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Kishore Kumar: The maverick singer with an emotional voice

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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The bench mark of a successful singer is the clones that he generates and the number of times his songs are chosen for bathroom singing by all the romantics who have either fallen in love, fallen out of it, or on the verge of preparing themselves to tease the girl for subsequent emotional attachment. No other singer, but Kishore Kumar qualifies on that count and this in itself is the barometer of the immense popularity that Kishore Kumar still enjoys as the consummate ease that he brought into the songs that he sang is what forms the catalysis for triggering such a legendary fan is following. Were he to be alive today he would be celebrating his seventy eighth birthday.

Making his debut along with Dev Anand as an actor singer in the same film in which Dev Anand made his debut, ZIDDI, he rose to the dizzying heights of being single handedly responsible for contributing majorly in creation of iconic image of three mega super stars who spanned across three generations, they being Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. In particular, Rajesh Khanna would not have become Rajesh Khanna but for the fact that Kishore Kumar started giving playback for Rajesh Khanna. This was also evident from the fact that when the ascendancy of Amitabh Bachchan started Kishore Kumar became his voice and whenever Amitabh crooned, it always appeared as if indeed AB was singing.

Aligning himself fortuitously with the fortunes of Dev Anand possibly owing to the debut that they made together, he sang one of the most romantic songs that were ever sung on the Indian silver screen. It was a tribute to his singing ability that inspite of operating with the handicap of not being trained any classical nuances, which was the requiem during the time, when he made his debut, he left behind hid peers like Mohammed Rafi Mukesh and Manna Dey to emerge as the numero uno voice. In fact while Rafi and Manna Dey were forced to start singing for character artists, he continued to rule roost. This was owing to the emotions that he could inject into his songs. The ultimate example of this was in the duet that he sang along with Mohammed Rafi in CHUPKE CHUPKE, "Sare Gama."... where his was the main voice and Rafi was singing the interludes. It was owing to his voice that a trend of competitive singing started between two male singers, starting with CHALTI KAA NAAM GADI along with MANNA DEY to PADOSAN with Manna Dey, and flowering through KARZ, HUM KISSI SE KUM NAHIN, ZAMANE KO DIKHANA HAI, DO AUR DO PAANCH etc with Mohammed Rafi. His immense success as a playback singer was probably owing to the fact that he was also an actor, so he could bring about a combined output of an actor singer into all the songs that he sang, as the emotional core flew out from the actor that Kishore Kumar was.

This sensitivity of an actor leveraging his acting abilities into the songs was particularly manifest in the films that he made like DOOR GAGAN KI CHAANV MEIN, and JHUMRU. Kishore Kumar would probably be the only singer actor in the world who gave both male and female playback for the same song in DILLI KA THUG. An ardent fan of K L Sehgal, whenever he was in flow and for a humorous situation, he always sang songs which reminded one of Sehgal. He was the only singer who introduced the nonsense prose into the songs, which could not be emulated later by any of the singers, the way he rendered the dry verses and mambo jumbos is what made Kishoreda a unique singer. The yoodling was his USP and continues to remain so.

It has been more than 15 years that Kishore Kumar walked away into the sunset, but the clones that have generated have adopted one of the special styles in parts of Kishore Kumar, and there has been nobody till date who can again create that lilting music. He was a man who was at times idiosyncratic and moody, but it was these traits that made him what he was. He was also the man who lifted humor to an exalted status which is a feat that remains still unparalleled. Had he been alive today, along with Dev Anand he could have created the old magic when Dev Anand celebrates his eightieth birthday this year later.

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