Kishore Kumar Trivia

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Kishore Kumar Trivia

My father Kunjalal Ganguli, was a pleader (advocate) who earned Rs 30 a month. My mama, Dhananjay Banerjee, a classical singer, was the only family link I had with  music. But I was never trained to be a singer. It was my brother Dadamoni who  learnt music from the well-known Saraswati Devi.

Very early in life I was fascinated by K.L. Saigal. I used to save my pocket  money to buy his records. He’s my real guru.

In Padosan, I  mimicked my mama – long hair, kajal in the eyes, constant paan-chewing and the  works. My performance was so perfect that shooting was halted after two days.  Both Mehmood and Sunil felt that I was stealing every scene from them, and they got down to working on their get-ups. That’s how Mehmood and Sunil got to  earing wigs etc.

When I married  Leena I didn’t expect to be a father again. After all, I was in my fifties  then. But Sumeet has been a source of immense joy to me. Leena, Amit, Sumeet  and I today make a well-adjusted foursome. I had always longed for a secure,   happy family. It remained just a dream until Leena came along. With her, for  the first time, I have achieved emotional security.

I was surprised  when “Lata agreed to do stage shows with me in London. Though I was  thrilled, I was worried about one thing – her discipline. She would never go on  stage without proper rehearsal. But I like to take things easy. We had to sing  five duets: Chai pe bulaya hain (Souten), Gata rahe mera dil (Guide), Jai jai  shiv shankar (Aap ki Kasam), Accha to hum chalte hain (Aan Milo Sajana) and  Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera (Aradhana). The problem arose when it was time for  us to go on stage. We couldn’t decide who should go first. I suggested that  Lata sing first because she was my senior. But she didn’t. Instead she went on stage to introduce me. She praised me a lot, but made it a point to add,  “I call him Da because he is older to me”. Yes, I’m one month and 24  days older than her! We did three shows in Wembley. During the first one there  was a problem because organizer had publicized that we’d be singing  “Angrezi mein kehte hain I love you”(Khuddar). But Lata refused to  sing the song because it contained the word ‘idiot’ in it. Again she put her  foot down against “Pag ghungroo” (Namak Halal) because she said it  belittled Meerabai. Instead, she said, I should sing a bhajan. I was nonplussed  because I couldn’t remember any. Finally, I managed to sing one – Hari naam ka  pyaala -rendered originally by S.D. Burman. It was received with great  applause.

“I am a  crazy fan of Topol’s. When we were in London, I saw an advertisement of  “Fiddler on the Roof” in the drama section of a newspaper. I thought  they’d made a mistake. When I checked, I was told that there WAS a stage show  of “Fiddler…”. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I had seen the  film at least a hundred times and now I had an opportunity to see my favorite  actor perform right in front of me. Would you believe it, I attended all the  four consecutive shows. I went backstage to introduce myself to Topol and even  took his autograph. I still remember the date – September 9, 1983. He presented  me a copy of his autobiography, Topol by Topol, and I presented him the records  and cassettes of my songs. In 1960, he was only 48-49 but still he played the  old man so beautifully. I think nobody, just nobody, can perform the way Topol  did in Fiddler. He actually sings through the whole film. Neither Dilip Kumar  nor Ashok Kumar can match him.”

My brother Ashok  discouraged Anoop and me from joining films. You are a pair of donkeys, he  said”, Kishore Kumar gleefully narrated to Filmfare in 1955.

When Ashok Kumar  became a favorite Bombay Talkies hero, Kishore was still at college ”trying to get through examinations”.

“I could do  little else besides sing” Kishore said frankly. “I was never good at  studies so I used to compose different tunes for different subjects. For  instance I composed a tune for a paragraph on the Malthusian theory of  population.”

The Gangulys used  to visit Bombay once a year. During one of these visits Kishore was asked by  the music director, Khemchand Prakash  to sing for Dev Anand in Ziddi. Kishore  became very popular as a playback singer and got many assignments, but even then he was not very serious about a film career.

In a diary he wrote for Filmfare in 1957, Kishore talked of Ashok. “I’m in  fifth form and I’m very proud of my brother. Hasn’t Ashok Kumar Ganguly of  Khandwa become a film star?”

Jeevan Naiya,  Ashok’s first film, comes to Khandwa. Kishore and a few friends of his, all  fans of Master Vithal and other action heroes of stunt films, eagerly go to see  “Big brother laying low a dozen villains”, but are disappointed. It’s  a soft sentimental film – and Ashok Kumar even puts up with a slap from another  character. “That very night,” said Kishore, “I write Dadamoni a  letter, telling him he had better swing his fists around a bit in his next film  or he will lose a number of fans in Khandwa.”

