Kishore Kumar and S D Burman in the Fifties : Recognizing a Genius.

by Madhavi Sachin da mujhe Baar baar samjhate…Abe Kishore …Ye gaa…aisa gaa…feel karke gaa…expression se saath… jyada murkiya taan maarne se kuch nahin hota…seedha gayega to gana public ko acchha lagega …Samjha naa… In a surprisingly insightful interview in the week following S D Burman’s death, Kishore Kumar pays his tribute to him, recognizing and […]

by Madhavi

Sachin da mujhe Baar baar samjhate…Abe Kishore …Ye gaa…aisa gaa…feel karke gaa…expression se saath… jyada murkiya taan maarne se kuch nahin hota…seedha gayega to gana public ko acchha lagega …Samjha naa…

In a surprisingly insightful interview in the week following S D Burman’s death, Kishore Kumar pays his tribute to him, recognizing and wonderfully capturing Dada Burman’s colorful personality in his own inimitable way, mimicking his accent with flourish, and, more importantly, recognizing the nuances of his personality delicately, with warmth and a depth of perception that seem surprising in a man who cultivated and indeed revelled in being outrageously eccentric and childish. In this interview, Kishore recalls various encounters with Dada which present a vivid picture of his personality and inextricably linked to that, as Kishore clearly identifies it, was Dada’s music. His self-centeredness, his childlike obsession with music, his almost proprietary concern for his singers vocal chords and his whole-hearted delight when a singer achieved his vision, reveal the mystique of S D Burman’s music…there is a wholeness, a directness, a single minded focus to it, grounded in a hard core of practicality and musical rigor that Kishore aptly captures in the word “innocent.” And it is this that he defines as his legacy from S D Burman.

S D Burman was a shrewd music director who exploited and showcased the strengths of some of the great singers of the time, he got some of the best songs not only from Rafi and Lata but also Manna Dey, Hemant, Asha and Geeta Dutt. He was no consistent mentor to Kishore, and as various anecdotes and indeed his albums reveal, he juggled and kept all the top singers on their toes knowing exactly what he wanted from them and indeed getting it from them. He was certainly not scouting for talent or partnerships but when he saw talent he pursued it singe-mindedly and got results. He saw talent in Kishore, and he got him away from Saigal’s shadow and he taught him a simple and important lesson… “feel karke gaa …expression ke saath… ” And it remained Kishore’s greatest strength, when you hear him sing, he makes you feel with him.

Khemchand Prakash was one of the first music directors to recognize the potential of Kishore’s voice in his two albums Ziddi (1948) and Muqaddar (1950), where Kishore got the chance do more than the sole clown act that most music directors in the fifties used him for. Not that Kishore did not have wonderful songs in the fifties, but the fact that his acting career far outshone his singing career at this point was, as Kishore was the first to realize, a serious limitation of his potential as a playback singer. It was a complicated situation, his surprise success as a screen hero ensured that he got a steady stream of offers to sing for his own roles, and got entire albums with himself as the lead singer, but it also meant that he only got to sing songs for his screen persona of an eccentric, comic hero and the music directors who worked with him did not necessarily consider him a serious playback singer.

Kishore’s sang roughly 200 songs in this decade, with S D Burman leading the music directors in giving him the maximum number of songs. Even though his output with O P Nayyar and Madan Mohan follow close behind, a major difference in the albums with these directors is that they were mostly songs that Kishore sang on the screen for himself. Both the constraints of the roles that Kishore played on the screen and the fact that the directors had their preferred singers that they were far more comfortable with, make a distinct difference in Kishore’s songs with these directors that is highlighted by the sheer brilliance of the Kishore-SD output in this decade. While there are many Kishore treasures to dig out in this decade – the absolutely delightful duets of Kishore and Shamshad Begum to mention just one of them – it is important to remember that if one takes Dada Burman out the mix, Kishore Kumar’s output in this decade would seem very lopsided…

For example, one would have to look very hard for the serious/sad/intense/poignant songs that Kishore got to sing in this decade. Some of the songs that come to mind are those that perhaps only KK fans would remember.

