Kishore Kumar, also known as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, had an extraordinary and multifaceted career in his time. He was a playback singer, music director, lyricist, film director, producer, screenwriter and even an actor. Fondly called Kishore Da, his songs ranged from soft numbers to peppy tracks to romantic classics.
While many initially knew him as the younger brother of established actor Ashok Kumar, Kishore went on to chart his own course. Despite some successful films under his belt, Kishore hated acting. He soon developed a serious interest in singing. His songs including Tum bin jaaon kahan, Zindagi ek safar hai suhana and Chala jata hoon became a instant hit.
Songs like Khaiyke Paan Benaras Wala, Iss Mod Se Jaatey Hain, Yeh Shaam Mastani, and Tum Aa Gaye Ho among others showed his prowess as a singer despite having no professional training in classical music.
On his 90th birth anniversary today, here are some of the lesser-known facts about the legendary singer who will continue to be celebrated for his melodious voice and timeless tracks.
*Kishore Kumar wasn’t a trained singer. He didn’t know any of the raags.
*In a 1985 interview with Pritesh Nandy, Kishore Kumar was famously quoted as saying, “What’s wrong with making friends with trees?”
*As a multilingual, Kishore Kumar could sing in as many as 10 Indian languages including Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Malayalam, Oriya, and Kannada.
*Kishore da was very particular about his remuneration. Once a producer paid him half in advance and said that he would like to pay the rest once the film is completed. The next day, Kishore Kumar shocked everybody when he appeared with half of his head and moustache shaved! and he told everybody that he would continue appearing like this in every shot until he is given the full amount!
*In the song Aake seedhi lage dil pe from the movie Half Ticket, he sang both the male and female playback versions – quite a feat singing a duet simultaneously. The female part was supposed to be sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
*There used to be a signboard outside his bungalow that read ‘Beware of Kishore’.
*The inspiration behind Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’s popular song Panch Rupaiya Barah Aana was based on the Rs 5.75 that Kumar owed his college canteen in Indore. In the song, he also romanced with Madhubala who would later on become his second wife.