalji,

    “whistling” and “singing in whistle register” are entirely different. As you know, there are three “modal registers” in vocal singing. When you cross them and try hit a note in, say, fifth or sixth octave(eg,E6 or E7), your voice makes a “whistling sound” owing to a very very high note hitting. Watch this video of Mariah(known worldwide for her whistling regsiter singing). Mariah is told to have a five octave range with three modal registers and two whistle registers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS3cgGKDC6Y

    Now, what Kishore did (in fun) is exactly the same!!! He hit the whistling notes continously for 15 seconds with added vibrations! And that sound pertains hitting a note in fifth octave(Satyansh, please correst me if I am wrong)… Perhaps, the highest note hit by any Indian singer(even if in fun)… Now, this is called real superhuman.. Get amazed by this genius from Khandwa with this just like Bhanuji who worked with Kishorda for 25 years and still did not know that!!!!!!

  14. 414
    Paramjeet Says:

    Arghya bhai/ Satyansh bhai,

    Mujhe ab samajh mein aaya ke aap log ‘whistling register’ se kya mean kar rahe the.. Asal mein Hindustani shastriya sangeet mein aesa koi adhyay hai hi nahi.. Aur mujhe jaise nacheez vyakti, jisko pashchatya sangeet ki jaankari zyada nahi hai, uske liye samajhna thoda mushkil ho raha tha.

    Satyanshji,
    Jab aap ne mujh se poochha tha 1-2 mahine pehle tab main kuchh alag hi bola raha tha. Maafi chahta hoon us baat ke liye..

    Ek hi baat bolunga… Lajawab, behetareen… Aesa ajooba hindustan mein ek hi tha- Kishore Kumar!!!

    Satyanshji se main bolunga, SPB shayad yeh kar sakte hai.. Bahut hi flexible awaaz hai unki.. Magar Sonu jaise patli awaaz wale gayak aesa karenge to bahut ajeeb lagega aur woh maza nahi aayega jo Kishoreji mein hai.

  15. 415
    vitthal Says:

    arghya,

    Yes, that was interesting to note. I have listened to the one which kishore did in satyansh ji’s post.

    By the way, I am waiting for Yourself and to Satyansh as well to come back on some rare songs which I had posted for your views. Many posts are coming now a days, this site is full busy with discussions, credit goes to you as well as paramjeet ji, and others for keeping discussions alive. I can understand that it is not so easy to respond to each and every post in view of the numerous posts being posted here for discussions.

  16. 416
    satyansh Says:

    Paramjeet ji,
    Aap bahut hi vinamra insaan hain isliye apne aap ko nacheez keh sakte hain. Aapki sangeet ki jankaari ka to hum sab labh uTHate hain. Mai aapki baat se bilkul sehmat hoon ki patli awaazon mein iss ada ka utna mazaa nahi aayega. Mai flexibility ko highlight kar raha tha. Aur halaki personally mai bhi Sonu ki emoting ka itna bada fan nahi hoon, mai uske tayaar gale ki bahut kadar karta hoon. Aap yeh dekhiye ki Kishore ko awaaz par kitna zabardast control tha – he never fails to amaze me.

    Now that we’ve highlighted Kishore’s register-al flexibility, I’d like to ask everybody’s opinion on Rafi’s range viz-a-viz Kishore including modal, falsetto and whistle registers. In the modal register, Kishore and Rafi are only a couple of notes here and there where Kishore goes lower whereas Rafi goes higher. If you include the other registers, does any singer in HFM match up to Kishore? All the posts that I’ve read have either ignored or understated Kishore’s range including all registers. This might be primarily because this (whistle register) aspect has only just been pointed out.

    Ab kuch purane gaanon ki charcha ho jaye janaab. Maine Arghya se kaha tha ki mai Saigal ke time ke kuch behatareen gaane aur meri limited jaankari mein baaki legends par unka potential prabhav yahan share karunga. In general, I will attempt to highlight 2 songs per post – detail discussions aap log bhi please CHeden.
    1) A song that highlights Saigal’s influence on legends that came after him, and
    2) A personal favorite – a song that I personally can’t imagine in anyone else’s style.
    If anyone does not have these songs, please post here.

    Chunki yeh Kishore Kumar ka forum hai, in the first category, I’d like to highlight the song “Kisne Yeh Sab Khel Rachaya”. In this song, in addition to the trademark heavy voice, you will hear the softer tone as well. I believe this to be an inspiration to what I call Kishore’s “CHhani hui awaaz”. Of course, Kishore was OUTSTANDING at that texture of his as well. The one line that moves me a lot in this song is “Inke Upar Aakar Chidki Rang Roop Ki Maya”, especially how he says “maya” the first time. It is very soft and brilliantly done. Also, pay attention to how beautifully it starts with the question “Kis Ne?”. Also love how he stretches “Chhupaya” in “Apne Aap Sab Kuch Karke Apna Aap Chhupaya”. This was one of the great examples of classic expression of poetry.

    In the second category, I’d like to share a personal favorite – “Nuktaachee..n Hai Gam-E-Dil”. IMO, noone else could do justice to this style and Saigal’s modulations trump all others. I have heard at least 3 other versions of this (Rafi, Suraiya and if I remember correctly Noorjahan) and I love the other versions too, especially Suraiya’s version. Please pay attention to the way Saigal says “bulata” in the line “Mai bulata to hoon” and then the way he stretches “hoon”. Let me know if you’ve heard anybody else do justice to it. I really enjoy all other singers, but IMHO, I’m not sure if I’ve heard this level of adayegi and voice modulation from any singer. Compare it to other singers’ modulations in this song and please share your opinions. What can one say about Ghalib? AMAZING!!!

    Arghya, The media story was awesome. Kishore Kumar continues to amaze people. Yeh gaane bhejta hoon.

    Vithal ji,
    Lost track of this thread and some of your posts. Will soon listen to those songs you posted.

  17. 417
    Raj Says:

    Vitthal ji,

    I agree with paramjeet that in such kind of experiments kishore was certainly great. Kishore was a man of multi talents, actor, even composer, comedian, singer of variety abilities, and I do not find any other singer in HFM who had exhibited such abilities.

  18. 418
    Raj Says:

    Further, vitthal ji, 402 post,

    The song o cheli kopama, by ghantasala, I loved the song and his magnificient voice. Great tune and pacifying expressions were nice to see. The padyam after the song, which you have shared for the first time was also good, especially the taan in the end. Yes, I remember having heard the song by rafi as well in hindi, but am not able to recall the hindi songs and lyrics. I do not know the bengali version of the song, perhaps Arghya ji could throw more light on that point.

