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.


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!

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468 Blog Comments to “The Divine Voice of Devotional Kishore”

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  1. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    Let us examine how this “debate” has played out so far.

    First we have a rather informative and well presented article by Arghyaji in homage to Kishore’s abilities as a devotional singer. In jumps someone saying Kishore lacks Hindustani classical technique, specifically alaps and taans, to which Arghyaji offers a spirited response premised on musical facts.

    Fast forward to several others jumping into the fray, myself among them, taking exception to the claim that Kishore lacks technical abilities, and buttressing our argument with examples. The response to that is, well, a song’s classical merit is determined not by its manodharma and its subtle pakads, but by the sheer number of notes in it!

    Now into this admixture, jump in a few (whose proper domain ought to be the Rafi forums) whose sole intent appears to be do run down Kishore’s technical competence and range – one claims to be a student in western classical music, with some knowledge of carnatic (to both of which I offer rebuttal), and supplies youtube links (each surpassing the previous in incompetence) in an apparent bid to demonstrate how easily replicable Kishore’s “classical” melodies are – another unveils a litany of songs in the classical and devotional traditions released by a recording label (red herrings both), advancing the clinching proof that Kishore, by his absence in either MUST by extrapolation, be an inferior classical singer.

    What is the tenor of their arguments?

    Well, Rafi was trained by Bade Ghulam Ali, and so had greater range and voice culture.
    Well, Rafi could pronounce breakneck taans, and unctuous alaaps.
    Well, Rafi was called in to playback sing for 6 Kishore songs, and as late as in 1972.
    Well, Rafi didn’t engage in “tomfoolery” or “harkats”.

    Nowhere (with the partial exception of Anilji) is there any reference to Kishore’s VOICE, his nada quality, his control over prana, his tone, and his timber.

    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.

    How is one to satisfactorily argue in favor of Kishore’s unimpeachable technical musical sensibilty, and purity of tone and strength of nada, when his detractors refuse to meet us on that platform?

    If the argument against Kishore (and in favor of Rafi and Manna Dey) is that the latter two had more bandishes and thumris in their discography, rather than on voice quality, tone, purity of nada, timber, suppleness, projection, and breath control, all of which are true classical sine qua nons, and all of which Kishore possessed in ample measure, then I fear no constructive dialog is possible on the subject.

  2. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    The link contained a great deal more than “tomfoolery” that apparently competent critics (presumably such as yourself who are “around me”) rush to pigeonhole Kishore with , and goes some way towards demonstrating exactly what I had in mind when I claimed you suffered from “paucity of discrimination” – it was not intended by any stretch to be a “lyrical statement” unlike a Schubert Lied, rather a mildly sarcastic one.

  3. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    I notice you spend considerable effort filling up web pages copying and pasting song titles from CD’s in a bid to demonstrate you competence in classical and devotional idioms. As a conscientious Tamil Iyer with rather limited abilities in those two idioms, I must ask you is that the extent of you abilities?

  4. Srivas says:

    Anil ji, lalith ji & others

    Kuch to log kahenge is a nice song by kishore. The link provided by Mr. Lalith in post 41, is completely not similar to kishore’s rendering by any means. Even in the limited alaap kehana there is a difference as compared to kishore’s rendition vs the other singers rendition, provided in the link. It can easily be observed that the sruti part is on the higher side in voice of kishore in the song right from the beginning and accordingly, the song from amar prem sounds quite attractive. See, as I mentioned, very few singers like kishore can render songs in such attractive way, without being vastly trained in classical singing.

    By all chances and means, both of you (Lalit and Anil) are south indian musicians (like me) and we should always note the basics of hindusthani music and specialisations while discussing about hindi singers, rafi, kishore, manna dey, saigal or others. Mr. Surajit Bose, Mr. Khan etc. might be the right persons to throw more light in this regard. We cannot simply push the pros and cons of the depth factor of carnatic music into hindusthani compositions when discussing about hindi singers (as we are forced by habit by virtue of our background) as the two are two different corners. The depth of carnatic music is more than hindusthani ones, and I feel proud to say that our southern film music has produced incomparable talents ranging from the great ghantasala, the father of southern film music, ( & who incidentally had knowledge in hindushtani music as well ) & other greats like t m sounderarajan, k j yesudas, jayachandran, p b srinivas, p suseela, vani jairam and others & in classical arena ranging from Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, M S Subbulakshmi, Semmangudi and numerous others. Incidentally, most of the south based film singers were able to comparatively sing hindusthani renditions quite well in hindusthani style mixing carnatic style, with ghantasala sounding more attractive. Accordingly, in my view, we, while discussing about hindi singers and their songs tend to compare on similar lines (by virtue of our background in carnatic) i.e. to mix carnatic and hindusthani forces and in such cases there is scope to put a wrong foot in fully and correctly analysing the hindusthani force of music. The songs having composed in hindusthani effects have to be looked only from the view of hindusthani style renditions, so that better analysis can be made for the songs composed in that style. Purely carnatic experts (more so like us) may falter in analysing hindusthani compositions, if an effort is made to compare based on mixture of both carnatic and hindusthani styles.


    Kishore despite being associated with music directors and singers of hindusthani arena, does not sound like pure hindusthani vocalist but has a different special attraction ( you cannot find any flaw) , whereas mohd. rafi clearly sounds hindusthani in his renditions, man mora bawra, madhuban me radhika etc. Manna dey sounds hindusthani, lata & saigal sound hindusthani. But kishore songs has some attraction, I do not know, people simply listen to him and are fascinated, there is an attraction in his voice – one of the great god’s creation.

    post 37, Adarniya Paramjeet ji – Namaskar,

    kishore ji sachmuch acche singer hai, adarniya aap ne mere posts me mere views ko pada hoga, hum carnatic music aadmi hai, magar kishore or rafi ji ko like karte hai.

    Regarding observation on low notes, with my background, I say that it depends on the composition. For instance, to generalise, if the composition does not extend beyond 2nd octave tara ‘sa’ note, then, for persons having good range of voice can even touch the lowest ‘sa’ note in the last octave in the mandhara sthyai (last octave). But if the composition extends to tara sthayi ‘pa’ – final octave, even for a person having a good range of voice, it will be difficult to go below ‘pa’ note in the last octave.
    Among southern singers, Ghantasala and yesudas were comfortable in all the octaves SIMULTANEOULSY & in my personal view ghantasala maintained the same attraction in any octave (with different sruti levels also) with amazing voice control. Barring these two, other southern playback singers, in my view did not have great SIMULTANEOUS CONTROL on all the octaves at a time.

