For a few hours on Monday, the people of Khandwa seemed to have forgotten about the prevailing communal tension in their town, as they came out to celebrate the 85th birth anniversary of legendary singer Kishore Kumar. The versatile artiste was born in Khandwa on August 4, 1929.
The local administration relaxed curfew from 7am to 5pm on Monday with normalcy slowly returning to the town. Most markets, schools and banks were also opened. The authorities have decided to relax the curfew from 6am till 8pm on Tuesday as well.
The shadow of curfew and rains, however, didn't deter Kishore fans from celebrating his birthday. The Kishore Prerna Manch in association with the Khandwa Municipal Corporation held a programme to pay tributes to the singer.
The programme started during the curfew-relaxation period. Kishore fans and music lovers went nostalgic as radio stations and television channels played his songs throughout the day.
District magistrate Shilpa Gupta, superintendent of police Manoj Sharma and dozens of schoolchildren offered floral tributes at his memorial. The DM and the SP also sang his songs.
The Kishore Prerna Manch distributed milk and jalebi, which the singer used to relish, on the occasion. A few Kishore fans also came to Khandwa from other parts of the country. One such fan was Dwarka Das Soni, who came all the way from Rajkot, Gujarat. "I come here twice a year—on his birthday and on his death anniversary. I knew that the city was under curfew but I still took the chance and came to pay my homage," he said.
Many young and budding singers look up to Kishore Kumar for inspiration. "He was a perfect artiste with unmatchable versatility. I am very inspired by him," said Nitin Singh, a local singer.