    The P Suseela song, meera jala galada, was very melodious. The lenghty taan in the last para really, made a interesting hearing. I think the heroine is same in both the songs ( o cheli kopama and this song) i.e. jamuna who had also acted in a hindi film called humrahi.

    The SPB song taali kattu….. in your post 409 was also good to hear. SPB did good mimicry in that song. I think SPB too is a man of different talents like kishore.

    Thanks for the songs.

  19. 419
    vitthal Says:

    Arghyaji, paramjeet ji, Satyansh ji, and all other friends,

    The encyclopaedia (wikipedia) in google on ghantasala has been re-invented and re-drafted. I wanted to share the link with all of you.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghantasala –

    (pl. click on singer blog)

  20. 420
    vitthal Says:

    contd… sorry, if the link does not open, this may be referred.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghantasala_Venkateswara_Rao

  21. 421
    Balarykar Says:

    @All:
    As promised long back, though I could not ask SPB himself on 21 Feb, I have got the answers to two of the questions that I raised about a month back.

    My two friends Vikas and Nand Kishore asked the questions to SPB on 27 Feb when he came to Mumbai for being felicitated Raagalaya Award in Mumbai.
    Regarding the first question, SPB answered that the Saagar song “Yun hi gaate raho” was not recorded jointly with Kishore Kumar. KK first recorded his part and SPB later did his part. As such SPB never met KK. This is the story for this part.

    Later he was asked ‘point blank’ as to why he does not mention other (legendary) singers even partly as frequently as he mentions Rafi. He was very clear about this. He said that he has never said that Mukesh, KK, or Talat Mehmod are bad singers, or ever made any negative comment about any of them. All of them are good singers and as such he has always liked Rafi as a ‘personal’ best and mostly refers Rafi always. He also mentioned that among the contemporary singers (in his era) Suresh Wadkar is the most complete singer but rarely we see people mention about him.

    P.S: I have not put anything in quotes because I have heard these remarks from my friends, and even a word misplaced will be misleading. To sum it up, I recollect SPB having said in the past that during his college days he grew up listening Rafi songs on radio and idolized him ever since. Not being a trained singer himself, it seems that SPB may have been that fan to Rafi just like most of us here love Kishore, or others from rafi forum like Rafi, and so on. It seems then natural to mention your that idol than any others.

  22. 422
    Vitthal Says:

    Arghya ji & paramjeet ji,

    I wanted to share with you an excerpt of a speech of ghantasala on Indian cinema music in 1963 wherein he expressed his views on north and south indian music. Here, I am sharing ONLY his views on hindi music. He stated that among Hindi music directors, the following musicians were responsible for greatly influencing the indian cinema music.

    Naushad, C Ramachandra, Anil Biswas, Pankaj Mallick, Vasant Desai, Hemant Kumar, O P Nayyar, Shankar Jai Kishan and S D Burman.

    You remember the not pleasurable comments on anil biswas earlier, and the above information is certainly a wonder. Anil biswas enjoyed the praise of a reputed musician of the south.

  23. 423
    vitthal Says:

    dear friends,

    Let us forget about the comparison factors etc. and restrict it to other blog purely, as this blog contains the heading “divine and devotional” which are very very pure terms and music belongs to only such category. A devotional from G , I wanted to share here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–JLRpZE6GA

  24. 424
    vitthal Says:

    Sorry, wrong attachment, here it is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–JLRpZE6GA

  25. 425
    vitthal Says:

    Again extremely sorry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KlZcX3dZqE

  26. 426
    Musharraf Says:

    Vitthalji, I have listened to Ghantasala. He is an excellent singer.Needless to say he has a edge in classical songs as manifested in the telegu version of “Kuhu Kuhe bole”. Manna Dey also falls under this category. My question to you is that has Ghantasala sung high pitch songs like “O dunuya ke rakhwale”, “Zindabad, Aye mohabbat zindabad” or patriotic songs like” Jahan dal dal pe” , “kar chale ham fida jaan tan sathiyon”? Has he sung kawalies like “yeh ishq ishq hai” or” Subhanallah,haseen chehra”? There are still other areas that may be mentioned.My contention is that a successful singer is one who can sing all types of songs through which he can capture the heart of masses and do not remain confined to a particular type of listning group.

  27. 427
    Paramjeet Says:

    Sabhi tarah ke gaane to Sonu Nigam bhi ga lete hai. Kya fir woh Talat Mehmood ya Ghulam Ali se bade gayak ho gaye? Mere khayal se jin logon ne sangeet ki charcha theek se kari hai weh kabhi bhi itne assurity se nahi bol sakte ke kaun greatest hai aur kaun nahi.. Kyunki weh fir sirf qawalli ya ghazal ke CD aur Cassettes ke number nahi dekhte, balki sur ka pakad, saanson pe niyantran, awaaz ki khulavat, swar ki madhurta, saptakon pe paarkhi adi ityadi cheezon ko zyada mahatva dete hai. Har tarah ke gaane ga lena greatest hone ka guaranty nahi hai, haan versatile hone ka zaroor hai.
    Dhanyavad.

  28. 428
    Arghya Says:

    Hi friends and Kishoreji fans,

    just forget those controversial debates and enjoy this piece of news.

    http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/03/21/gandhi-tagore-kishore-reigned-in-koiralas-heart-24600/

    Girija Prasad Koirala- the statesman from neighbouring country of Nepal who demised some time back- had admitted of being influenced highly by three Indians in his life- Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Kishore Kumar. Indeed very proud statements he made which can be seen in that link. Looking at the way Nepal is reacting to India of late, this statement of Kishore Kumar’s popularity transcending borders is really encouraging.

  29. 429
    vitthal Says:

    Musharaff ji, – friend – thanks for your post to me.

    Regarding your doubts, i request you kindly to have a look at my post 418 here and please read the same.

    Since I have already stated the facts, as you have requested, I am again putting the points, as brief as possible.

    I state that yes, extreme high pitches and extreme low pitches have comfortably rendered by ghantasala, in fact, his voice range easily enveloped all the three pitches. The siva sankari song is one of the examples in this regard. Many other extreme high pitch songs have also been shared here. Qawalis, comedy genres, patriotic genres, devotionals etc. etc. (for many youtube links are not available – you have to listen them in cassettes available in market) there are plenty to mention, he was a great versatile genius who virtually was the monarch of telugu playback singing for close to 3 decades and this should be enough for your questions. Kindly have a look at the following link ; You will get the answer: (this has already been shared here couple of times)

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mp/2003/02/11/stories/2003021100450100.htm

    I hope you will appreciate the same.

    Thanks a lot again for your post and comment.

    Regards,

    Vitthal

  30. 430
    vitthal Says:

    Arghya ji,

    that is a nice piece of information. Kishore kumar arguably as well as inarguably, is a quite popular singer. There is no iota of doubt in that.