    In hindi music, in my knowledge, Mohd. rafi has good control in medium and high octaves, Kishore kumar was fine in low and medium octaves, lata mangeshkar was fine in low and medium octaves. In high pitch, lata gets diluted and is not that comfortable as in medium octaves


  5. arghya says:


    Yo have taken perfection as “something which cannot be bettered” and my point is “something which is flawless”.. So, in the alaap of Kishore in “Hari naam ka pyala”, you meant to say the alaap could be bettered by someone else and I proclaimed ” the alaap did not have any technical loopholes”.. Kishore’s semi classical numbers could definitely be ornamented better by other trained singers( just like other singers’ comedy songs could be bettered by Kishore), but whatever Kishore sang, “DID YOU FIND TECHNICAL LOOPHOLES”

    I did not find any loopholes:

    1. In the alaap of “des chhuraye bhes chhuraye”
    2. In the “bol taan” of “Payalwali Dekhna”
    3. In the harqats of “Rimjhim gire sawan”, “Yun neend se woh jaane chaman” and “Prem ka rog laga”.
    4. In the alaap, taan and harqat of “Log kehte hai main sharabi hoon”..

    So, for me they are “perfect”! Yes, the taan in “log kehte hai main sharabi” could have been bettered by a more trained classical singer perhaps with more “tempo” and “mishrit taan” inculcated.. But what Kishore did , for me, was just brilliant.. Hypothtically what could have happened is not in my agenda.. Perhpas the singer could have ornamented the song more but perhaps would not have emoted the emotions of Amitabh that well( subjectivity, lol..).. That is why that discussion I keep aside..

    Now, untrue things are those which I hear from other forums about Kishore:

    1. A singer who could only yoodlee doodlee because he did not know any other forms of emotion.
    2. A person who never sang classical song.
    3. His voice was coarse.

    And so on and on..

    Your comments sounded like the second point to me and that is why I told you to talk on “technical” front..

    And considering singing as a whole, I think there are many things which Rafi could do the best and Kishore could not as well( devotional is one example) and there are many things which Kishore also could do the best which Rafi could not as well( experimentaion is just one of them)..

    But let us keep that “bang bang” discussion of Kishore-Rafi apart.. Unnessesary waste of time for both the camps IMHO

  6. P. Haldar says:

    post 41

    Lalit ji, you are absolutely right. Someone should request SAREGAMA (HMV’s new avatar) to avail of your expertise in the classical field. With some initiative on your part, even Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saab will start turning in his grave. By the way, I did some search on bhajan albums and found an album released by SAREGAMA titled “Golden Collection of Bhajans from Films” (see below). Here also you’ll notice the preconceived biases of the music companies. Are you willing to lend your expertise in the bhajan field too? In my opinion, your Tamil Iyer background would be an invaluable asset.


    Tracklist of “Bhajans From Films” CD 1
    1. Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj Mohd. Rafi
    2. Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai Manna Dey & Chorus
    3. Jai Jagdish Hare Hemant Kumar & Geeta Dutt
    4. Ghunghat Ke Pat Khol Geeta Roy
    5. Aan Milo Shyam Sanwre Geeta Dutt & Manna Dey
    6. Insaf Ka Mandir Hai yeh Mohd. Rafi & Chorus
    7. Bhay Bhanjana Bandana Sun Hamari Manna Dey
    8. Aye Malik Tere Bandhe Hum Lata Mangeshkar & Chorus
    9. Brindaban Ka Krishna Kanhaiya Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi
    10. Darshan Do Ghanshyam Hemant Kumar, Sudha Malhotra & Chorus
    11. Na Main Dhan Chahun Geeta Dutt & Sudha Malhotra
    12. Jyoti Kalash Chhalke Lata Mangeshkar
    13. Man Mohan Man Mein Mohd. Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur & Batish
    14. Allah Tero Naam Ishwar Tero Naam Lata Mangeshkar & Chorus
    15. Jai Raghunandan Jai Siyaram Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhosle & Chorus
    16. Prabhu Tero Naam Lata Mangeshkar
    17. Radhike tune Bansari Chooraiye Mohd. Rafi
    18. Jot Se Jot Jagake Chalo Mukesh & Chorus
    19. Tora Man Darpan Asha Bhosle
    20. Kanha Kanha Aan Padi Main Lata Mangeshkar

    Tracklist of “Bhajans From Films” CD 2
    1. Om Jai Jagdish Hare Mahendra Kapoor, Brij Bhushan, Shyama Chittar & Chorus
    2. Ram Krishan Hari Manna Dey
    3. Ishwar Allah Tere Naam Mohd. Rafi & Chorus
    4. Sanjh Savere Lata Mangeshkar
    5. Raghupati Raghav-Ram Dhun Mahendra Kapoor, Manhar & Chorus
    6. Sukh Ke Sab Saathi Mohd. Rafi
    7. Kanha Re Kanha Lata Mangeshkar
    8. Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh Lata Mangeshkar
    9. Kanhaiya Kanhaiya Tujhe Aana Padega Mahendra Kapoor & Chorus
    10. Tu Hi Sagar Tu Hi Kinara Sulakshana Pandit
    11. Main To Aarti utaroon Usha Mangeshkar & Chorus
    12. Shyam Teri Bansi Aarti Mukherjee & Jaspal Singh
    13. Bole Radha Shyam Deewani Lata Mangeshkar
    14. Yashomati Maiya Se Bole Nandalala Lata Mangeshkar
    15. Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Part 1) Lata Mangeshkar & Chorus

  7. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    Now that you mentioned humor, I would like to take you up on your comment:

    You said:

    — “Mr. Lalit, please provide us the notations of the whole “O maajhi re” .. then i will provide you the notations of the just “Mukhda” of “Sur na saje” right from Alaap.. as just “Mukhda” of that song itself consists of more *notes* and *Variations* than whole “O Maajhi Re”” —

    In fact, Kapilji, out of respect for you I will do one better – I will provide you the notes to BOTH “O Majhi Re” and to “Sur Na Saje” (mukhdas and antaras for both), on condition I be monetarily compensated for my efforts.

    I may lack Kishore’s voice and technique, but mercifully possess all of his business acumen.

    At last count (just a ballpark figure you understand) there were around 100 notes altogether in ‘O Majhi Re’ (meend inclusive), and around 250 in ‘Sur Na Saje’ (alaaps, meends, and ‘sangeet man ko’ section, inclusive) – that makes it a grand total of 350 notes.

    Let’s say Rs 100 a note? – making it Rs 35,000 for my efforts? Of course that would be in sargam – if you wanted treble clef staff (or possibly, soprano in your case) please make certain to add 50% surcharge, and possibly another 50% on top of the surcharge for any key transposition.

    Alas, I don’t have a faithful Abdul to ensure full and prompt payment, so it must perforce be through my paypal account!

