Who do you call a legend - an original inimitable warbler, who refuses to be wiped off one's memory even after many years of his passing away, a singer unsurpassed, an incomparable actor and a genius who could script, write lyrics, raise ludicrous situations in films with his one liner punches and characteristic humour along with enacting grief and pity with equal ease.
Kishore - the actor or Kishore the singer, whose school of individualistic technique remains unparalleled till today despite as many as a score of imitations spawning the musical brigade.
Well, if one is Kishore Kumar- born Abhas Kumar Ganguly at Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh - whose rich masculine (if it doesn't sound too crude a word) and sonorous singing did not merely follow music composer's instructions to interpret the deep rooted emotions in the lyrics but added his own verve, style and zest to any playback that he called to perform, one could just about attempt anything.
In a way, his renditions made it simpler for some of the lead actors to lip sync and walk away with all the accolades for their easy manners. Kishore Kumar, a die hard K L Saigal fan, would originally, model his singing on his mentor and idol's singing pattern, little realizing that the erstwhile 'guru' of the then modern singing (the only forms of music popularized those days were either Bhakti or classical style of music, had a unique pathos ridden twang that swept millions of fans across the land.
But Kumar recovered early enough to pattern himself on some of the western influences he had had and soon after emerged a distinct voice that enthralled every music aficionado.
Strangely, it wasn't music that brought him to the world of films- his elder brother, an established name in Mumbai, had recommended his name to producers to allow him to try his hand at acting initially. Though acting in films did prove to be hugely successful, it's true glory and recognition came much later when the film industry woke up to his immense talent as a writer, actor and of course a singer.
As a child, he had been mischievous and loved playing pranks on everyone around him. His penchant for effortless comedy perhaps, came from his early days of pranks and mimicry. And there were directors like Kalidas (Half Ticket) and Satyen Bose (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi) and actor-director Keshto Mukherjee (co-star in Padosan) who realised this potential and cashed in on his unusual brand of humour with stupendous success.
One rare quality attributed to him is the exceptional and matchless style of yodeling which he brought in on his own. The robustness, stylistic and dulcet range that he displayed in the songs with his voice breaking to create a novel listening experience has yet to find a replacement.
(From our Archives)