Woh Meri Taraf Yun Chale Aa Rahein Hain (Kafila 1952)
Husn bhi hai udaas (Fareb 1953)
Manzil Kahan Meri (Miss Mala 1954)
Tere Jahan Se Chal Diye (Rukhsana 1955)
Chhota Sa Ghar Hoga(Naukri 1955)

In the romantic/intense category one could pick out perhaps:
Rootha Na Karo (Rootha Na Karo 1957)
Nakhrewali (New Delhi 1956)
Ae Haseenon Nazneenon(Chacha Zindabad 1959)
Meri Neendon Mein Tum(Naya Andaz 1956)
Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam(Dilli Ka Thug 1958)

On the other hand it would be difficult to contain the list of comic/peppy/outrageous/mischievous solos and duets that Kishore belted out in this decade, here is just a brief list that is easily expandable:

Dil gaya mera(Ada 1951)
Hubaa Hubaa…Ye Duniya Suitboot Kee Baaboo(Ashbar 1953)
Chhan Chhan Chhan Chhan(Char Paise 1953)
Aadha Titar Aadha Better,Wah Re Mere Sher (Lehren 1953)
ABC Mere Sapno Mein Aana(Ilzaam 1954)
Tikadambazi(Adhikar 1954)
Aararum Tarerum (Awaaz 1954)
Ina Mina Dika (Asha 1957)
Aaj Na Jaane Pagal Manwa(Begunaah 1957)
Phoonk Phoonk Kar(Bandi 1957)
Dekh Aasman Mein(Shararat 1959)

And yet from all these songs, the two that perhaps have popular appeal would be “Ina Mina Dika” and ” Ye Raatein Ye Mausam”.

Contrast this to the “hit” songs that Dada Burman and Kishore created in the fifties:

The carefree, Funtoosh track, “Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa,” and the starkly contrasting “Dukhi Man Mere” (that S D Burman obstinately insisted on Kishore singing), the breezy and poignant “Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Rahi” (Munimji 1955), followed by “Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke” and “Aankhon Mein Kya Ji” from Nau Do Gyarah(1957), and the gorgeously romantic Paying Guest (1957) tracks: “Hai Hai Ye Nigahen”, “Mana Janab Ne Pukara Nahin” and “Chod Do Aanchal.” And then finally, the incredible Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) album where Dada and Kishore create magic with precisely what Kishore felt was his albatross… singing for himself. It is an album for an out-and-out comedy… and yet it showcases the glittering multifaceted genius in all his glory. From the wacky and racy “Babu Samjho Ishaare” and “Hum The Wo Thi Aur Sama Rangeen Samajh gaye na” to the pulsing duets with Asha, the operatic zanyness (for want of a better phrase!) of “Paanch Rupaiyya Barah Aana” and the teasing, romantic “Haal Kaisa Hai Janab Ka” The crowning glory of the album is the sensuous, evocative and yet teasing “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si,” It is an impossible scene with an impossible pair, the glorious, drenched Madhubala and Kishore Kumar in his ridiculous comic-mechanic getup…beating up a rhythm with his wrench and hammer… in a garage! The slow sensuous opening of the song that is artfully deflected into a soft teasing is brilliantly rendered by Kishore’s voice that dramatizes all those complex emotions and the song works…it is one of the glorious moments of Indian cinema …it is impossible to imagine another pair or another situation in this song.

Dev Anand was looking for a new voice to define his screen persona and the SD-Kishore combination pretty much defined him in this decade as the youthful, romantic hero who woos his heroines with sophisticated flair. It is indeed difficult to imagine a rustic Dev(the Munimji disguise notwithstanding), and I often feel that Dada curbed or at least reworked his folksy touch in his Kishore songs in this decade to give Kishore’s voice an urban slant that helped distinguish his style initially from other singers.

For the romantic duets S D Burman used Shamshad and Geeta occasionally but ultimately paired him with Asha, not Lata. (“Dekho, Dekho Ji” from Naujawan is a notable if a not very noteworthy exception and “Dil Mein Hai Baat Aisi” does not really qualify as a duet with Kishore only contributing “Haanjis” in the song. He would use the Lata-Kishore pair heavily and to exquisite effect much later, in the seventies. )”Aankhon Mein Kya Ji” “Chod do aanchal” “Paach rupaiyya barah aana” and “Haal Kaisa Hai Janab Ka” are Asha and Kishore at their effervescent best: mischievous and melodious, effortlessly getting into the mood and the moment.

The fact that these songs were commercial successes as Dada had shrewdly envisaged was just the icing on the cake. The cake was really the enduring appeal and immediacy of these songs. There is a certain confidence in Kishore’s renditon of S D Burman’s songs in this decade, he does not sound like a singer on the threshhold of achieving his potential, he is already expressing it in “Jeevan ke safar mein raahi” and “Hum hain rahi pyar ke.” There is an immediacy that lends a warmth to the comic tracks of “Paach Rupaiyya” “Hum The Wo Thi” and “Babu Samjho Ishaare.” There is finally, the “Kishore” magic in the nuanced, sensuous strains of “O Nigahen Mastana” and “Hai hai hai ye nigahen” and the stunning “Ek Ladki bheegi bhagi si” that make these songs easily comparable to Kishore’s later, numerous triumphs in the seventies.