  8. Anil says:

    I clicked your link with excitement, hoping to hear something out of the world and what do I see/ hear? The usual Kishore tomfoolery! He displays good voice control (but that is taken for granted of a reputed film singer), what else is there on display? You may not be able to replicate this or Pandit Bhimsen Joshi may not, but any (I repeat any) musically gifted fellow with a flair for innovation can do it… Actually there was a ‘Kataprasangam’ (a typical Keralite art form) artist who used to begin his shows with a similar self composed song. It’s good to see your comment on the video and I appreciate your honesty, there are people here and in several other musical forums who projects themselves as neutral music lovers before implementing their agenda of hailing Kishore and dissing Rafi. You are not one of them, you know what you stand for and you want the world to know what you stand for.
    I take it that your take on Rafi is meant to be tagged with ‘according to my modest ability’. If it is not, I just wish to inform you that there are better judges around.
    There is something in your comments which I don’t find logical; How can my ranking of singers ‘confesses to paucity of discrimination’ (very lyrical, let me admit) while yours don’t. Am I to take it that your diploma and greater training makes your opinion ‘the infallible truth’ and anything not corresponding to your opinion ‘discriminating’?
    I am not going to respond with what I think of Kishore’s renditions. I don’t need to and I don’t think myself qualified to assess a singer who is loved by millions.
    I don’t think I’d be able to better the fellow who sang ‘Kuch to log…’ in the clip I provided, surely not in the scale he sang it. May be in the original scale I might give it a try. Please add this to my request list, I’d love to hear your version (now that you have admitted you can actually sing this song).
    If you notice carefully, I never said that this youngsters or Abhijeet Sawant equalled or rivalled Kishore’s original versions, I just wanted to disprove your claims that “O Manjhi re’ was too tough a song to humanly sing and that a trained vocalist can’t sing ‘kuch to log…’.

  9. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    Your lack of true musical knowledge is a joke.

    Shastriya sangeet, especially vocal music, is not about how many machine-gun notes you can stuff into a musical composition, or how many pointless variations one can add in an antara.

    It is about how to seek out and latch on to a pure nada, remain true to the source of prana, not compromise the larynx when the sound escapes the mouth, and make the sur last over long stretches with sustained force, tone, resonance, and timber. Anything else is real ‘harkat’. Kishore could do it. Rafi could not without sounding contrived. Manna Dey could do it, but tone and timber were weak. Saigal of course, was past master.

    I don’t really know in what classical circles you move around in Delhi, though if your shallow comments are any indication, they are probably not worth my time.

    Kindly educate yourself before commenting.

  10. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    You said regarding someone else singing “Kuch to log Kahenge” after furnishing link below:

    “He’s note-perfect, no issues for him singing it, technically and if anything he is clearer at the lower notes than the original singer.”

    With all respect to the singer and your superficial comments, the rendition is a JOKE! I should think even with our mutual modest abilities, the both of us can do better, even if our versions fail to capture the sheer timber and pathos of Kishore’s version, our technique notwithstanding.

    There are those who sing Kishore, and there are those who sing Kishore.

    Ditto with “O Majhi Re” link you supplied with Abhijeet. He and Kumar Sonu cannot even BEGIN to approximate Kishore’s sheer timber and tone in the song. It is a bit like Rafi’s crooning and lackluster version of “Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan” from “Pyaar ka Mausam”.

    Certainly we can try to imitate Kishore in “O Majhi Re” and other songs, the way smuggled goods from China try to imitate the original.

    Like I said before, there are those who can sing Kishore, and there are those who can sing Kishore.

    Really, they should try and do this before talking of timber, tone, and technique. I am a good singer, possible a very good singer, but I can never do what Kishore does in under a minute with that voice, in the link I supply below. Disregard the “GOD” bit, though it has its merits.

    Your “take”, as you put it, confesses to paucity of discrimination – Rafi croons without dimension. I really cannot say more in the matter. All the meends and aakars in the world cannot hide that fact.

    I respect Manna Dey’s technique, but his voice doesn’t project, or carry as much power as Kishore’s. What you consider to be “jarring” in Kishore’s voice is actually what sets him apart from others, including Rafi and Manna Dey. Only Saigal is better in subtle meends.

    My considered opinion regarding Kishore’s superiority over others stands, regardless of how many others choose to jump into the fray here with you.

    PS Haldarji – The loss is HMV’s and it’s dwindling share of listeners. If someone fails to recognize superior technical (and classical) worth in Kishore, it is because of petty, preconceived bias regarding what is “classical” and what is not.

  11. Kapil says:

    Mr. Lalit,

    In the guise of being classical expert,more you write, more funny you become … Kindly notice that only “Mukhda” along with Aalaap of “Sur Na Saje” has the more *notes* and *Variations* than whole “O Majhi Re” song. Now if you believe that songs having less notes and variations are tougher to sing, then, i tell you, there is a serious flaw in your own Classical “Taaleem”.

    Only tough part of the song is, when Kishore touch those higher notes “O Maajhi re… Maajhi re” — “Ga Ga Ma, Re Ni Sa”, else the song is nothing tough, when compared to “Sur na saje”.

  12. arghya says:


    //but the universal truth, something you need to know//

    How can some handful headstrong people’s blind and biased and myopic view on music can be termed as “universal truth”? Yes, definitely, Kishore is not known as a Bhajan Singer, and that is why the need of the article to let younger generation know what he was.. Let them hear the songs and they would make their own opinion( they are already making, look at the response)..

    And going through responses, I also can make out none of his devotional songs sound to peopl crap.. Your and some of your friends’ opinion in some other forum is NOT UNIVERSAL TRUTH..

  13. Kapil says:


    As i mentioned earlier also, if someone, in the guise of being classical expert, says “Sur na saje” is easy to render compared to “O Majhi Re”, then there is something for every one,to laugh out loud.

    Mr. Lalit, please provide us the notations of the whole “O maajhi re” .. then i will provide you the notations of the just “Mukhda” of “Sur na saje” right from Alaap.. as just “Mukhda” of that song itself consists of more *notes* and *Variations* than whole “O Maajhi Re”

    And yeah, i also know many classical musicians from Delhi, most of them don’t even consider 70’s the music, all of them are more or less, immersed into the 40’s,50’s and 60’s , you are the only exception i have seen so far….

    As you are asking other of technicalities, it would be great if you give your definition of perfect taans first

  14. paramjeet says:

    adarniya srivasji/Lalitji..

    Kuchh outsider yahan pe kishore ke range ke upar bhi prashna poochhe hai.. Agar aap mere se sahmat hai ki range ka matlab sirf high pitch hi nahi low pitch bhi hai to thodasa kishoredada ke range vis a vis other singers(or only THAT SINGER) ko bhi compare karein..

  15. Srivas says:

    Lalit ji and Anil Ji and others.

