By Onkar Singh
Kishore Kumar was one of the versatile playback singer, actor, lyricist-composer producer-director and screenwriter of Indian cinema. He remained active from 1949 until his death in 1987. He was famous for singing upbeat light songs, and light comical acting roles. However in his long career, he worked in almost every capacity in the Hindi films industry; not only as a singer and actor but also as a screenwriter, producer, director, and script writer.
Kishore Kumar was born in a Bengali family in Khandwa as Abhas Kumar Ganguly. His father Kunjalal Ganguly was a lawyer and his mother Gouri Devi came from a wealthy family. Kishore was the youngest of his siblings with the older three Ashok, Sati Devi, and Anoop.
After Ashok became a star at Bollywood, the Ganguly family visited Mumbai regularly. It was then that Abhas Kumar changed his name to “Kishore Kumar” and started his cinema career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies. His first film appearance was in “Shikari” in which his brother worked. Though he got into a lot of films after Shikari yet his real interest was in singing and he didn’t want to pursue acting as his career.
His few commercially success were Ladki, Naukri, Baap re Baap etc.
Credited of spotting Kishore talent goes to Music Director S. D. Burman who heard Kishore singing thus recorded his voice for Dev Anand’s Muniumji and a lot more. With this, his singing career grew and he recorded several songs thus adding them to his bucket list.
Kishor Kumar sang the most number of songs in his career for Rajesh Khanna. Kumar sang 245 songs picturized on Rajesh Khanna across 92 films which are an unbeatable record for a singer-actor combination. He also sang 202 for Jeetendra, 119 for Dev Anand and 131 for Amitabh in his entire lifetime
In the 1970s and 1980s, he also produced and directed a lot of movies. Pyar Zindagi Hai, Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi were some notable productions.
Kishore Kumar on coming to awards has received numerous awards in his lifetime. Starting from best playback singers to Filmfare awards.
Kishore Kumar occupies a special place in Hindi cinema. But, surprisingly, there have hardly been any in-depth biographies on him. A few years ago, there were talks in Bollywood about making a biopic. During a trip to Kolkata, actor Ranbir Kapoor once spoke of his eagerness to play the part. And it’s easy to see why. For an actor worth his salt, a complex, colourful character like Kishore Kumar’s would be the role of a lifetime.