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The Legend That Was Kishore Kumar

by Naresh Goyal Sunday, July 4, 1999 VETERAN actor and renowned playback singer of Hindi movies,Kishore Kumar, once sang: ” beech raah mein dilbar, bichhad jayen kahin hum agar, aur sooni si lagey tumhen, jeewan ki yeh dagar, hum laut aayenge, tum yoon hi bulaate rehna…” However, he never came back to fulfill his promise […]

by Naresh Goyal
Sunday, July 4, 1999
VETERAN actor and renowned playback singer of Hindi movies,Kishore Kumar, once sang:

” beech raah mein dilbar, bichhad jayen kahin hum agar, aur sooni si lagey tumhen, jeewan ki yeh dagar, hum laut aayenge, tum yoon hi bulaate
rehna…”

However, he never came back to fulfill his promise after he bade goodbye to the millions of his listeners on October 13, 1987.

Born in Khandwa, a town of Madhya Pradesh, his father Kunj Bihari Ganguli was a renowned advocate of the area. Kishore was one of three sons the other two being Ashok Kumar and Anup Kumar. Incidentally all three brothers entered Bollywood and carved out a niche for themselves. Of the three, the eldest Ashok Kumar was the first one to enter the films. Then the youngest, Anup, followed and thereafter, the legendary Kishore came to Bombay (now Mumbai). The three brothers together made a movie Chalti ka naam gaadi that brought them name and fame.

Kishore made his debut as a playback singer with the song Shaadi qismat ki baat hai and thereafter, he never looked back. However, as an actor he earned laurels in a Bengali film, Lako churi thi. The film broke all previous records and overnight Kishore Kumar became a hero. The music of this movie was composed by Hemant Kumar.

Kishore became famous for comedy and light, romantic songs. However, he did not lag behind in rendering his voice to many sad songs such as dukhi man mere, sun mera kehna and zindagi ik safar hai suhana. Kishore also sang romantic songs. It is a fact that Rajesh Khanna became a superstar because Kishore Kumar sang scintillating songs for the movies in which Rajesh Khanna starred such as Aradhana, Amar Prem, Mere Jeewan Saathi and Namak Haraam.

Owing to his arrogant behaviour, Kishore remained a controversial figure. He, however, lived a very romantic life. He got married four times. Kishore first married Reema Guha. The couple had a son, Amit Kumar. Kishore then married Madhubala, a noted heroine of the yesteryears. This marriage, too, didn’t last long and Kishore, for the third time married another actress Yogita Bali. Later he married noted actress, Leena Chandavarkar. Kishore had another son from this marriage. Interestingly, when Kishore married Madhubala she was on the verge of death. He loved Madhubala so much that after her demise, he got a marble grave built for her where he used to light a lamp every evening. It is also a fact that Kishore married Madhubala at her persistence. Kishore Kumar sang most of his evergreen sad songs after Madhubala’s death. It was again a coincidence that Kishore got married to Leena Chandavarkar at the time when she had lost her first husband and wanted to commit suicide.

Another interesting fact about Kishore, which perhaps nobody knows is that Kishore used to have a name plate in the name of Chhajju Ram outside his bungalow in Bombay. Whenever some stranger came to meet him, Kishore would often reply “Kishore ghar par nahin hain” (Kishore is not at home). He was very particular about the kind of people he met.

The memories of Kishore Kumar are countless. Once when he was going for a song recording, some notes of a new tune came to hi s mind and he narrated them to his car driver and asked him to remember them. (Kishore at that time had nothing to record these notes). After the recording, when the driver could not recall those notes, Kishore gave the driver a severe beating, then sought an apology from him. Kishore then himself drove the car home, taking the driver in the rear seat. In the words of his elder brother Ashok Kumar, “whenever Kishore saw me, he used to hide himself
behind a sofa and then retort: Kishore ghar par nahin hai jee!” However, Ashok Kumar knew very well about Kishore’s mischief and would catch Kishore by his neck and ask him to sing a song.

(Courtesy:Sajjad Qadar)

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