    Mohd. rafi and kishore kumar certainly are great singers in hindi film world and both have very great fan following by numerous fans till date. But I think, in terms of various versatile talents, besides playback singing, kishore was ahead of rafi. Despite lacking in technical talent, kishore composed music, was a fine playback singer and had other talents – comedy, acting, entertainer etc. etc. wherein he has no comparison. Kishore too had sung songs requiring technical ability and I do not think kishore is anyway second to rafi in H F M.

    Regarding classical filmy renditions, excepting manna dey, in my view, both rafi and kishore were not that great as they were in many of their other mind blowing songs. Honestly speaking, to really have a perfect grasp of classical filmy renditions, one has to look only at the southern film world and the S F M easily overshines H F M in this particular area.

    I too am a trained carnatic musician with more than 18 years of experience in the field. I am in complete agreement with Mr. Surajit Bose, a hindusthani classical musician in these forums (and also for his posts in Mohd rafi forum in true voice) & also one Mr. Khan, another hindusthani classical musician claiming to be having 35 plus years experience in classical music in mohdrafi forum, stating that the filmy number siva sankari in darbari kannada raga by ghantasala, very easily scores over all other filmy classical renditions of all playback singers by huge margins and there is no filmy classical composition in comparison to siva sankari of ghantasala. (including o duniya ke rakwale – mohd rafi)

    Mr. Surajit bose & Mr. Khan write in – Ghantasala very clearly outshines both rafi and manna dey & others in semi classical and classical renditions. And in fact it is true. And another point, does anybody know that ghantasala had challenged the great semmangudi ( as you say k j yesudas learnt under him) once, and semmangudi himself had to surrender to ghantasala’s version of specialisation. Semmangudi was asked by ghantasala to sing a classical composition in a style which should not fall short in any way in terms of technical ability or classical merits, but at the same time it should not be in classical style. Despite semmangudi’s talent, he fell short. Ghantasala made classical music more attractive – perhaps in filmy style ? (to be appreciated even by a lay man) , without sacrificing any of the ingredients of classical music. His was a pure classical rendition for classical musicians and a complete attractive lay man appreciated song for any other people. In both the cases, the technical ability and classical base remained intact. Mr. Khan, though claiming to be a hindusthani musician correctly catches this point, as he writes, without compromising his classical style, ghantasala creates a filmy effect. Most people including yesudas etc. when singing classical numbers, sound classical or shift to filmy style, but rarest of rare cases put up a perfect show creating a mixture of both. Next in line, To some extent rafi could create a mixture of both, whereas manna dey fell short of filmy style in such renditions.

    Here is the song siva sankari and in my view, there is no song which can match this song in classical style, speed, taans & aalaaps, high pitch, composition and more so in classical mixed with filmy style without compromising any of the classical attributes. ( A REAL TREAT TO ALL MUSIC LOVERS)

    (MOST SURPRISING THING : This song was recorded only in one take by ghantasala in 1961 and the music director was pendyala nageshwara rao, one of the great music directors of telugu film world. )

    As Lalith ji says, kishore certainly had a specialised talent and I think he cannot be underestimated. Excepting a limitation for technical ability and training, I think kishore was a specialised singer and as I had already written earlier, in one of the forums here, KISHORE WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL SINGER, who despite lacking in technical ability, HAD THE EXCEPTIONAL TALENT TO SING A SONG (INCLUDING SONGS THAT REQUIRED TECHNICAL ABILITY) EASILY WITHOUT MUCH PRACTISE WHICH TALENT MANY SINGERS DID NOT POSSESS and this makes kishore certainly an exceptional talent in HFM, to which extent in comparison to kishore, I think even the great rafi falls short.

  16. arghya says:

    Post No. 34

    Haldar ji..

    Even Yesudas and S P Balasubramanium are missing in that collection.. Songs like ” Aa aa re mitwa” from Anand Mahal and ” Jab deep jale aana” from Chitchor are class apart classical numbers IMHO..

    I am not saying Kishore’s songs should be included in that HMV album also.. But my point is that collection cannot be taken as a benchmark ..

    You can very well continue the discussion with other technicalities please..


    Yes, Kishore’s low octave control was definitely the best among all male singers. Listen to his Rabindrasangeet “Saghana Gahan Raatri” where there is such a low breath space and he hits “ma” on the lowest octave while he renders “jorichhe shrabana dhara”..

  17. P. Haldar says:

    post 27

    Dear Lalit ji, I don’t have the kind of knowledge that you have, but I would like to make a comment. There’s a CD of classical songs from Hindi film songs that was released by HMV featuring 16 singers (see below). One singer is conspicuous by his absence. I think HMV should hire you as an advisor to make sure that such mistakes are not made in the future. Also, I’d eagerly wait to hear your version of “man tadpat darshan”. With your background and training, I’m sure you can easily beat Rafi.

    This set of 2 compact discs features 32 Classic songs from Hindi Films.

    Tracks :

    Sur Na Saje – Film : Basant Bahar – Manna Dey
    Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache – Film : Kohinoor – Mohd. Rafi
    Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje – Film : JJPB – Khan Sahib Amir Khan
    Prem Jogan Ban Ke – Mughle-E-Azam- Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali
    Prrchho Na Kaisa Maina – Filom : Meri Surat Teri Ankhen – Manna Dey
    Bole Re Papihra – Film : Guddi – Vani Jairam
    Sanware Saware Kahe Mose – Anuradha – Lata Mangeshkar
    To Hai Mere Prem Devta – Film : Kalpana – Mohd. Rafi & Manna Dey
    Aayo Kahan Se Ghanshyam – Buddha Mil Gaya – Manna Dey & Archana
    Ajun Na Aaye Balamwa – Film : Sanjh Aur Savera – Mohd. Rafi & Suman Kalyanpur
    Laga Chunari Mein Daag – Film : Dil Hi To Hai – Manna Dey
    O Sajana Barkha Bahar Aayi – Film : Parakh – Lata Mangeshkar
    Ketaki Gulab Juhi – Film : Basant Bahar – Manna Dey & Bhimsen Joshi
    Beeti Na Bitai Raina – Film : Parichay : Lata Mangeshkar & Bhupinder
    Humen Tumse Pyar Kitna – Film : Kudrat – Parveen Sultana
    Kaise Samjhaoon – Film : Suraj – Mohd. Rafi & Asha Bhosle