Post your Comment on this Blog

If your comments hit the moderation queue, comments will be moderated within 7 days.

37 Blog Comments to “Kishore Kumar and S D Burman in the Fifties : Recognizing a Genius.”


  2. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreda is undoubtedly the greatest singer of all times,better than Rafi & other singers due to his versatility,voice modulation & he also remains the most popular singer of all times.

  3. anil says:

    Kishores songs like “yeh jeevan hai”, “zindagi ka safr hai yeh kaisa sfar”, “mere naina sawan bhado a clssical sad song , aanewala pal, koi hota jisko apana req1uire more technical abilty than any of rafis songs.
    also kishore songs for dev anand were better than rafi phoolo ka taro kas great emotional depth, phooloke rangse has romaticism and zest far moe than tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai, dil aaj shayar hai is more serious than din dhal jaye, hum hai rahi pyar ke , yeh dil na ota bechara simply unmtavhed.
    kishores dukhi man mere was very sad and as god as rafis romantic khoya khoya chand.
    s.d burman used kishore fort he best numbers and fast numbers while rafi was offered slower numbers. the song from guide which topped charts was gata rahe mera dil. i like lata asha , kishore sd burman numbers from guide . comparatively rafi numbers are dull.
    in seventies rd burman almost always used kishore for all serious sad songs . rafi was used occassionally for western fast numbers and kawwalis.
    kishores sad song ” mere nasib me ae dost” with lots of urdu words simply beats Rafis many urdu oriented songs! in fact rafi ruled composers called muksh for sad songs but when kishore ruled most of the time sad philosophical songs were for kisore. mukesh was rarely consdered even by kalyanji anandji.
    Rafis voice seriously lacks depth and soul touching. he is ok in fast numbers western numbers or kawallis, bhajans but very poor on sad numbers.

  4. inder says:

    Dear Ravindran ji / Harvinder ji,

    It’s very natural that each one of us will have a favourite singer of our choice. You love rafi and I admire kishore. That’s perfectly fine. What each one of us do after a point is try to validate our views by judging based on our opinion or dragging in what other people had said. Everyone of us can do that very naturally. The same interview of lataji in bbc featured her saying that her favourite singer is kishore kumar, though she loved her songs with rafi more. You can watch the same on you tube. Ashaji had always sounded that she listens to songs of kishore and lata mostly and they are her favourite singers, alongwith mehendi hasan and bade gulam ali saab. Recently many newspapers and magazines have featured the same. For Manna de it was rafi. So there is no point in getting ourselves involved in this numero uno fight.

    Harvinder ji, as regarding changing voice to suit the actor is concerned, I think kishore was unmatched. If you have a doubt please listen to aake siddhi lagi in the male voice for pran, hum bolega toh bologe, again for pran, mere umar ke naujawano, chehera hain ya chand n other songs for rishi kapoor, meri bhigi bhigi si for sanjeev kumar, kehdu tumhe ya chup rahoo and wada karo for sashi kapoor. Do I need to mention about rajesh khanna or amitabh? for dev anand kishore was his voice as he had declared throughout. Please check out churi nahi yeh mera dil, main tasveer utharta hoon, yeh dil na hota bechara, pal bhar ke liye.

    Let’s stop this fight among ourselves based on unnecessary personal opinions and quotes and enjoy what they have created.

    Warm Regards

  5. S.Ravindran says:

    It is true that both Rafi Saab & Kishoreda were genius in their own rights . However Rafi Saab was miles ahead in rendering any type of song
    including few songs for Kishoreda , Where Kishoreda himself
    told the music directors Shankar – Jaikishan & O.P.Nayyar
    he could not get the song right . Well Lataji said in an interview to BBC
    one cannot have a voice like Rafi Saab ( woh Baghwan ki aaadmi the )
    for another 100 years . Mannada has said in many interviews that all
    singers including him were no match to Rafi Saab & God was too kind to
    Rafi Saab in giving him a Golden voice , heart & soul . Well if one listen to
    Dhukhi Man Mere one would get sleep & if one listen to Hai Hai Eni Gaye
    one can be awake . If one listens to Hum Bekhudhi me one would get sleep & if one listens to Jungle me Mornacha one can be awake .
    to say Rafi Saab puts you to sleep & kishoreda keeps you awake
    is ridiculous . I would not like to go to Dirty politics in Bollywood
    But every one knows the early 70’s to mid 70’s when Rafi saab by meticulous planning was kept out . Again I would say Kishoreda Talent
    was unmatched but as just a singer Rafi saab would remain Rafi Saab for one thousand years . Just read the article on Madanji composition
    Thumse Kahoon Ek Baath Halki Halki Halki