  31. 431
    Musharraf Says:

    Vitthal ji Paramjeet ji,

    Thank you very much for your kind response. I have listened to “Shiva Shamkari” of Ghantasala. Actually this is more of a classical song than a high pitch song. This song, if I am not wrong because my knowledge in classical songs is not deep, is tuned on “Darbari’ and based on “teen taal”. It starts with a short “alaap’ and then goes on with ‘Taan” for the rest of the time for which Ghantasala is remarkable. At the end of the song during the “Taan’ Ghontasala goes at a high pitch and stays there only for a few seconds and that does not cross the pitch rendered by Rafi that he reaches singing “Rahkwaale” for the last time.

    On the other hand “Duniya ke rakhwale though based on “Darbari’ is more of a high pitch song although it has a classical flavor. In all the four “Antaras” of the song Rafi went to extremely high pitch and held his voice steady.”Zindabaad, aye Mohabbat zindabad’ is another high pitch song of Rafi representing revotution of love without classical touch.

    In my humble opinion, after listening to songs of Ghantasala, he is classically more versatile than any of the playback singers and his classical based songs are his best ones. The song Shiva Shankari is the best example.He could also have been an exellent classical singer if he wanted to make his career in classical music.

    Rafi on the other hand can not be branded as a classical singer although did sing classical songs in films such as “Madhuban mein radhika” or “Man tadpat hari darshan” etc which became extremely popular. He sang a wide range of other songs. But what is remarkable about Rafi’s voice is whatever he sang became an outstanding song that won hearts of millions of people. and brought him enormous popularity and recognition and placed him above other playback singers. If one listens to Rafi’s songs, to quote a few, of the films “Dosti”, Taajmahal”,Mere mehboob” or “Baiju Bawra” and compare them to the songs of any playback singer in any language of India he will understand the genious and versatility of Mohammed Rafi.

    There is a lot of difference between Rafi and Sonu Nigam. In fact Rafi was Sonu Nigams idol and Sonu came into limelight by singing Rafi’s songs. In London Sonu Nigham sang Rafi’s song in Royal Albert Hall in a program “Resurrection of Rafi”

    If Ghantasala was the monarch of telegu songs, Mohammed Rafi was the “Playback gayakon ki Badshah” as qouted by Amin Sayani in celebrating 25 years of ‘Binaca geetmala” in radio Ceylon.Rafi held this position for nerarly two degades amid competition from other musical giants like Kishore Kumar, Manna dey, Talat mahmood, Mukesh etc.Manna Dey once remarked about Rafi, ” Such a big artist was not born in the last 100 years, nor will be born in the coming 100 years.”

    Lastly my humble submission is that I have respect for all the singers. I have also respect for other’s choice. As Vitthal ji is a fan of Ghantasala, I am a fan of Mohammed rafi and if I am not wrong Arghya ji loves Kishore kumar.

  32. 432
    Paramjeet Says:

    Musharafji,
    Maine sonu nigam ke saath rafi sahab ki comparison nahi ki.. Comparison rajaon ke beech mein hoti hai, raja aur rank mein nahi.. Magar mere kehne ka yeh matlab tha ke sirf versatility hi greatest banne ke liye kaafi nahi hai. Main khud rafi sahab ka bhakt hoon magar mujhe kishoreji zyada pasand hai.. Ho sakta hai kishoreji ne ‘madhuban mein radhika’ ya ‘ parda hai parda’ jaise bhajan ya qawalli nahi gaye, magar phir Rafi ne bhi ‘ aake seedhi lagi’ ya ‘ main jhumroo’ jaise adbhut gaane nahi gaye.. Agar rafi sahab unke gaye nahi gaate to koi aur gaata (Manna ji ya aur koi), beshaq utni madhurta se nahi(koi sandeh mat rakhiyega usmein)’ magar agar Kishoreji waise gaane nahi gaate to shayad hindi film gaano ke itihaas mein hi aese gaane na bante.. Salil Choudhri kabhi nahi soche the kishoreji ladki ki awaaz mein ya ek bachchein ki awaaz mein aese ga sakte hai. Khair chhodo, aapko baat shayad samajh mein nahi padegi…

    Rafi sahab beshaq high notes ke guru the.. Main khud yeh kehte aa raha hoon itne dinon se.. Magar sangeet sirf tar saptak tak hi seemit nahi hai. Aage aur kuchh nahi bolunga, bahut baar bol chuka hoon.

    Playback singing mein main Kishoreji ko Rafi sahab se aage hi rakhoonga.. Rafi sahab bhi bahut hi bahatareen parsha gayak the magar jis tarah se gaane ki sahi roop pakad ke, sahi tarah se emote karke aur enact karke Kishoreji gaanon ko pesh karte the woh asadharan aur bemisaal hai. Aur kuchh nahi kahunga, bahut baar keh chuka hoon.

    Abhi ke liye itna hi. Dhanyavaad…

  33. 433
    Vitthal Says:

    Musharaff ji, POST ONLY FOR YOU

    Thanks for your post.

    PARAMJEET JI, YOU ARE BETTER EQUIPPED FROM MUSICAL POINT OF VIEW TO REPLY TO MUSHARAFF JI ON SIVA SANKARI, WHICH WAS RENDERED ONLY IN ONE TAKE.

    Musharaff ji, classical musicians have opined that (both hindusthani and carnatic) that siva sankari is the most toughest song known in playback singing, and the pitch is higher than the one in o duniya ke rakhwale.

    Just hear this link, a devotional sanskrit rendition from a telugu film mahakavi kalidasu, wherein ghantasala reaches the top note present in music. i.e sa in the higher octave (around 2 : 45) – highest comfortably sustaining. This rendition has been acclaimed (by musicians) as an incomparable rendition challenging the best of skills of a singer. Ghantasala, however, renders it quite comfortably. See his command on the diction, pronounciation and comfort, range on notes, modulation etc. THIS WAS ALSO RENDERED IN ONE TAKE ONLY.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3w5omAMF98

    Musharaff ji, – you had not replied to my post wherein I had given you a link on ghantasala – have you read it carefully. That should keep at rest your notion of his classical songs being more famous than his non classical songs. True, as you say, he was classically versatile than others, but he was a versatile filmy singer as well, you can know from the link. The thing is, his classical songs have become more famous with everybody, whereas songs in “other genres” continue to remain evergreen peerless favourites with Andhras, (might be due to language stream diference expressions required for non classical songs ) similar to the ones of rafi and kishore.

    Thanks again for your post and views, which I respect & similar regards with receiprocations. Hope we can wind our discussion with this post, If your doubts are satisfied, because I think, the forum should not be misused much with other discussions, however great they may be.