    CD 2
    Babul Mora Naihar Chhooto Jaye – Film : Aavishkar – Jagjit Singh & Chitra Singh
    Jo Tum Todo Piya – Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje – Lata Mangeshkar
    Jhanak Jhanak Tori Baje – Film – Mere Huzoor – Manna Dey
    Garjat Barsat Sawan Aayo Re – Film : Barsat Ke Rat – Suman Kalyanpur & Kamal Barot
    Re Man Sur Nein Ga – Film : Lal Patthar – Manna Dey & Asha Bhosle
    Radhika Tune Bansari Churaiya – Film : Beti Bete – Mohd. Rafi
    Tere Naina Talash Karen – Film : Talash – Manna Dey
    Hansne Ke Chah Ne – Film Aavishkar – Manna Dey
    Ka Karoon Sajani – Film : Dooj Ka Chand – Manna Dey
    Rasik Balma – Film : Chori Chori – Lata Mangeshkar
    Chham Chham Baje Re Payaliya
    Sawan Aaya Ya Na Aaya – Film : Dil Diya Dard Liya – Asha Bhosle & Mohd. Rafi
    Lapak Jhapak Too Aare Badarwa – Film : Boot Polish – Manna Dey
    Mainon Mein Badra Chhaye – Film : Mera Saaya – Lata Mangeshkar
    Jare Badra Bairi Ja – Film : Bahana – Lata Mangeshkar

  18. Anil says:

    I doubt your competencies in all these forms of music as much as you doubt mine. Anyway nice of you to add ‘my modest abilities’ at the end of that pretty bold statement proclaiming Kishore to the best.
    If you want my take, I’d say Rafi is the undisputed monarch of HFM and Kishore is not his nearest rival. I’d rather rank Manna Dey and Talat ahead as singers per se, though Kishore is a better play backer than both of them. Off course my ranking is based on my very modest abilities.
    I’d love to hear your version of ‘hai duniya usiki’ and ‘barbaad-e-mohabbat..’, not to subject them to scrutiny, rather I hope to listen to some decent rendition of these songs, I haven’t listened to any, so far, from anyone (Sonu included).
    I was listening to ‘O manjhi re’ and I can’t find anything technically difficult to execute, actually I was singing along and I didn’t fall on my face or pass out or anything and the high E is a pretty easy note to hit and sustain (even for a baritoner).
    Here’s the original of the song
    Here’s one youngster singing it
    He doesn’t fall flat either (though he goes a little flat at the lower notes).
    Here’s one classical vocalist (not a famous one) singing ‘kuch to log..’.
    He’s note-perfect, no issues for him singing it, technically and if anything he is clearer at the lower notes than the original singer.

  19. paramjeet says:

    Aap ne bola ‘ there is hardly anything to talk about kishore’ range’

    Bolne se pehle soch lo kya bol rahe ho.. Ho sakta hai jaha rafi sahab ki competency thi, kishore ki wahan pe nahi thi..

    Aap ne western music suna hai.. Thoda sa yeh bhi jaan le ke himdustani sangeet mein ‘udara’ ya ‘low octave’ ka mahatva kya hota hai.. Jis din samajh mein aaye tab baat karna..

    Waise lalitji behetar bata payenge aapko range ke baare mein.. 55 saal tak ki umar tak kishore low octave mein ‘ma’ hit karte gaye hai.. Aap ke rafi sahab 55 saal tak jiye aur aakhir aakhir mein low octave mein ‘dha’ tak hit karne mein awaaz badal jaaati thi unki,,

    Logon ki izzat karna aur guni kalakaron ki samman karna sikhiye janab.. Ulta pulta baatein yahan pe mat kariye..

  20. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    Along with Hindustani vocal, and Carnatic (since I am Tamil Brahmin Iyer, whose household revebrated with kutcheri’s and spools of MD Ramanathan, KV Narayanaswami, and Nedunoori – notice I haven’t even begun mentioning Madurai Mani, Ariyakudi, GNB, or Maharajapuram), I think I have sufficient competencies in neraval, alapanai, and ragam-taanam-pallavi as well. Our household would bristle over Music Academy Sadas Debates and Sambamurthi’s treatment of Melakartas and Katapayaadi formulae. Enough about Carnatic.

    I also have an Advanced Diploma in Classical Guitar from the Royal Schools of Music, UK from 1997 (I have been playing/singing western classical music since childhood both instrumentally and as a tenor), and am a trained western classical musician who can claim to have competencies in counterpoint and harmony. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about when I speak of Kishore – I don’t have to rope in the scores to the Art of Fugue, Wagner’s Ring Cycle, or Shostakovich’s symphonies to demonstrate to you my competence. Let me leave it at that.

    As for Yesudas, he was a Semmangudi student – so I don’t expect Kishore to be able to sing Jab Deep Jale Aana – which I can sing quite well, as in fact I can most of the songs you mentioned including “barbaad-e-mohabbat..’ or ‘ye duniya usiki…’.

    I don’t need to further “deflect attention from the topic” (in the words of an erudite commenter on this board), by mentioning Rahman, Ilayaraja, MS Vishwanathan, TM Soundararajan, or Ghantasala – but let me do so, just for your sake.

    I quoted Rama Varma for his Catholicity of musical spirit, not to impress you with name-dropping.

    There is nothing dubious or underhanded about my statements. Take my word for it – despite your claims to possess competencies in musical idioms, both western and Indian (which I doubt), and despite your not being “impressed” by Kishore Kumar, he remains unmatched in playback singing history. That is my final and considered opinion, based on my rather modest abilities, and after careful consideration.

    Contrary to your comical claim, I do in fact sing Malkauns (Hindolam) rather well, as indeed I do Darbari Kanada – and hopefully as an extension “Man Tadpat” and “Duniya Ke Rakhwale” with their 2 to 2 1/2 octaves — tell me, my friend, can you?

  21. paramjeet says:

    yeh biasedness ki baat kishore kumar ke upar hi kyun aati hai? Doosre gayakon ko taarif karo,unko bhagwan bolo aur unke forum mein kishore kumar ko ghatiya bolo to koi kuchh nahi kehta… Itna irsha kyun?

  22. Kapil says:

    “but to say some untrue things about Kishore is ill spirit… ”

    Arghya, can’t say for Kishore-Bhakts, but the universal truth, something you need to know, is that Kishore is revered as a “Sampoorn-Kalakaar”, not “Sampoorn Gayak” … and not at all as a “Bhajan Gayak” or “Classical Gayak”

    And it was your subjective analysis, like Kishore rendered Taans or Alaaps to the perfection,that was so untrue and can’t be proved practically.

    Unilke you,i praise Kishore Da for his true genious only.