  6. mumbairkar8 says:

    I would like to add that I am a fan of K.K and a big fan of Ashaji.
    but the way Ashaji changes here view really annoys

  7. mumbaikar9 says:

    “SD Burman, RD Burman, Manna Dey, Lata Ji, Asha Ji themselves say that Kishore Da is the best among all Playback singers, India have produced,
    Jatinjican you prove the above statement.”

    the only only person I have heard say that is Asha bhonsle
    and I don’t truly care what she says because hse changes her view like her shoes.

  8. s.takwar says:

    u r all in hindi songs have a look (she jano amar kache ajo bosea ache ) and amar pujar phool just

  9. ZTAS 77 says:

    I agree that Kishore’s voice is unmatchable and indeed a great singer that proved on many of his great hits (I am a big fan of Kishore da and have a large collection of his songs and I play Kishore da songs probably slightly more than Rafi Sahab songs).
    Everyone’s voice is unmatchable that includes us !!!! But some people do have that gifted voice, so how can we compare Kishore da and Rafi sahab’s gifted voices! So two different voices and styles but however there is an edge in difference in technical range! I can go on for the next 5 hours of going into further detail but will try to keep this short as possible!

    I have been listening to popular hindi music for the past 31yrs, listening to a wide range of genres from classical bajans, ghazals, qawwalis, patriotic, folk, sad, devotional, philosophical, happy, rock & roll, cabaret, disco etc.. I have listened to songs from 40’s to present day and I’m well acquainted to all the singers in respect to their styles and technical abilities. I have great respect to these singers especially from the older generation, today singers cannot be compared at all. I am also well acquainted to almost all the music directors of past and present. Yes I’m a huge music fan !!!! So I can say I’m pretty much qualified to talk on this subject matter.

    Yes everyone will have their preference on singing styles, voices and styles of music compositions. As mentioned I am a huge Kishore fan and recognise this artist as the most talented artist of all in respect of being all round entertainer as well as a film maker! As a singer he has sung many great hits and these songs I really love! BUT I have acknowledged a few facts that need to be mentioned here! Yes he could sing a wide variety of genres BUT he was limited in technical ability in respect of classical styles!

    The majority of Kishore da’s biggest hits and his rise to the spot light as a top singer has been from the support of the Burmans especially from RD Burman, with his very catchy simple compositions which goes down very well. Kishore da’s peak of popularity would have not been so if it was not down to the support of SD and especially RD Burman. Now take RD Burman out of the picture and wonder what level Kishore da would have been as a singer? Even with RD Burman he knew Kishore da was slightly limited from a technical aspect despite RD used Kishore more than any other male singer in the 70’s & 80’s when it came to simple catchy rhythms. When it came to Qawwalis RD used Rafi Sahab more than Kishore da resulting in some huge hits !!!
    Lets not forget the RD composition of “Kya Hua Tera Vaada” from the film Hum Kisise Kum Nahin in 1977, Rafi sung this song so brilliantly that he won the Filmfare award and National award as this song became a massive craze !!! From the same film RD gave Rafi Sahab the title song in Qawwali form which again was a huge hit !!!. In fact RD gave both Rafi Sahab and Kishore da four songs each but Rafi Sahab had songs which required more technical ability than the songs of kishore da and this resulted in Rafi Sahab winning both these awards !!! Unfortunately Kishore da never won both Filmfare and National awards for an RD composition.

    Despite I listen to slightly more Kishore da songs than Rafi Sahab songs (probably due to the catchy composition styles of the 70’s) but I have acknowledged the were songs of Rafi Sahab that did have more technical ability than kishore da. Kishore da was no where near to Rafi Sahab when it came to classical styles and devotional songs! So in that respect I have observed the fact that Rafi Sahab did sing in more styles than Kishore da and other male singer of their time! Rafi Sahab also sung in more different languages than Kishore da. Despite Rafi Sahab was a muslim, he had sung Hindu devotional numbers in non-film albums better than Kishore da could do.