  34. 434
    Khan Says:

    Musharaff sahab,

    I respect your views to only certain extent. I think you have to know much much about ghantasala sahab to arrive at such conclusion. As I was given to understand, he was not only a versatile classical singer but a versatile filmy playback singer and music director as well, who ruled telugu film industry close to 3 decades, a feat perhaps no other playback singer in India might have achieved.

    Next, your comment on siva sankari vs. o duniya ke rakhwale, both in darbari kannad rags, the siva sankari song is far tougher than o duniya ke and much wider covering all the 3 octaves, whereas the hindi song o duniya ke is not much wider like siva sankari. The siva sankari song has been composed in more notes whereas o duniya ke is certainly lesser in number of notes (goes for sa to da in two different octaves at the maximum) Whereas siva sankari goes form da note in lowest octave to highest ni note in the final octave thus covering more notes than the hindi one and accordingly fulfilling the requirements of a more high pitch composition than the high pitch in hindi song. Ghantasala sahab renders all the octaves with comfortable ease, without any strain with perfect modulations, exactly hitting notes with perfection, fulfilling exactly the requirements of the darbari kannad. the ease in rafi sahab’s voice is clearly less as compared to ghantasala sahab’s rendition. Ghantasala sahab clearly envelopes rafi sahab in all angles. The concluding rag continuously hitting highest ni in final octave close to 5 to 7 times with ease, is exemplary. The hindi composition of Naushad sahab is surely great and rafi sahab has done justice fully to the extent possible, but the same is no where near the siva sankari composition – a rendition & composition par excellence and to my knowledge the greatest of all filmy classical songs composed till date.

    I think these points were clarified many times earlier too, including by other carnatic and hindusthani musicians.

  35. 435
    Arghya Says:

    Has there been ever so much of experimentation in film playback music since that man?

    People near and dear to him say he could effortlessly replicate bandishes of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sahab in isolation.. But when asked to do the same behind microphone in recording rooms, he declined uprightly, saying much in the line of spirit of his mentor Dada Burman that ‘film music should be light and understandable to common man only’..

    Abhas Kumar Ganguly still holds a huge with a capital H- number of innovations and experimentations in Hindi playback music which remain unparallelled even today. People aped and copied him but no new innovation in the same line could be seen even today with so much help of techno digital recordings and acoustic innovations.

    So, here he comes up with the first ever yoodelling in Indian Cine music in 1950 with “Aati hai yaad humko january february”, encouraged by none other than his first true admirer and father of music direction in modern indian cinema-Khemchand Prakash. The records of Jimmy Rodgers which had inspired the 21 year old lad now started getting overshadowed slowly but surely over the time. So was the perfection Kishore achieved in this falsetto breaking head voice that after one of his performances in Wembley Stadium much later, the British media listening to “Main hoon jhumroo” declared that – this Mr. Kumar can yoodel better than even Jimmy Rodgers”!!! History takes a turn :).. Who would believe that it was indeed JR, whose yoodelling had once inspired Kishore.

    So, again he comes up and makes the first and only “hichki”(hiccup) song in Hindi in 1957- “Aaj na jaane pagal manwa”.. He hiccupped 24 times in that song with four hiccups at a stretch at a time and never missing a note.. And added a topping on the ice cream with a superb yoodelling towards the end.

    There he goes stunning the senior MD Salil Chwodhury twice in Half Ticket in 1962. Once, by singing a song with two different voices- one of a child and one of a man- “Are waah re mere maalik” and again with another bivocal song -the classic- “Aake seedhi lagi”. Indeed surprising though is that Kishore had already done a bivocal song(perhaps first ever in Hindi movies) around 10 years back! Only C Ramchandra would have known the genius of that singer when in 1952, Kishore effortlessly sang a bi-vocal “Charandas ko peene ki jo adat” with singing and acting.

    What Ms Carey started perfectionizing whistling notes in the 80s, this Khandwa genius-just casually and with hardly anyone’s notice, did that stunt in 1967 at the age of 42, in Sadhu aur Shaitaan.

    And add to that the first wooing and purely sensual rain song in Hindi movies- “ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si” to the best ever sensual song in Hindi film history- “roop tera mastana”, Kishore held a sexuality in his voice without going vulgar. He simply carried an awed passion and seduction which swayed the nation with “Dil kya kare jab kisise” or “Hothon pe jaan chali aayegi” much later.

    And his falsettos-of course! At the age of 51, this guy could effortlessly render a romantic song fully in his falsetto register(coming out of his baritonal structure)- ‘Chhukar mere man ko”- only because the MD, Rajesh Roshan, wanted him to go softer. The same request he had obliged around 10 years back to Laxmikant Pyarelal, when the duo had wanted the same from him in the best ever song on life- “Yeh jeevan hai”… He did them time and time over again.. Not to forget the newcomer Bappi’s modified plagiarized song” Dil se mile hai dil”, which he sang in three different falsettos … And it was he who pressurized Bappi to change the tune of that song as initially it had sounded too similar to RD’s “Aese na mujhe tum dekho”..

    There he goes in his stage performances which the nation had never seen before. Forget harmoniums and standing in a corner of a stage and crooning, Kishore Kumar would sommersolt, shout, scream, mimic and entirely fire up the audience like none else. A performer unparallelled, he truely showed how singing can entertain rags to riches.

    Kishore kumar- the first and the only singing phenomenon- as Satyajit Ray had put him.

  36. 436
    Sudheer Says:

    Arghya ji,

    Yes, kishore was a phenomenon in hindi. But I don’t think kishore would have been able to attempt songs like yeh chaand sa roshan chehra, mohabbat zindabad, oh duniya ke rakhwaley etc. where not only modulations are required, but even high pitch voice is required, which in my view, kishore simply did not had that range to render such type of renditions. Nothing much to take offense on this, kishore was good in the “type of songs” he rendered and in my view most of the songs of kishore belong to that particular type in which he was comfortable to render. Most of the compositions were made in such a manner so as to enable kishore to sing the songs. In fact, I simply love kishore for the type of songs he rendered. Rafi on the other hand had a wide range of voice which could attempt and bring beauty to various genres which kishore could not attempt. The yodelling genre was first attempted by rafi in hindi and thinking that it is a dilution from pure music, rafi had shifted from it and the result we know was the golden era of hindi playaback singing of 50’s and 60’s. I am sure, kishores every song could have been rendered by rafi and on the contrary, many of rafi songs could not have been even attempted by kishore. It is just because kishore did not have that wider range of voice which is necessary to render high pitch songs, which was possessed by rafi and by the way this wider range of voice was even possessed by ghantasala, though I do not want to compare ghantasala and kishore kumar here.