  23. Anil says:

    Your comments make interesting reading, though I can’t agree with a lot of them.
    It’s perfectly acceptable if you consider Kishore better than Rafi but when you go on to say ‘we (all classical vocalists) love and respect Kishore more or that there aren’t any classical vocalists who doesn’t really care much for Kishore’, these are very tall claims.
    I’m trained in Western music, may be as rigorously as you are in Hindustani classicals and I have a fair grasp of Karnatic classicals (being a South Indian). Having listened to many uninhibited (and often untrained) singers in English, Kishore doesn’t fascinate me much (I stress ‘much’, for I like him in a lot of songs). His voice (though very appealing to the Hindustani vocalists’ ears) is a bit too rough and a bit too noisy for my comfort (though it was relatively better when he was younger). His vocal range (a deciding factor in Western music) is nothing much to speak about. Even his yodelling is no big deal, once you listen to some of the Western yodellers.
    Coming back to the opinions of the classical vocalists, since you have mentioned about Mr. Ravi Varma, let me say that some of the biggest known names from that State (Mr. Ravi Varma is not all that well-known in Kerala) swear by the name of Mohammed Rafi; they include Yesu Das and Jayachandran (the big 2 of Malayalam film music) not to mention the great music directors like Illyaraja, M S Viswanathan, A R Rehman, Johnson and others.
    As Kapilji has pointed out in his post, there seems to be something dubious in your statement that you can sing all the Rafi songs well and not Kishore’s ‘kuch to log kahenge’ etc. It would be more correct to say you can sing ‘man tarpat..’ without going off-key while you cannot bring in the spontaneity of ‘kuch to log..’. If you can’t sing ‘kuch to log…’, there is no way in this world that you can half-sing a ‘barbaad-e-mohabbat..’ or ‘ye duniya usiki…’ or a ‘kahin bekhayal hokar..’.

  24. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    It is your comments I find hilarious.

    You said I “deflected the topic” and wondered how I “fail to render “O Maajhi re”, “mukhra” of which is composed in just 3-4 notes – sounds pretty strange and hilarious, could you please explain why?”

    I did not deflect attention from the topic. The only reason I would try to “deflect attention from the topic” would be out of sympathy for you, to avoid you any further embarrassment on this page.

    I deliberately chose “O Majhi Re” because superficial musicians like you will find it an “easy song” without bothering to examine it closely, which is exactly what you have proven.

    Try singing those 3-4 notes in the mukhda of “O Majhi Re”, and also the 4 notes in the antara “sa-ga-(re)ga-(re)sa” 3 times in perfect succession the way Kishore does at high pitch (high C to E), with complete prana control and such a perfect nada before presuming to instruct me on shastriya sangeet and “variation”.

    I can almost guarantee you will be unsuccessful and will fall flat on your face. RD Burman wept after listening to Kishore’s recording at the beauty of Kishore’s interpretation.

    You asked what I protest against. I protest against the shallow tone of your discourse, and find your superficial understanding of Kishore a joke, as do most other serious classical musicians on this page.

    It is YOU who is diverting attention away with weak, superficial arguments and individual bias, which is contemptible.

    Thank you Adarniya Paramjeetbhai. Kai sangeetkar aise hote hain jo ati saral sangeet to kathin pesh karne me kaamyaab hote hain – Kishoreji ek aise adbhut gayak the, jo kathin gaanon ko aasan bana dete the. Theek isi vajah ke kaaran, main unko sarvshresth maanta hun.

  25. arghya says:

    //Listen KLS and SDB with unbiased ears//

    That is interesting.. How do you know I have not? Have you heard Kundan Lal Sehgal’s ” Aami tomay joto suniyechilem gaan” sang in 1939 in the movie Jeeban Maran? After that song Rabindranath Tagore- the original creator of the song himself sent compliments to K L Saigal for such rendering.. Listen to that song, you would know..

    And yes, I was “subjective” in the article because i feel so.. But to criticize someone, you cannot be “subjective”..You have to be concrete solid what you are getting it.. With so many subjectivities also, I made it clear in the article that Kishore’s devotional songs are not in the same class of “Man tarpat” but still you kept gabbling like “he did not excel”.. Now for your definition what is “excelling” I do not know..

    //MO K.L. Sehgal,Rafi and Lata were the epitomes of playback singing, followed by other greats, including Kishore .//

    No one should argue with what you feel, you keep your opinions.. But then subjectively discard a singer is not good spirit at all. You like others more, even I am a big time fan of all of them but to say some untrue things about Kishore is ill spirit…

  26. pradeep says:

    Yes Arghya, I think he (Surajit Bose) can be reached.


  27. Kapil says:

    Lalit Ji,

    What exactly do yo protest? i guess you have diverted the topic to somewhere else, i was just asking Arghya for Kishore Aalaap-ing and Taan-ing -LOL , BTW, good to know that you are a classical vocalist.

    Hmmm .. So you could eaisly render “Sur na saje” or “Dunia na bhaye mohe” ,songs having so much variations, but fail to render “O Maajhi re”, “mukhra” of which is composed in just 3-4 notes, sounds pretty strange and hilarious, could you please explain why?

    I don’t agree on your Manna Vis-a-Vis Rafi theory, both of them were Light classical singers, well versed equally, either you listen “Ketki Gulab Juhi” or “Baat chalat nayi chunri”, in both cases, pure classical singers are clear winners, however, keeping the aspect of light classical in mind, both Manna and Rafi did faboulus job.

    IMO K.L. Sehgal,Rafi and Lata were the epitomes of playback singing, followed by other greats, including Kishore ..


    Listen KLS or SDB with the unbiased ears, and you would definitely feel actual soul and innocence,i was referring to, and by the way, you were the first to give the subjective views, i wasn’t .. 😛

  28. arghya says:

    Where is our Surajitda, beloved Mr. Surajit Bose nowadays?? I really miss him here..

    Admin: Can he be located?

  29. paramjeet says:

    Adarniya shri Lalitji…

    Thank you sir for this great writing.
    hari naam ka pyala mein sangeet ke textbook mein jise ‘taaan’ kehte hai- sargam ranging of octaves progressively- woh shayad nahi tha magar baaki ke ‘alankaran’, jaise ki alaap( ‘aa’ se hota hai) aur harqat puri tarah se isko ek ragatnak bhajan banaya hai..

    Aur yeh baat shastriya sangeet ke diggaj bhi jaante hai jo jo cheezein kishoreda kar sakte the woh unke samakaleen gayak nahi kar sakte the.. isi liye log kishoreda ke gaane sirf gaate hai magar ‘pran’ nahi la sakte..

    Prince Rama Verma ki baat chali hai to bata doon woh kishoreda ke ek bade chahnewale hai.. Unhone kishoreda ka ek madhur geet ‘jagmag jagmag karta nikla’ gaya tha jo bahut hi sundar tha…

  30. Lalit Ganapathy says:


    I must protest over your comments, since they appear to lack merit. I have downloaded and listened to the mp3 provided by Arghyaji.