    You will find that the majority of highly respected artists (what I have observed from interviews etc..) acknowledge Rafi Sahab as the greatest singer of all.
    Even Lata ji quoted in a television documentary talking about Rafi Sahab, (as seen by myself) “We shall not hear a fine a voice as his (Rafi Sahab) for the next 100 years”) She also quoted in a 2009 Hindustan news article the following, “Rafi Saab is the biggest playback singer of all. In India, there was no such big playback singer. After K.L. Saigal, no singer had such an impact on listeners as Rafi Bhaiya had! His Voice had magic in it and he had the versatility to sing any and every type of song. I had sung duets with all famous male singers-Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar and Kishore Kumar–but, the pleasure of singing with Rafi Saab was altogether different. Rafi Saab used to precisely understand the exact way in which the Music Director wanted a song. And it sounded as if the actor/hero himself was singing the song”

    Even Kishore da had quoted saying if a singer could sing “I love you”, Rafi Sahab could sing it in 100 ways where I could only sing it in only 1 way”

  10. anil says:

    I think kishore’ songs for dev excel than rafi. dukhi man mere, dil aaj shayar hai mana janab ne , jeevan ke safar me , hum hai rahi pyar ke, phoole ke rangse, mana janab ne pukara nahi all are way of rafi’s ongs for dev .
    Also thye depth nin kishore’s songs of seventy /eighties is vastly more than rafi. there is more philosophy in some songs , more mmods to express .

  11. Mir Ashraf says:

    Both the twos are incomparable to each other. I enjoy both singing but personally I prefer KK. We’ll not have one more KK. We don’t need that.

  12. t k nandi says:

    it also raises question why sd reserved best songs of guide,jewel thief,tere ghar ke samne etc.,becos sd knew kk’s capability n limitations,dat’s why sd used rafi saab.

  13. t k nandi says:

    it raise total laughter to read dis comments.exactly dis words been said by same persons n almost all others about rafi saab.besides who cant sing classical,qwali,bhajan,high pitch song etc,how he can be called greatest? dis type of singer is seen in music competitions almost everyday.

  14. Jatin Kataria says:

    and when SD Burman, RD Burman, Manna Dey, Lata Ji, Asha Ji themselves say that Kishore Da is the best among all Playback singers, India have produced, what else do you want to listen!! end of discussion.. Kishore Da’s voice is unmatchable and we’re not gonna have this voice in another 1000 years…
    well i was born after Kishore Da departed from this earthly world, but still I havent heard anyone sing better. I respect Rafi too but theres simply no match!!
    so again,

    Band Karo ye Shor… Play only KISHORE!!!

  15. Jatin Kataria says:

    Band Karo Ye Shor!!!

    Play Only KISHORE!!!

    — A Timeless Voice — God Like —

  16. i think KK was a versetile voice..iam a great fan of him..if u love KK than must listen his bengoli songs…like chirodhini tumi je amar, Ek din pakhi ude, mor shopne ri shaki and amaro to gaan chilo….briliant songs by kishore

  17. Souradip Sinha says:


  18. M.H.Ejaz says:

    I am also interested to buy ‘dada’ live concerts on DVD , both solo and duets ??? thanks in advance!

  19. Shikore Shumar says:

    Does anyone know where I can buy KK’s or Rafi or Lata live stage shows on DVD, VCD or Video tapes

    Would appreciate your response with details of the shop or website

  20. Harvinder says:

    Praveen ji,
    Happy New year to you and all that are reading this blog.

    I disagree with you on a few accounts. My understanding is that Rafi saheb was a multi voice singer – his voice suited any actor and one could relate to the actor while listning to the song without having seen the movie or even knowing in almost all the cases. Kishore da sang with so much pathos and deep voice that actor could not be recognized – it was Kishore all the way. Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh and Dev may have looked fine lip singing Kishore da, but they never looked convincing as if they were singing. THIS SOMEWHAT EVENS OUT THE WAY ONE LOOKS AT IT.

    Talking of types of songs, Rafi saheb easily wins by way of variation. He sang bhajans, qawalis and patriotic songs in many folds more than Kishore da.

    Talking of clones, Rafi saheb’s voice was a normal persons voice with very sweet, clean, controlled and with great modulation and ultimate throw – This was his biggest asset besides being able to alter the pitch like turning a car at sharp bend at 100 KMs to 20 KMs in a split second. This has been endorsed by Manna Dey and Asha Bhonsle time and again. Rafi saheb’s clones can only reach about 40-50 %. Listen to Sonu’s sonngs in Rafi Saheb’s voice. Even the latest gadgets are not able to save him from being exposed. I agree all the clones of Kishore da have failed. No one can have the deep voice that Kishore da had, not even Rafi saheb.

    Repeat value is again a very personal choice. To me Rafi saheb and Lata ji are my all time personal favourites. Kishore da is very good, Asha ji is also very good along with others like Mukesh Saheb, Talat, Suman etc. But one can not get fed up of Rafi saheb or Lata ji – you may want a change in between, but the serenity of Rafi Saheb’s voice still haunts me when I listen to Meri Awaz Suno or Abhi na jao chhod har or Din Dhal jaaye or Phir Miloge kabhi is baat ka vaada kar lo.