In the same  diary, Kishore recalled attending a night shooting of Mahal, starring Ashok  Kumar and Madhubala, at Filmistan Studios in Bombay. During a break in  shooting, Kishore gave Madhubala a big fright putting on “a grotesque mask  with a drooping moustache” which he had taken along with him. Years later,  he was to marry her.

Writing an  interview with Kishore in 1970, a Filmfare staffer noted that it added to ”that well-known Kishore Kumar mystique of lack of continuity and endless  little puzzlements.”

Though Kishore  didn’t appear from or disappear into any cupboards during the interview, he did  exit, for no particular reason, through a rear door of the room and re-entered  through the front door enjoying immensely the journalist’s momentary  bafflement.

The room had  photographs of Rabindranath Tagore, Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand and a painting of  “The Last Supper”. The interview recorded that Kishore’s dislikes  were telephone calls, tax problems, cigarette smoke, alcohol and the studio  routine.

Kishore Kumar had  put a “Beware of Kishore” sign at the door of his Warden Road flat,  where he stayed for some time while his bungalow was being done up. Once, the  producer-director H. S. Rawail, who owed him some money, visited his flat to  pay the dues. Kishore Kumar took the money, and when Rawail offered to shake  hands with him, he reportedly put Rawail’s hand in his mouth, bit it, and asked  “Didn’t you see the sign?”.

Kishore Kumar got  an admission in a prestigious college in Indore post his matriculation. He had  acute stage fright then. He used to sing from behind the curtains and never  faced the audience. When he left for Bombay, it is said that he owed an amount  of Rs 5.75 to his college canteen. This probably may be the inspiration for the ”Paanch Rupaiya Barah Aana ” song in his ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi”.

Kishore Kumar was  very fond of Sachin Dev Burman and used to respect him a lot. During a  recording of his song, SD Burman had a heart attack, and was admitted to the  hospital. Kishore Kumar rushed to the hospital and promised him to complete the recording. Not only he kept his promise, he sang it with such elan that it went  on to become one of his signature song in the days to come — “Badi sooni  sooni hai…”

In another crazy  incident, Kishore Kumar once drove straight to Khandala from the film set by  his car. The director was apparently unmindful and forgot to say  “CUT” in a car scene where Kishore was supposed to drive. Kishore  Kumar started the car and kept driving as the director didn’t say cut…

Kishore da was  very particular about his remunerations. 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!

Kishore Kumar was  known for his pranks and caricatures. Once he started acting as if he had his  son accompanying  everywhere. he would talk to the little kid and reply  himself with a different voice. If he didnt like a song while recording, he  would say in the child’s voice “baba yeh gana achha nahi hai”. Then  he would say “nahin beta aise nahi bolte, ghar pe jake bolna” and so  on. This continued for so long that his coleagues got used to his ‘manas putra’  (The child of imagination)

The song  “Khai ke pan Banaraswala” was first composed for Dev Anand’s  “Banarasi Babu”. When Kalyanji-Anandji approached Kishore  Kumar for  this song, Kishore disliked the lyrics and refused to lend his voice for the  songs. But when the Musician duo convinced Kishore that the situation as well  as times demand such song, Kishore agreed. The hearsay goes, Kishore chewed  dozen of pans while recording the song . In “Don”the picturisation  was so authentic that Kishore and Amitabh were for each other.



  1. abhishek  January 29, 2013

    kishore da app jaisa koi na koi tha na koi hai na hi koi hoga……………….one end only kishore kumar

    mein apko bahut miss karta hoon …………kash mein apko dekh pata……………….mein jab bhi apke

    gaane sunta hoon un mein kho jata hoon ……………app jaha bhi ho …………app hamesha hamare dil

    mein rahogey……………………kishore da app itni jaldi kyun chaley gaye ……………..mein yeh soch ker

    bahut roota hoon …………………….i miss you kishore da…………… are god of indian music…………..miss you……

  2. Ashwani Kumar  August 22, 2012

    Kishore Da, you are simply great. You are blessed with the great and sentimental voice by the God. Aapki aawaj se dil ek dam se khush ho jata hai. I am habitual of your voice. Aapke is bhagat ka aapko lakho salaam. Jay Ho Kishore Da

  3. RANJAN TALUKDAR  January 12, 2012

    Jay Kishore Kumar…..

    Long Live Kishore Da….

  4. Mukesh sharma  December 8, 2011

    Kishore kumar ji Aap itni jaldi kyo chalay gaye,
    i missed u alot.
    kaash may aapsay mil pata,
    aapko real may dekh pata,
    suchmay may aapka sabsay bada
    chahnay vaala hu.
    I love u with the deapth of my heart.
    may aapko aaj bhe bahot yaad karta hu,
    or aapkay gaano may kho jaata hu.


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