    Also, since it is a column on devotional songs, I could not think kishore can create any patch on rafi in this particular genre, as rafi was way ahead of kishore, as you yourself put it in the last para of your article.

  37. 437
    Surajit Bose Says:

    Sudheer,

    Fair point. Yes, Kishore would not have been able to match Rafi in songs like “Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra” or “Hum bekhudi mein tum ko” or “O Duniya ke rakhwaale”.

    Using that logic, even Rafi would not have been able to match Kishore in songs like “Jeevan ke safar mein rahi” or “Dukhi mann mere” or “Aa chal ke tujhe” or “Aake seedhi lagi dil pe”.

    Sorry, I disagree about Rafi’s yodelling capabilities. When you yodel, you basically are crossing registers, from full voice to
    falsetto. For this yodel to really have the “popping” effect, you need a particular type of voice, with a decent amount of separation between registers. Kishore was (extremely) successful with this; my
    guess is that Rafi as a tenor, had a smoother “break” between registers and would not be as successful.

    It’s funny how you say that every song of Kishore’s can be rendered by Rafi, and not vice versa. Nothing can be farther from the truth. There is no way Rafi could’ve yodelled the way Kishore has done, and Rafi couldn’t have sung the title song in “Jhumroo”, or many such songs.

    Let me talk about their singing highlighting two aspects.

    Firstly, most lay-Rafi-fans (Rafi fans without the knowledge or grounding in Indian Classical Music) jump to the conclusion that Rafi is a superior singer to Kishore, without elaborating, in a technically meaningful way, how they came to that conclusion.

    Their “proof” being the large number of “classical” songs that Rafi has sung, as compared to Kishore.

    Nobody talks anything about “how well” Rafi has sung those classical songs. I reiterate that in the “classical” songs that were really challenging (like “kuhu kuhu boley koyaliya” or “jhananan jhan jhananan jhan” – from “Rani Roopmati” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suZPPgnsKhc , or “Baat chalat nayee rang dari” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoQJIy8o9Qc ), Rafi was very pedestrian in rendering them. Rafi could barely navigate taans, even straightforward ones. And the ones that he rendered decently (“Madhuban mein radhika”, “Man re tu kahe”) didn’t really contain any challenging passages to be classified as “classical songs”.

    You cannot say, on one hand, that Rafi was a better singer than Kishore because he rendered classical songs while Kishore did not, and on the other hand, plead, when someone points out obvious flaws in his classical renditions, that it’s unfair to judge Rafi’s classical renditions based on “absolute classical terms”. You cannot have it both ways.

    Also, I am amused by Rafi fans who harp on his capabilities in singing “high pitched” songs. Because it’s convenient to forget that Rafi has very few songs that he rendered ably in the lower registers. Why should the ability to sing in the high pitch be considered any superior to the ability to sing in the lower pitch. High-pitched or low-pitched is a factor of the voice, and has nothing to do with actual talent.

    Here is one song by Rafi that was set to a low register, and he was distinctly uncomfortable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PKNh4ceh14

    I will say that Kishore at least had the sense to stay away from classical songs instead of mangling them the way Rafi does.

    You want to hear classical film songs that were really good, even in “absolute classical terms” ? Look no further than the Mangeshkar sisters. Here are a couple of good ones:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4-K7vbU0rM&feature=PlayList&p=ECA9C6C07543DEF1&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=4 in Jaijaivanti.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxAxLGrJ-Ac in Bhoop/Deshkar.

    Secondly, I’ll say this about their contributions to music. If Rafi hadn’t ventured into music, the Hindi film musical universe would’ve been much poorer, for his songs (not classical songs, just film songs) wouldn’t have been replicated with the same effect and expression that he was known for.

    But if Kishore had not been around, not only would the musical universe been poorer (for the same reasons as Rafi), but it would have been smaller too, for an entire genre of film songs – comedy, fun & frolic – would’ve been absent.

    You can be a Rafi fan for many reasons – and there are many – but not based on his classical songs, or because he is technically superior (neither of which can be proven).

    When you assess a singer technically, you look at various factors. They are:

    Sur – most basic requirement
    Voice quality
    Vocal range – (number of notes that the meat of their voice covers)
    Voice modulation
    Expression

    Once these have all been met successfully, we can call upon higher technical skills like the ability to render “classical” songs that involve murkis, taans, sargams etc. This is the realm where Lata and Asha reside.

    Going by that list, there is no concrete evidence that Rafi is technically superior to Kishore. Both excel in all the basic categories.

    I agree that Rafi has more beautiful compositions to his name (and a fair amount of the credit should go to the outstanding MDs who ruled during his time – Naushad, OPN, SDB, SJ etc.), but that is not sufficient “evidence” to claim that he was a “better” singer than Kishore.

    “Greater” and “better” are two mutually exclusive attributes, and one can be one without being the other. I can agree that Rafi was a “greater” singer than Kishore, but disagree with the claims about him being a “better” singer.

  38. 438
    Kishorefan Says:

    Arghya ji,

    A great post – keep it up

    Sudheer bhai,

    Thanks for your post. Your points are well noted. In the other blog, Just your another friend Mr. Dhaniram had come and has given some useful illustrations and great examples and enlightened us for which we are very grateful. Now, We are very very happy to see your beautiful post on rafi and his songs.

    Jara soch ke baat kiya karo – rafi fans ji.

    Arghya ji was talking about experimentation in hindi playback singing. Just seeing one para on kishore kumar and suddenly putting up a post on rafi and his songs and saying all blah blah blah. Kindly please have a look at Arghya ji’s post which is so dignified and no where has any comparison feature with any singer or issue. Not only this para, even other music lovers in this thread of kishore kumar have not resorted to such biased comparisons on their own. Comparisons come only when biased fans (mainly of rafi) just start claiming that rafi was that and that and start talking about other singers. Even if they do not specifically discuss about other singers, they state in their posts, no singer can sing this song of rafi and blah blah blah like Mr. Dhaniram has just stated in the other blog about chal ud ja re panchi – for rafi stating that it was much much better than the ghantasala version (which is in fact the other way) and he has received what he has to receive from music lovers. Mr. dhaniram is not to be heard or seen after the responses he received for his post. I request you kindly to stop singing rafi naam in a biased way, otherwise same thing or response may happen to you as well.

    Rafi was great, so kishore was as well great. This is the fact of HFM and no body can dispute or change this. Remember always, it was kishore who had dethroned rafi and I would not like to say much, as we have respect for all great singers.