    I would consider myself a fairly competent and well trained Hindustani vocalist who can sing taans reasonably fast (both in aakars and sargam). My mother who was a Sangeet Siromani from Delhi University trained me as a child, and I also took lessons from a senior Ustad in Amir Khan Saheb’s Indore Gharana when I was a youngster, though I modeled my style more on Bhimsen Joshi. Needless to say, most discerning rasikas will agree that very few have faster taans than Shri Bhimsen when he is in top form.

    Now coming to Rafi, he was briefly trained by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan in the the Patiala gharana. The nada purity of the gharana has been called into question by several prominent vocalists on account of exaggerated meends and ornamentation, though you and I cannot presume to judge great people like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb. It is true that Rafi had a solid grasp over taans, as evidenced in such songs as ‘Man Tadpat’ and ‘Duniya ke Rakhwale’ in Naushad’s ‘Baiju Bawra’, but even he was unable to sing the climactic duel ‘Aaj Gawat Man Mero’ in Raag Desi at the end of the movie, that was instead sung by Ustad Amir Khan and DV Paluskar. (incidentally, for those who may care, the song was rendered brilliantly by a gentleman named Parthiv Gohil in SaReGaMa, with Pandit Jasraj heaping praise on him).

    So Rafi, for all his technical competence cannot be said to have been a past master at alaaps and akaars/taans. In fact the only Hindi playback singer who could execute lightning fast taans in the classical sense was Manna Dey (listen to ‘Ketaki Gulab Juhi’, from ‘Basant Bahar’ that he sings with Bhimsen Joshi). 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!”

    Now coming to Kishore – it is true I have never heard him sing fast “taans” either in akaar or in sargam. For example the famous sargam interlude in “Ke pag ghungroo” from ‘Namak Halal’ was executed by another classical vocalist Bappi Lahiri located.

    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 NEVER encountered a competent classical vocalist who disliked Kishore, though several have expressed misgivings about Rafi. It almost appears as though everyone who THINKS they know good classical music considers Rafi superior technically, while those of us who actually put in the hours and hours of practice and riyaz KNOW for a fact that Kishore is the better singer!

    We also know Kishore regarded the great KL Saigal as his manasaguru, and that he could sing every Saigal song note-for-note (the way Eddie van Halen could play Clapton’s solos on ‘Crossroads’ note for note before he began tapping), but we also know that Kishore made up his own rules as he went along (remember that bit about someone trying to tell Beethoven not to compose in parallel fifths?). We marvel at Kishore’s voice, his purity, his sense of composition, structure, and sahitya, and his exceptional and unique technique and musical sensibility.

    We can sing ‘Duniya ke Rakhwale’, ‘Man Tadpat’, ‘Bhay Bhanjana’, ‘Sur Na Saje’, but we can never sing ‘Kuch to Log Kahenge’, ‘Yeh Kya Hua’, ‘O Majhi Re’, ‘Main Shair Badnaam’ they way Kishore Kumar sang them, even if we practice for hours and hours, and for several years together.

    That is what makes Kishore a genius.

    If people still have doubts about just how astonishingly brilliant Kishore Kumar was, and how highly musically literate people thought of him, right from 1948 when he recorded Khemchand Prakash’s ‘Marne ki Dauen’ in the movie ‘Ziddi’, and right through four decades, they only have to read the blog whose URL link I supply below, from a rather brilliant musician and writer/lecturer who incidentally also happens to be royalty.

    His Highness Price of Travancore, Sri Rama Varma

  31. arghya says:

    Yup.. I was subjective just as you were..[:)]…

    And nice to see now you technically speaking of Kishore’s rendition.. That is what I had asked you to do.. leaving apart the subjective terms of ” innocence” , “soul”, or those obscure words the other people use like “god’s voice”, “rickshawwallah voice”…[:)]

  32. Kapil says:


    Your that comment was even more subjective, the song starts with slight humming followed by good Alaap(Not perfect, as you mentioned :-P) … Expressions by Kishore are good definitely, with few “Harkats”, but buddy, kindly tell me, where are the “Taans” and what is your definition of “Taans”?

    Paramjeet Bhai,

    Mere post ko ek bar fir padhne ka kast karen, maine ye saaf saaf “mention” kiya hai ki Kishore Da “Great Artist”– Mahan Kalakar the, aur mjhe unki “comedy” jada pasand hai, jis tarah aapko gayaki


  33. paramjeet says:

    kapil bhai….

    kishore ji ne sabhi tarah ke gaanw gaye hai.. Yeh unka bada pan tha ke woh khud aap ne aap ko project nahi karte the.. Jo log sunte the aur pasand karte the usi mein woh khush rehte the.. Unke bete shri amit kumar ji ne ek baar unse poochha tha ki baba, aap ko log theek tarah se recognize nahi karte hai, aap ko bura nahi lagta hai? Unhone kaha, beta- agar mere guzar jaane ke 10 saal baad bhi tum kisi ek aadmi ko mera gaana gaate hue suno, to samajhna mera kalakar jeevan sarthak hua hai.

    Aur aaj 22 saal ho gaye hai aur log kishoreda ko aur bhi zyada chahne lage hai…

    Aap ke nazar mein woh comedian honge, humare liye aur bahut se aur guni kalakaron ke nazar mein woh ek ‘sampoorna kalakaar’ the aur rahenge..

    Bhaktigeeti mein bhi… Main subah unki ‘krishna krishna’ sunke uthta hoon’ fir ‘ leela aparampar prabhu’ aur aarti ke samay, yaani sandhya kaal mein ‘ prem ka rog laga’ sunta hoon jis mein magan ho jaata hoon….

  34. Debjyoti says:

    Even RD told in 1985 filmfare interview that Kishoreda is the best singer of classical songs.Guru is really the best in each and every department.

  35. arghya says:


    I still maintain what I had said, ie, “On S D Burman’s shradh ceremony, Kishore Kumar sang ” Hari naam ka pyala pee le” with alaap and taans to the perfection with harqats beautifully ornamented..”…

    I have never ever commented on every song Kishore was able to do.. Although doing this in every song, I really doubt whether anyone else could do or not.. So, generalized statement was from your side and not me.. LOL

    For that song you said ” Listen to the original of the same by Dada, that soul and innocence in SD’s voice is completely missing in the Kishore’s version” which is again full of SUBJECTIVITY.. What is “soul”? It can bear a definition for you and another for me in diffferent perspective.. Talking of innocence, a man who has just lost his father lie personality a few days back, takes the stage and sings with a feeling and a voice deep with pathos, is for me, devoted enough..

    Except SUBJECTIVITY, of you can point out TECHNICALLY loopholes in Kishore’s singing in that song, it would be beneficial..

    Otherwise we are just beating around the bushes then..


  36. Kapil says:


    Even i can give you many links to Kishore Aalaap-ing, but remember you mentioned “Taan to perfection”, there is huge difference in Aalaaps and Taans.

