The Versatile Genius
Kishore produced, directed, acted in and composed the music for Jhumroo, an enormous achievement. He then made an uncharacteristically serious film on the relationship between a father and his dumb son – ‘Door Gagan ki Chhaon mein’. This 1964 film that Kishore directed, produced, scripted and scored music for was a sensitive offbeat drama about [...]
Kishore produced, directed, acted in and composed the music for Jhumroo, an enormous achievement. He then made an uncharacteristically serious film on the relationship between a father and his dumb son – ‘Door Gagan ki Chhaon mein’. This 1964 film that Kishore directed, produced, scripted and scored music for was a sensitive offbeat drama about a war hero Shankar (Kishore Kumar) who returns home from battle to find that his family has perished in a fatal fire. Only his young son (played by his real life son – Amit) has survived. The film proceeds to sensitively delineate the father’s efforts to draw his shell-shocked son out of his self-imposed exile. This film was a classic in the genre of war movies, and preceded a spate of Vietnam war inspired films of Hollywood. Critics and fans were astounded by the film which had the unstoppable funster in a serious introspective, brilliantly sensitive portrayal. ‘Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein’ went on to win many national and international awards. Its critical success was perhaps what motivated the making of ‘Door Ka Rahi’, another Kishore creation that throws up touches of stylistic tranquility of ‘Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein’. The heightened expectations of his fans, of Kishore as a director, were never ever fulfilled by his other films – ‘Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi’ (1978) ‘Zindagi’ (1981) or ‘Door Wadiyon Mein’ (1982)
The last was another surprise from the singing, dancing vocal comic – a song-less film.
The veteran composer, Salil Chowdhury remembers this astonishing ability to do the unexpected, while recounting an incident related to the recording of ‘Aake seedhi lagi‘ for Half Ticket. Lata Mangeshkar was unable to come for the recording. The ever-resourceful Kishore suggested that he would do both the male and female voice. Salil Chowdhury very nearly brushed it off as a prank, but Kishore was serious. And we have the humorous and absolutely astonishing song sung in both octaves by that mad, versatile, committed artiste – Kishore.
His childlike, guileless personality won him the friendship and admiration of friends and colleagues as testimonials in this anthology prove.
The R.D. Burman follower, composer Bappi Lahiri, who looked upon Kishore Kumar, as his mentor says, ‘I wouldn’t be here but for him. From ‘Chalte Chalte’ to my last song, he sang ninety percent of my compositions.
His death is a great personal loss to me, but a greater professional loss. Now, I’ll have to work harder to put in the fifty percent which he used to add’. And Bappi Lahiri must really know, for it was for him that Kishore Kumar recorded his last song on October 12, 1987, a day before he died.
Kishore Kumar’s ardent desire in his last days was to return to his native Khandwa, but that was not to be. His sudden death took even him and many others by surprise. R.D.Burman was left bereft when Kishoreda passed away suddenly. ‘When Kishore was alive, it was so easy. Like Rafi and Mukesh he had a style of his own. In a way he was one up on the others because he could pick a tune and make it completely his own, to such an extent that you’d feel no one but he could ever sing it. Kishore Kumar’s demise left a void that imitators have failed to fill. Composers were left holding tunes that they had composed only for Kishore and only Kishore could have sung.
Like Lata puts it – HE WAS DEFINITELY A SAMPOORNA KALAKAR (THE COMPLETE ARTIST) HE KNEW EVERYTHING. I CALL HIM INDIA’S DANNY KAYE, PRODUCER, ACTOR, DIRECTOR, SINGER………….
(source:Compiled from the booklet published by The Gramaphone Company of India Ltd.)