  39. 439
    Anil Says:

    Arghya,
    I have no intention to contest the content or the logical conclusion of your post (#433). Infact I agree with you on many points. However I have to point out some not-so-true and/or exaggerated stuff that you mentioned as support to your claims.
    *The records of Jimmy Rodgers which had inspired the 21 year old lad now started getting overshadowed slowly but surely over the time. So was the perfection Kishore achieved in this falsetto breaking head voice that after one of his performances in Wembley Stadium much later, the British media listening to “Main hoon jhumroo” declared that – this Mr. Kumar can yoodel better than even Jimmy Rodgers”!!! History takes a turn .. Who would believe that it was indeed JR, whose yoodelling had once inspired Kishore.*
    I wouldn’t take anyone who declared this (if he/she did it) seriously. There were/are many Western vocalists who are better equipped than Kishore when it comes to yodelling. This is not to say that KK’s yodelling is not good, actually he was one of the better ones, none of the folks who tried his ‘jhumroo..’ or other such songs could do it quite as well (though I have listened to some fairly decent versions of KK’s yodelling songs). I wouldn’t also buy your “KK took over the yodelling baton from JR” theory. There is only a very miniscule portion of the Western audience who have actually heard KK (or any other Indian singer for that matter). For them there are many yodellers, some came before JR, some during his time and some after him and KK is not one of them. I have to reiterate here that this is not to belittle KK in any manner; his yodelling was class act. The contrast between his modal voice (deep and rough) and the falsetto voice (when he yodelled) made his yodelling especially catchy, something we miss in Sonu’s yodelling.
    *And his falsettos-of course! At the age of 51, this guy could effortlessly render a romantic song fully in his falsetto register(coming out of his baritonal structure)- ‘Chhukar mere man ko”- only because the MD, Rajesh Roshan, wanted him to go softer. The same request he had obliged around 10 years back to Laxmikant Pyarelal, when the duo had wanted the same from him in the best ever song on life- “Yeh jeevan hai”…*
    Neither ‘chukkar mere man..’ or ‘yeh jeevan hai..’ has been sung in falsetto register. False voice? yes, partly; but not falsetto register. For KK, the falsetto register would start from about c4 (since his modal register extends upto e4/f4). Both these cases are good examples of voice modulations but are not exactly falsetto singing (though he goes into falsetto in some parts of ‘chukkar mere man…’). Rafi’s ‘ooparwala jaankar anjaan..’ and ‘mere duniya…’ are some other songs in HFM were the singer employs majorly head voice to give it a soft feel. In the song “Jaanu meri jaan..” KK does employ falsetto singing during that ‘hei…….’ alaap. He also sings in falsetto in many of his yodelling songs (during the transition from chest voice to the yodelling- which itself is falsetto- voice).
    *What Ms Carey started perfectionizing whistling notes in the 80s, this Khandwa genius-just casually and with hardly anyone’s notice, did that stunt in 1967 at the age of 42, in Sadhu aur Shaitaan*
    Mariah is not the first one to sing/sound in whistle registers. Mariah herself was highly influenced by a singer named Minnie Ripertone. There were/ are several lesser known singers who sang/sing in whistle register. Speaking of KK’s effort, I don’t take it for whistle register singing. To me it sounded as if he is inhaling air in. The voice (for its frequency) is pretty much in the whistle register, but is it ‘singing’? However I have to say KK’s effort is pretty ‘experimental’ and very very funny.

  40. 440
    Khan Says:

    Surajit Bose sahab, 435,

    Your all points are correct. I was just mentioning your points in the other thread in one of my posts. Your following para – I fully agree with them and are correct.

    “You can be a Rafi fan for many reasons – and there are many – but not based on his classical songs, or because he is technically superior (neither of which can be proven).

    When you assess a singer technically, you look at various factors. They are:

    Sur – most basic requirement
    Voice quality
    Vocal range – (number of notes that the meat of their voice covers)
    Voice modulation
    Expression

    Once these have all been met successfully, we can call upon higher technical skills like the ability to render “classical” songs that involve murkis, taans, sargams etc.”

    I will add a little more to the last line i.e sargams etc. keeping in the complete attributes of the particular rag, as each of the different rags require change in voice techniques and deliverances going by musical terms. To achieve this gifted voice is a must.

    Yes, the above qualities are must for a voice which can be called “perfect” . I was just mentioning about ghantasala sahab, the telugu singer in the other thread in this regard in reply to some rafians claims about rafi sahab’s voice range.

    Technically going, rafi sahab was basically fine, and nothing more than that. I also do not see much weight on rafi sahab’s fans claims about rafi sahabs classical skills ?

  41. 441
    Surajit Bose Says:

    Khan Sahab,

    Thanks. Also read your post from the other thread.

    Yes, Man re is a great song by Rafi. It’s one of my favourite compositions and renditions.

    Very few people know that both the tune and verse of Man re
    was inspired by an old bandish in Yaman Kalyan which goes something like this:

    manA tu kAhe nA dheer dharat ab
    dheer dhare sab kA raj sudharat

    jAke sar RaghunAth virAjat
    wAke sab hi kA raj sAdhat
    Tulsidasa, RaghunAth krupA teN vighana sab Tarat

    Roshan distilled the essence from this bandish and creatively
    extended it for his alltime classic. A great example of what
    an original mind, well-educated in classical music, can achieve.

    I also love Rafi’s Kabhi Khud Pe from Hum Dono. Great rendition for Jaidev.

    However, since when the comparision of Rafi and Kishore comes up, most people, dare I say most Rafi fans, focus on the level of difficulty as a barometer to rate the abilities of the singers, let me dwell on that a little bit.

    The level of difficulty displayed is a perfectly valid canon by which to evaluate a singer (obviously, once we have made sure that there are no glaring mistakes on the Sur and Taal). But it is not the only one nor is it the most important, IMO of course. Some of us place a higher premium on originality (paradoxically, it is not easy, originality).

    That is why we reward Kishore – not because he was capable
    of great feats of swara-acrobatics (to be sure, he wasn’t, but neither was Rafi), or because had a sweeping range over all the octaves (he didn’t, and neither did Rafi), but because in the realm of musical expression, he was supremely original. And he was original while not sacrificing a whit on the technical front – be it sur, taal, range of voice, voice control and voice modulation etc.

    The superlative voice control he exhibits in songs like “Husn Bhi Hai udhAas”, “Jagmag jagmag karta nikla”, or even his so-called “silly songs” (title song of Jhumroo, for eg.), while giving exquisite expression, is nothing to be sneezed at.

    I always ask this question to music fans who always look at the level of difficulty to rate singers.

    Is there any intrinsic merit in making things difficult just for the
    heck of it?

    In music, Kishore Kumar could do the kind of magic beyond the
    pale of even the most formidable technicians. Songs like “Chingari Koi Bhadke”, “Kuch to log kahenge” are unreplicable (sic). Like many of his gems, these are ‘simple` tunes made immortal by sheer weight of expression, by a man who could be profound without trying hard.

