Kishore Kumar is probably India’s most heard singer, even after 29 years of his death on October 13, 1987. Kishore, who gave the world immortal songs such as ‘Dekha ek khwaab’ from Silsila (1981) and ‘Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si’ from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), among others, is fondly remembered till date for his acting, playback singing and film productions. Here, we look at some of his best films as an actor.
New Delhi (1956)
Kumar began his career as an actor with Shikari (1946), but his acting talent was taken seriously only in the mid-50s. This was the time when New Delhi released, in which he played a Punjabi boy who falls in love with a Tamilian girl (played by Vyjayanthimala). Kumar got a lot of accolades for his comic timing, which was the highlight of the film. The movie also had good music with ‘Nakhrewali’, sung by legend himself, being one of its most memorable tracks.
Kumar played a good-hearted man, who is falsely accused of a murder, in this thriller. The film showcased another side of the actor, as someone who can handle drama and emotions. Not many are aware about this film, but its hit song, ‘Ina Meena Dika’, gets people swaying even today.
Chalti Ka Naam Gadi (1958)
Kumar’s popularity as an actor was at an all-time high when Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi hit the theatres. In the film, he teamed up with his brothers Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar. The movie had some iconic tracks such as ‘Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si’ and “Haal kaisa hai janaab ka’. Many believe that the actor wanted the film to flop, but it turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the year.
Half Ticket (1962)
He teamed up with Madhubala once again for this film. It showcased the versatility of the actor as he impersonated a 12-year-old. The highlight of the movie, however, was the song ‘Aake seedhi laagi dil pe’. Kumar sang not only the male but also the female version of the number, and also dressed in drag for the track.
Though he was not the lead actor in the film, he was the main catalyst in the story moving forward. He played a pan-chewing music maestro, who helps his friend (Sunil Dutt) snag the love of his life (Saira Banu). The film also brought together comedy legends such as Kumar and Mehmood in an on-screen comedy battle that remains one of cinema’s most memorable moments.