    A great great admirer of Kishore da and a very close friend of mine, also a singer, gives up upon lisdtning to these songs – Humsafar saath apna chhod chale. Do not believe – please listen and comment.

    Best regards.

  21. Praveen says:

    Dear Harvinder, Raja and Arghya. Thanks for all your feedbacks. Really appreciate them. I followed Arghya’s suggestion and heard Rafi in a somber occasion and I must admit, Rafi sounds better and calms your inner feelings and emotions.
    My Dad who was a musician, played for many Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Manna songs and always talked about the greatness of Rafi and his calibre. So I do not have any hesitation is saying Rafi is definately a great singer.
    BUT, go back into the 1950s and imagine how KK must have felt to be among singers like Lata, Rafi, Manna, Hemant, Talat, Mukesh. Composers like Naushad, Salil C, ect….KK was a sore thumb, unwanted and often ridiculed and he sang low calibre songs
    To be among these above greats and reach where KK has reached is just remarkable. Most singers stayed in their groove and genre.
    KK stood out and entertained the audience in acting, singing, composing ect…KK changed the music scores, modulated his voice to suit all his hero’s, sang a variety of genres (disco, pop, sad, happy, sentimental, emotional, meanigful songs). As I said before, there are millions of Rafi clones around us But NO ONE CAN SING LIKE KK. This unique quality is what I admire in any person. KK battled through and made history.
    The others had a easy time all along but did nothing to challenge the composers or change the music notations. They were good singers. Moreover KKs songs do not need any occasion. They suit all occasions.
    Not many people will stop and watch Dravid bat. But when Sachin bats, the world stops. This is how I compare these 2 great singers. Of all the songs these 2 singers have sung, 60% Rafi songs are worth listening again, but KK has over 90% songs which have hugh repeat value.
    KK will survive any era, even today. Rafi fitted in well in the 60’s
    Look forward to your feedback

  22. Raja says:

    Praveen post 13. You remind me of my teen age son. Whenenever I play Rafi saheb/Kishore da/Lata ji, he gets bored within half an ah hour. He is more comforatable listning to todays’ singers living in Canada. Yet whenever I play a duplicate Sonu Nigam or any other clone of Rafi Saheb, he says “this is not original”

    Praveen ji – You have your opioion and that is yours. Kishore da was great, but Rafi saheb was the greatest for variety and pios voice. “Yun to hume lakh haseen dekhen hain tumsa nahin dekha” = To me there can not be a singer like Rafi Sahen. He was Sir Garlield Sobers. Yes Kishore da was genius like Brian Lara, Sachin or even Vivian Richards, but Sir Garlield Sobers to Woh hi the.

    With geatest respect for Kishore Saheb, my favourire remains Mohd Rafi Saheb.

  23. arghya says:

    Dear Praveen,

    I think you chose Rafi songs on a wrong occassion. Try them out in your isolation in the evening time sitting at your balcony and you will find songs like ‘Din dhal jaye’ or ‘Kabhi khud pe’ or ‘Man re’ can really take you to a spirited and heavenly experience.

    Try them out…

  24. Harvinder says:

    This is to welcome Mr Praveen (post # 13) for his personal analysis. No matter how much one tries to be neutral and admirer of Rafi saheb and Kishore da alike, there has to be a marginal favorite, which in your case happens to be Kishore da – which is fine. I listen to music atleast three hours a day on CD’s + Radio. I am a greater fan of Rafi Saheb and onviously 60 % of the songs in my CD’s are his and the rest Lata ji, Kishore a, Asha and the rest. I am heavily inclined towards 60’s songs and I could be biased, one for that was the age I first heard learnt to hear and speak, secondly it has been universally accepted that 60’s was a golden era of music in India and the rest of the world.

    There have been times when I aso felt that I was listning too much of Rafi saheb, but upon listning to other male singers for a couple of days, I go back to my favorite for his all round package. He was Sir Garfiled Sobers, who also incidently peaked in 60’s.