    It was never the kind of delivery that beckoned, “I’m difficult and I beg of you to take notice.” And yet, they are not at all easy, even technically.

    Kishore’s ability to smoothly switch across registers and notes within a song is very rare. His singing is so smooth that all the artistry is overlooked. It’s only when we attempt to duplicate them that we realize the many, seemingly simple, ways he elevated the song.

    For all the alleged ‘simplicity` of Kishore’s songs, I haven’t yet come
    across a soul around who can re-create them. I am not talking about merely duplicating the tune swara for swara – even Suresh Wadkar can do that!

    In summary, both Rafi and Kishore were great singers (among others). I like Kishore more than Rafi because, all things being equal, I give greater weight to originality.

    There are things which Rafi can do, which Kishore cannot. And vice versa too. Their approach to music and singing is very different. It’s like comparing Sunil Gavaskar to Viv Richards.

  42. 442
    Anil Says:

    Surajit,
    Are you sure Rafi V Kishore is akin to Gavaskar V Richards? Going by your various posts on the two singers, it should be more like S.S.Das (remember the Indian opener who ‘appeared to be technically very good’?) V Richards.

  43. 443
    Surajit Bose Says:

    Anil @ 440,

    You are reading too literally into my analogy.

    What I meant to say was that Rafi’s approach to singing was akin to Gavaskar’s approach to batting: orthodox approach to batting, playing by the rules, adhering to the right technique, unrelenting dedication and focus etc.

    Kishore was more like Richards in that he cared a fig about rules and technique, and he created his own rules and shots. For eg., in those days, playing across the line was considered a strict no-no and was frowned upon by connoisseurs.

    Another inference from the analogy was that Rafi’s art was cultivated while Kishore was a natural.

    What is that about S.S.Das ? I only criticized Rafi on his classical renditions. I never said he was technically weak otherwise.

  44. 444
    Paramjeet Says:

    Arghyaji,
    Bahut hi achha likha hai apne. Bina kisi tulna kiye hue, guruji ke baare mein.
    Khan sahab aur Surjit sahab,

    Aap logon ke upar to baat karna bhi humare jaise logon ke liye tauheen hai, khaas kar ke tab jab humko shastriya sangeet ka charcha chhode aaj kareeb 10 saal ho gaye hai. Aap jaise logon ko padhne ke liye hi hum kabhi kabhar aa jaate hai yahan pem aur Kishorefan,Prabhanjanji, Satyanshji aur Arghyaji jaise sachche logon ki baat samajhne ke liye. Achche insaan hai aap sab log, uparwala aaplogon ko khush rakhe hamesha.

    Koi naya lekh nahi aa raha is forum mein Kishoreji ke upar yeh bahut dukh ki baat hai. Moderatorji se sadar nivedan hai is cheez ko zara dhyaan de. Humein aur achche lekh ki zaroorat hai yahan pe. Arghyaji, Satyanshji jaise log yahan pe pratinidhitva kam kar diye hai kuchh bahar ke logon ke murkhta ke wajah se, yeh bahut dukh ki baat hai. Unhe phir se bulaiye is forum ko sundar karne ke liye.

    Guruji ka ek gaana main bahut sun raha hoon kuchh dino se, aap logon se share karna chahta hoon yahan pe:

    ‘ Tere liye maine sabko chhoda, tu hi chhod ke chal di/ Janam maran ke saath ka wada kaise chhod ke chal di’.

    Ek gumnaam sangeetkar Shyamal Mitra ka banaya hua geet, Indeevarji ke likhe hue bol aur Kishoreji ka gaaya hua bhari, gehra aur low yeh gaana sahi mein ek alpa charchit madhur gaanon mein se hai.

  45. 445
    common_man Says:

    I love these posts. Always very amusing and get a good chuckle from me 😀

    “For all the alleged ’simplicity` of Kishore’s songs, I haven’t yet come across a soul around who can re-create them. I am not talking about merely duplicating the tune swara for swara – even Suresh Wadkar can do that!”

    ROFL I wish the Ghantasala fans would understand this simple concept 😀

    “I like Kishore more than Rafi because, all things being equal, I give greater weight to originality.”

    Wasn’t Kishore Kumar the one who started out by copying KL Saigal? 🙂 Mohammed Rafi had a different style than KL Saigal when he started out in the industry.

    Rafi’s voice & expression were quite original and I’ve never seen anyone completely emulate them 🙂

    Of course…I KNOW that’s not what you were referring to…you are talking about Kishore’s antics i.e. adding humming before a song, yodelling, or antics like in Padosan. I can respect that…but it is far from enough to compensate from Rafi’s approach to singing or his own intrinsic originality.

    And by the way..all things weren’t equal 😀

    “There are things which Rafi can do, which Kishore cannot. And vice versa too.”

    What Rafi could do but Kishore could not, was more valuable, than the vice versa. Rafi was so talented that for individual syllables he could put the right emotions & modulate his voice just right. This is a level of detail that Kishore’s “spontaneous” showed only occasionally.

    “It’s like comparing Sunil Gavaskar to Viv Richards.”

    Rafi was Rafi. Incomparable. We don’t need to use analogies for him to someone else. 🙂

    With all due respect to you, you’re just rationalizing. It’s all good. In the past I’ve seen you take Kishore’s failure to express emotion at a given time as a charming excuse for integrity hahaha! To each his own 😀

    You have fun listening to this “original” “Aakhe Seedhe Lagi Dil Pe”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BQhtqWAhrY

    whereas I’ll listen to to Rafi’s “Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara” where for individual syllables he puts profound emotions & modulations. It’s not “hard” for the sake of being hard. It’s supreme, unparalled expression 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM9n7omT1yE

  46. 446
    Lt Col Javed Sayyed Says:

    Dear All Music lovers,
    Its sad to note the infighting amongst you all. Why belittle an acknowledged singer for whatever selfish motives-whether love for ones own fav? Its highly deplorable to see people with suspect musical inclinations to comment on rafi sahabs talent, range, low notes singing, yodelling etc etc. Have you all become god or surpassed him too to write such comments? KK too had tremendous respect for rafi sahab. See their duets, their camarederie, etc. I had witnessed a KK concert starting with a 2 min silence for rafi in a stadium in pune-with the background instrumental of “Jahan daal daal par sone ki chidiya karti hai basera…” after rafis demise. And here are some overtly zealous people trying their hands at adversely commenting on the grtness of Rafi sahab.
    Pl refrain from such acts & bring out the goodness of the songs of the singers-geniuses in their own right & share them with all. Pl avoid adverse comments.

