Life is a lovely Journey
By O.P. Bhagat Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, Yahan kal kya hoga kisne jana… KISHORE KUMAR reached his journey’s end 11 years back. With that was also gone the third side of the triangle he formed Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh. “Big Three” would be a better description. For, after Saigal, Pankaj Mullick and Surender, no […]
By O.P. Bhagat
Zindagi ek safar hai suhana,
Yahan kal kya hoga kisne jana…
KISHORE KUMAR reached his journey’s end 11 years back. With that was also gone the third side of the triangle he formed Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh. “Big Three” would be a better description. For, after Saigal, Pankaj Mullick and Surender, no (male) singer ruled the hearts of Hindi film song lovers as did this trio. Rafi was essentially a singer. So was Mukesh. But Kishore was a singer,actor, director and composer, rolled into one. His was also a comic spirit, both on the screen and off it. He even indulged in clowning. But a clown is not all laughter. There is a pang in his heart, a sob in his throat or a tear in his eye. If Kishore could rattle off Main hoon jhumroo…, he could also chant movingly Door gagan ki chhaon mein…
The latter is the theme song of one of the movies he made. In it he was a different Kishore Kumar. One wonders whether his clowning — some called it eccentricity — was a mask. Or was it a facet of his personality, a part that was must to make up the whole? Everybody is more complex than he or she seems. Kishore always began his concerts with some antics. Maybe the funny and naughty boy in him stayed on there. At certain moments he came to the fore, and Kishore could not restrain or repress him. Hence his puckish behaviour.But he could be a delightful comedian too. “Padosan” has more than one comic characters. As the here’s pal Kishore plays a secondary role. But he is the soul of the comedy that the film is. Bombay lured him from the Madhya Pradesh town of Khandwa. He spent nearly four decades there. He acted and sang and also romanced there. In Juhu he built a house which he, after his mother, named Gauri Kunj. And yet he desired to return to his home town to live his last years there. But Bombay would not spare him. So he wished that his last rites be performed in the town where he had lived his early years.
Kishore acted in numerous films. In some he did very well indeed. But he will be remembered more for the songs he sang in these and many other movies.He lent his singing voice to several stars. Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan are just three of them. They have been top heroes. But it has yet to be assessed how much of their success they owed to the playback singer. Kishore’s songs in “Jewel Thief”, “Kati Patang”, “Amar Prem”, “Sharmilee” and “Aradhana” are among the best Hindi songs. Take away the songs, and the films — all of them were hits — lose much of their charm or flavour.
We have had many new singers since Kishore’s death. Each has done well in his own way. But none of them equals the man who yodelled and sang with full-throated ease. Kishore’s songs delighted millions. They delight millions even today.