  25. Praveen says:

    Hello Team. First timer so a wee bit nervous. Read and enjoyed all your articles. I live in Auckland but originally a mumbaikar. I agree with you all that KK is definately a great singer. In fact I have been reading, analysing all his songs. I also compared his voice to Rafi and did a small experiment. I had a 6 hour drive recently and I had 2 CDs loaded with all the best of Rafi and KK songs in my car. I initially played Rafi songs and 40 mins later was falling asleep while driving (not good). I changed it to KK songs and felt totally refreshed and was able to make my journey with ease. What I found was that although Rafi is a qualified, trained singer, his voice actually puts you to sleep. Some of the song wordings are too rich, the music is somewhat boring and the voice does not hit you. With KK its totally different. His voice is sharp, rich, deep, has a nasal and a base tone (very rare), his timing is supurb, voice modulation, word clarity, creating the song mood, his own add on’s to improve the song, song music is creative and fun and what I found that his LANDING notes are just awesome. There is no flutter in his voice which hits the mike straight and into your heart.
    Although SD, RD and KK had some gr8 songs, I think the song “Guzar Jaye Din” by Salil C is worth mentioning. This song had 15 re takes and KK had nightmares after singing this song. Song sounds easy but the tune is very tricky. Lots of movement in the octaves, highs, lows, voice pitching, pacy music which changes quickly. I do not think any other singer could sing this song
    I hope I have summed up these two singers. In cricket terms, Rafi is like Dravid (too technical) and KK is like Sachin (entertainer)
    This is why we have plenty of Rafi clones around us but NO ONE can sing like KK. He is truly a rare singer. We will never have a singer like him again on this planet
    Look forward for some feedback from the team

  26. Jaychandra says:

    I just felt like a child who got lots of cookes. The site gives me a lot to know that I have been craving to read & know for past several years. Thanks all & specifically to Madhavi for this article – JB

  27. sukhjit sinh makkar says:

    the kishore da songs that i always love to hear :
    1. tune hamen kya diya ri zindagi ( zindagi zindagi )2. meri neendon mein tum ( dilli ka thug ?) 3. mere mehboob qayamat hogi 4. ajnabi, tum jaane pehchane se lagte ho 5. maana janab ne pukara nahin 6. zindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safa 7. jeevan se bhari teri aankhen 8. all songs of amar prem and kati patang 9. o hansini 10. shokhiyon mein ghola jaye 11. kahan tak yeh man ko andhere chalenge 12. uff! kitni thandi hai yeh rut ( teen deviyan ) 13.ek ladki bheegi bhagi si 14. woh thi ham the aur sama 15.maana janab ne pukara nahin 16. dil aaj shayar hai 17.both songs of mili 18. aap ki aankhon mein kuch 18. hamen tumse pyaar kitna 19. o mere dil ke chain 20. pal pal dil ke paas 21. suniye kahiye 22. manzilen apni jagah hain , 23. kisi baat par main kisi se khafa hoon 24. koyi hota jisko apna ham apna kah lete yaaron. and all songs of his own door gagan ki chaon mein. this probably is the best of the great kishoreda.

  28. Rajesh says:

    dear madhavi, neel and others,

    no comparision between the two great singers. they had their own style and versatility. i am a fan of hindi music but i do not sing myself. however, i can say for sure that there is a song for every time of the day of mine and my mood and i enjoy them passionately. the contribution of these great masters – music directors, singers and lyricists cannot be surpassed in times to come. an excellent informative blog which brings nostalgic memories of such songs.

  29. Harvinder says:

    Neel ji/ Makkar ji,
    This is the first time I am writing in Kishore Saheb’s blog. I respect and admire both legends Rafi Saheb and Kishore da. I am not an expert on music, neither do I consider Dev Anand Saheb an expert as far as music goes. He can only talk of his suitability. Most successful actors picked the singer of their choice. When I analyse Dev Anand’s quality songs, I find Rafi saheb songs exceed Kishore da songs. Dev Anand also claimed on you tube that he took liking for Kishore da when he first saw him raw coming from a small town wearing pyjamas. Fact remains that Rafi saheb’s voice gave Dev Saheb debonair image. By Dev saheb’s interview 10-15 years ago, his favorite songs are AA) Abhi na jao chhod kar – he calls it ultimate in romantism and BB) Din dhal jaaye – Guide, which he claims will melt a stone.

    I am disturbed by listning to Dev saheb lately – his mental health is failing. The people who met him in the past 2-3 years endorse this.

  30. sukhjit sinh makkar says:

    sorry , i missed out hum dono from this list of the fantastic dev anand – rafi saab combos .

  31. P. Mukherjee says:

    Simply delightful. Kishore Kumar’s songs shall remain with us forever but the effort gone behind these songs ( of SD Burman especially) one comes to know from your article. I can’t help but have to say a big thank you.