  47. 447
    Surajit Bose Says:

    @common_man 443,

    Glad that you found my post worth a chuckle. Must have brightened your day.

    Now, it would be even better if you can delve into some details to explain your points.

    Which are the things that are not equal ? Is it on the sur or taal or the taans or meends ? Is it the low pitch or high pitch ? Is it the voice modulation ? Is it the expression ? Is it the “originality” ?

    Yes, I enjoy the originality of “Aake seedhi lagi dil pe” more than the pedestrian “Salamat rahe dostana”. I enjoy the original “Cheel cheel chillake” and the original “Mere bhole balam”.

    It’s one thing if you like Rafi more than KK. It’s also perfectly acceptable if you think Rafi got the much more quality songs. But if you make a claim that Rafi is the “better” singer, you might do better to substantiate your claims if you explain *why* that is so.

    You can elaborate on the most important factors – sur, taal, modulation, expression, originality (or rather, Rafi’s intrinsic originality). KK has both intrinsic and extrinsic originality.

  48. 448
    Madhavi Says:

    Surajit,

    Just read your very informative posts. Don’t really visit this site regularly and certainly don’t have the musical expertise to enter the debate, but it was very useful for me to read the logic of your argument. It requires time and effort to make a rational reasoned argument which often feels wasted in the face of heated insistence or assertions of people that one should leave such topics aside. As you yourself said, it does not prove or disprove who is greater, but sometimes, even over this exhausting debate, there are posts that provide information, some wonderful insights into a singer and a shared pleasure about appreciating a singer and your post just did that.

  49. 449
    Madhavi Says:

    Arghya,

    A very interesting article, thank you.

  50. 450
    retrovert Says:

    I gainsaid your claims on equality of the two greats. For a layman who does not listen to music with a purpose of evaluating the ability of a singer, both Kishore and Rafi sound equal. And I am usually a layman in that sense. But as a student of hindustani classical music, I have enough cognition to analyze the two singers on the limited parameters you have outlined. Allow me to rationalize point by point –

    Let me start with the basic – the voice texture : Both Kishore and Rafi had a fine voice texture. No comparison. This parameter is nothing more than an individual preference. If you ask me my own predilection, it is Rafi’s voice.

    Sur-taal – It’s a crime to discuss sur-tal as a parameter when we are talking about two greats. Needless to say, both were extremely sureelas. They would not have survived the industry going by the noetic standards of the music directors of the golden era.

    Meend – Here, Rafi was a master. Observe the meends in the very light “Jungle mein mor nacha” to the semi classical “Main nigahen tere chehre se” to the classical “Ek shehanshah ne banvaake” – flawless, impeccable rendering of the meends. I am not aware of an equivalent level of meend exhibition on any of Kishore’s songs.

    Taan – You must observe the taan in “Madhuban mein radhika”. Taan is an understatement – he is rendering gamak with vakra swaras.Please enlighten me with a matching rendition of Kishore.

    Sthan, Murki, Khatka – Give special attention to the Sthan for the alaap Rafi sings “Ajhun aaye balma”. Listen to the murkiyan and khatka in the antaras. Flawless again. Is it raag pilu? In fact, Rafi was a master of murkis and khatkas – to give you a couple of examples, try to appreciate the murkis in “guzre hai aaj ishq mein” ,”taqdeer ka fasana” – you will be treated to some exemplary stuff.

    Now coming to the range – Do I really need to compare here? It is very obvious. Rafi could probably touch the Ma on the lower octave and maybe Dha,Ni on the higher octave. Everything between was a cakewalk for him. I’m sure you have listened to “O duniya ke rakhwale”. In one of the stage shows where he sang live ( I am mentioning “live” since many artists today lip-sync on stage), he took “O Duniya ke rakhwale” to a scale higher than the original. I must admit – I do not know Kishore touching a note more than the highest note in the antara of “Mere naina sawana bhado” in any other song. Please let me know if you know sone songs here.

    When we talk of expressions, it is better when we substantiate with the help of rasas/bhavas – Let me give you a couple of examples for each rasa (for it will take a few months to complete the list) – I will not try to explain these since the expressions are very well expressed by Rafi.

    Bhakti – This is already discussed in the main article here – A mention of “Man tarpat hari darshan” will suffice. Try this if you want bhakti rasa with viraha – “Duniya na bhaaye mohe”

    Karuna – “O door ke musafir”, “Bhari duniya mein aakhir”, “Toote hue khwabon ne” – These songs tug at the heart strings. Rendered with perfect expressions.

    Veer – “Kar chale hum fida” – The be all and end all of heroic patriotism. Not many Indians can hold back tears of patriotism while listening to this song.

    Vibhatsa – disgust – Check out this gem from Pyaasa – “Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai”.

    Vichitra/adbhuta – “Tareef karu kya uski”, “Yeh dil tum bin kahin”

    Bhayanaka – “Subah na aayee Shaam na aayee” – The horror of pain and death.

    Hasya – “Sar jo tera chakaraye”, “Bade miyan deewane”. Take note that Rafi Sahab not only sang for heroes, but also to comedians like Johny Walker and Mehmood. And the ones for Shammi Kapoor- “Yahoo!”, “Suku Suku”.

    Virah – “Din dhal jaaye haaye”, “Hum tumse juda hoke”

    Vairagya – “Aaj purani rahon se”, “Na aadmi ka koi bharosa”,

    Krodh – “Guzre hai aaj ishq mein”, “Zindabad zindabad ae mohabbat”

    Shringar – Love/Lust – The list can be endless here. To name just a few – “Deewana hua badal”, “Jaan-e-bahaar husn tera”, “Baahosh-o-hawaas mein deewana”, “Aaja re aa zaraa”, “Ye aankhen uff yumma”, “Abhi na jao chhodkar”. There are innumerable ghazals based on Shringar – I’ll keep t for another day due to lack of time.

    Shanta – Tranquility – “Tumse kahu ek baat paro si”, “Tere mere sapne”

    Vatsalya – “Main gaun tum so jao”, “Aaj kal mein dhal gaya”, “Babul ki duayen”

    When I look for suitably expressed rasas from Kishore, honestly, the ones which came to my mind dont really match upto the list above.

    Originality – Rafi had his own voice, own style, own nuances – everything about his singing was original. His voice and style till today remains unique. Kishore was an original too. I really dont understand what do you mean when you talk about extrensic originality. Kishore, by person was an eccentric genius, a maverick of sorts and it showed in his acting, singing and direction. So, how does it make him more original?

    After trying to explain the intricacies of music to people, I have concluded that Kishore is liked more by the masses (probably because he was the voice of the two greatest superstars – Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bacchan). Rafi is the choice of the classes. From purely singing point of view, to me, Rafi is the greatest. Let’s leave it at that.

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