#365DaysOfWriting – Day Eighty-Eight
Happy, happy birthday Kishoreda.
If I start telling you about the influence this man has had on my life, I’ll probably write enough for an entire encyclopaedia set right now.
His songs need no introduction. I’ve listened to him from the age of 3. The Rajesh Khanna-RD Burman-Kishore Kumar Trinity was probably the greatest in Bollywood. But even that formed only part of his illustrious career. I’m currently listening to two classics – Gaadi Bula Rahi hai from Dost and Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi from Mr. X in Bombay. And guess who’s the music director on both? No, not RD Burman but that genius duo, Laxmikant-Pyarelal. He’s even sung for Hemantda (Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi from Khamoshi) and of course, SD Burman – many felt that he was SD Burman’s favourite singer.
Look at the picture I’ve uploaded of his.
He was a madcap genius in every sense of the word. And quite often, unfortunately, his singing overshadowed another equally potent talent of his – acting. Kishore Kumar was a brilliant, brilliant actor, especially while doing comedy. His comic timing was unparalleled.
I’m going to list down a few of my favourite performances of his.
- Padosan: His turn as Vidyapathi is one of Bollywood’s most iconic comic roles. He performed a double jugalbandi in this film – one was singing, where he partnered with the peerless Manna Dey to give us one of the best duets of all time with Ek Chatur Naar Badi Hoshiyar. The other was his comic partnership with Mehmood – as rival musicians going hilariously for each other’s throats. This may have been a landmark film for Sunil Dutt, but for me, it was Kishoreda who stole the show.
- Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi: The Manu-Renu romance. Manu = Kishore Kumar. Renu = Madhubala. The three Ganguly brothers – including Ashok and Anoop. And Kishore Kumar’s singing. This movie had everything going for it. And with this, Kishore showed us he can be romantic on screen too! There was sizzling chemistry across the film – be it amongst the three brothers, or between Madhubala and Kishoreda.
- Sadhu Aur Shaitaan: There’s an entire sequence between Kishoreda and Mehmood in a taxi that leaves me laughing for hours on end. Mehmood has a dead body in his taxi he’s completely unaware of (dead body played by Pran) and Kishore Kumar plays a classical musician travelling in the taxi, completely petrified by the body and unable to tell Mehmood about it. Brilliant writing and comic timing. There’s Sunil Dutt in a special appearance as well.
- Dilli Ka Thug: It features one of Kishore’s best romantic numbers – Ye Raatein Ye Mausam – sung alongside Asha Bhonsle. But the film showed us Kishoreda’s penchant for action sequences and a slightly grey role (he plays a conman).
- Mr. X in Bombay: Kishoreda has even dabbled in a bit of science fiction – to hilarious results, because how do you add Bollywood melodrama to a science fiction film, right? However, he mesmerises us with his voice, and even though he’s invisible through a great part of the film, it’s silly, romantic sci-fi in which he manages to shine.