    Secondly, you are no one to decide, where should i go and comment, this is a public forum and i am also as much welcome as you are.

    finally, don’t presume things, i am not at all allergic to Kishore – LOL, why should i? He’s my favorite comedian, and of course he was a great artist.

    Thanks and Bye

  37. arghya says:


    I have given the link of “hari naam ka pyala” to you.. If you want more songs with alaaps I can.. And there are many aspects of Kishore’s singing which are unique to him.. I dont know what your problem is.. Allergetic to genuine good things about Kishore? If you have not heard his songs with alaaps and harqats, it is your misfortune but do not say //cannot recall even one song where kishore did so//..

    And to tell you exactly, what I said is not at all “overboard”..What is “overboard” if you want defintiion go and ask people about giving Sun and Candle comparisons..

    I dont have anything else to say..

    If you feel allergetic to the genuine praise of a genuinely great singer “WITHOUT COMPARISON”, this platform is just not for you, there are other forums who are expert at this with irrelevant comparisons..

    Pity, real pity..

  38. Diganta says:

    Another Very Nice Bhajan Based Song Of Kishore Da Is – Geeton Mein Meri Ganga Ki Dhara From Film GEET GANGA…..Music Director – Sapan-Jagmohan.Guru At His Best…My One Of Favourites..

  39. Kapil says:

    On S D Burman’s shradh ceremony, Kishore Kumar sang ” Hari naam ka pyala pee le” with alaap and taans to the perfection with harqats beautifully ornamented..

    Well, please don’t go overboard, just because you love Kishore and write passionately, Kishore delivered Alaap and taans to the perfection is itself a very immature comment, i can’t recall even one song where Kishore did so, among playback sinegrs, only Manna, Rafi and the two sisters were able to do so.

    Listen to the original of the same by Dada, that soul and innocence in SD’s voice is completely missing in the Kishore’s version.

    Kishore gave us many wonderful songs:, “Hawao ko likhdo, hawaon ke naam”, “Koi lauta de mere bite hue din” etc etc, but classical wasn’t at all his forte.

    On an ending note, here goes another one, Kishore doing SD’s original, and spot on this time, Great Job!
    “Dhire se jana khatiyan mein, Khatmal”

  40. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreji’s first bhajan was the song subah ki pehli kiran tak,a duet with Manna Dey from the film Andolon(1951).He sang many great devotional songs and is the no 1 singer of devotional songs.The most important thing in Kishoreji’s singing used to be feelings that touched millions of hearts.He sang karaba koti,a bhojpuri bhajan.Baje baje baje re kahin bansuriya is a superb unreleased bhajan from the incomplete film Suhana Geet.In bengali,he sang akash pothe prem korechi he biswanath pouring his devotion towards God Biswanath.It is interesting to note that GOD Himself(i.e Kishore Kumar)had sung great devotional songs.

  41. arghya says:

    On S D Burman’s shradh ceremony, Kishore Kumar sang ” Hari naam ka pyala pee le” with alaap and taans to the perfection with harqats beautifully ornamented.. I did not mention that song as this was not a released song but only a live recording.. “Bhole o bhole” I mentioned very much clearly it might not be called “devotional song in a proper song”.. It appeals me, might not appeal to all.. “Hey re kanhaiya” song was picturized on a “baul”( street singers who roam around villages and sing devotional songs with folkish tunes), perhaps Kishore, henceforth, wanted to retain that “rural folkish touch” by adding some ” light shades” in the song.. That is quite understandable IMO..

    But cannnot disagree more with the statement that ” Kishore did not excel much in this segment”.. Well, he might not be the best, but to be an allrounder you need not be best in all the fields.. Kishore could sing all genres of song and devotional songs are no exception, but he remained under rated and he definitely did justice to all the devotional songs he sang.. Where even blends like kirtan, stuti, vandana, aarti all are included within the bhajan domain with semi classical base also.. And it really does not matter whether he could himself recall his own devotional songs or not as long as what he sang are “classics”..And they are..

    Here is the link of Hari Naam Ka Pyala..

  42. Kapil says:


    Informative write up by you, but IMO “Bhole O Bhole” doesn’t qualify as a devotional number, and the song from “Swami Dada” by RD is not tuned to the perfection like “Aao kanhayi mere dham”from MJS, so not that much good to listen.

    Also, in “Hey re kanhaiya, kisko kahega tu maiya” tuned by K-A, dada looks more in a masti mood than devotional, rest of the songs are good, but i don’t think Kishore excelled much in this genre. He once requested to sing a bhajan, in some stage show with Lata Jee and he couldn’t recall anyone, finally he resorted to SD Dada’s “Kaun Nagariya jawo re bansi wale” .

    By the way, there is one unreleased Kishore Devotional number,sweetly sang and tuned by Kishore himself, “Baje baje re ..”, i couldn’t recall the lyrics now but the tune was awesome, the movie was an unreleased black n white one from 60’s, song is no more in youtube now, where i heard it first.

  43. Rahul Nahire says:

    Hey… Arghya………
    Thanks…….. for revealing the divine side of KKs Voice….

    Love u KK
    thanks to Argya

  44. Sachin Srivastava says:

    Hi Arghya,

    Very interesting article. And good research on Guru’s devotional songs and your thoughts on each. I would also like to point out the bhojpuri Song Karab koti jatan he bhai was an awesome bhajan in which kishore Da sang like a true bhakt and it moves you..


  45. arghya says:

    Thank you all…

    Will surely come out with more interesting write ups in the future.. Media has done a brilliant job on 4th of August.. The programs especially on Star News, IBN7 and Times Now were very classy.. It is essential younger people know more about such legends..

    Hope the revolution on awareness will continue..

  46. B. Seshadri says:

    Nice tribute to Guru on his birthday. Nothing can beat his magical voice. A complete entertainment package acting, writing, composing, directing, singing you name it he has it. We miss you dada………

  47. nirmal thakur says:

    a real good write & a great way to pay a fitting tribute to the legend…………..great work arghya…..keep it up……….

  48. Guru Bhakt says:

    One more song ‘Tirupati Balaji’ from the film Aaj ka MLA can be considered as a bhajan by KK.

    Happy Birthday Guru!

  49. piyali says:

    A great article that shows reflects your devotion toward the great artist!

  50. paramjeet says:

    Welcome back!! Today is guruji’s birthday aur kya badiya tribute hai.. Waise mujhe lagta hai kishoreda ke bhajan kuchh kam nahi hai kisi aur gayakon se.. Krishna krishna bolo krishna ek bahut hi madhur bhajan hai hindi filmon me.. Mujhe lagta hai ATMARAM picture(1979) ka bhajan jo shankarji ne (of shankar jaikishan) kishoreda se gawaa tha woh bhi mention hona chahiye tha…

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