  32. Neel says:

    Sukhjit Sinh Makkar,

    No doubt that Rafi has sung some brilliant gems for Dev Anand. However, it must be said during that era which you speak of, there was a misunderstanding with S.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar as reported by Amit Kumar. Reportedly, they sorted out their differences with Teen Deviyan. Also, Dev Anand himself has said on many occasions that while he loved the songs Rafi sang for him, he always considered his true voice Kishore Kumar. Check out Dev Anand’s verbatim quote from Ganesh Anatharam’s book Bollywood Melodies: “If you will ask me, I will say Kishore’s voice suited me the best. I maintain that Kishore, at his best, was better than every other singer, including Rafi.”

  33. sukhjit sinh makkar says:

    I am a die hard Rafi fan, but that does not stop me from loving and appreciating Kishore da’ssongs and voice.
    ther is one thing, though, which has intruigued me all these years.only you all can answer this.
    every one talks of the dev anand kishore da jodi and their Burman da combo.
    where was this combo in the peak of dev anands career when virtually every movie of his carried rafi saab’s voice – start with nau do gyarah, where rafi saab sang for dev anand for the first time , cid , kala pani, kala bazaar , tere ghar ke saamne, asli naqli,( sj) sharabi ( mm), jab pyar kisi se hota hai ( sj ) ,bambai ka babu,teen deviyan( 2 gems ) and the final plum, guide ? ; this was the golden period of dev anand . i love kishore da, but i love rafi saab just that much more . idea is to put things in perspective .

  34. Neel says:


    Thanks for your reply. As far as the musical quality of Pyar goes, I agree with you that it’s not up to S.D. Burman’s usual standards. However, from a historical standpoint, I thought it was significant, if for no other reason than simply because of Raj Kapoor. As far as Kishore Kumar’s voice is considered, again, I agree that it does sound a bit nasal. I’m taking a guess here, but it might have been because in Kishore’s earliest songs, the Saigal influence kept creeping in here and there. Or maybe he was just trying to suit Raj Kapoor as Mukesh’s voice was also a bit nasal! 🙂 I guess we’ll never know for sure. But like you pointed out, it doesn’t take anything away from Kishore Kumar. One thing that does intrigue me as you pointed out, is the why S.D. Burman chose Kishore for the movie. That’s one reason we may never know for sure either. Maybe it was because at this stage in his career, S.D. Burman was the only one who stood by Kishore and regularly made him sing songs for other heroes besides Dev Anand and himself i.e. Karan Diwan, Premnath like you stated in your article. That factor could have led to S.D. Burman giving Kishore every opportunity he could, one of those films being Pyar.

  35. Madhavi says:

    Neel and Sunny,

    Thanks for reading and appreciating the article. Neel, as you rightly pointed out, I should have mentioned the fact that SD gave Kishore his first break in films. While writing my article I tried to focus on the S D Burman-Kishore output in the fifties and the quality of the songs they produced, which was so significantly different from what he produced for other music directors, some of whom were as talented as S D Burman. That is also one of the reasons why I chose not to mention the Pyar album. The songs are good, but they do not, for me, qualify for competing in the list of Kishore’s best songs. Kishore’s voice does seem more nasal in this album, which is certainy not a disqualification in itself, but it simply does not sound like Kishore’s voice especially not the way Kishore Kmar sounds in S D Burman’s other albums. That said, Pyar is an intriguing album. I would like to have a little more information about it before speculating on S D’s reason for using Kishore as the sole male voice in this album. S D gave him a range of songs in this album, two solos, one sad, one comic and amongst the three duets, two were light romantic ones with Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum and one sad one with Geeta Dutt. In fact “Ek hum aur doosre tum” was the first time Kishore and Geeta sang together. Dada seems to have been experimenting with teaming up Kishore’s voice with different female singers. And I just noted while listening to that song…that when Kishore hums….”Ho ho ho ho ho… ” it sounds remarkably like the “thandi hawayen ” song.


  36. Neel says:

    Excellent article! But you didn’t mention a significant S.D. Burman-Kishore Kumar film, Pyar (1950). It was the first and only film in which Kishore Kumar sang for Raj Kapoor. Also, it was S.D. Burman who gave Kishore his debut in Bollywood by making him sing a few lines in Shikari (1946) before Ziddi. This was stated by Kishore Kumar himself in his radio tribute to S.D. Burman. Surely these anecdotes are worth a mention when talking about S.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar’s relationship.

  37. Sunny says:

    Most people refer to the RD/Kishore combine, but few realise this team (SD/Kishore) too was equally awesome.

Post your Comment on Facebook

Visit our other dedicated websites
Asha Bhonsle Hamara Forums Hamara Photos Kishore Kumar Mohd Rafi Nice Songs Shreya Ghoshal