Singer KK dies: He had wanted to do a single or album for a long time, but here's why he couldn't
- Singer KK's death due to a sudden cardiac arrest after a live performance in Kolkata, has left fans reminiscing his magical voice.
"Rahein ya na rahein... yaad aayenge ye pal (Whether we remain or not, we will remember these moments)". Lyrics of KK's cherished song--a farewell anthem for some, lovelorn balladry for many--are on loop in the heart, mind and ears of his fans since the news of the singer's untimely demise. He succumbed to a cardiac arrest in Kolkata after a live performance--doing what he loved the most. But those who knew him close enough, knew that it was within his heart to launch another album or a single for a long time. Also read: KK death news live updates: Mamata Bannerjee pays final respects as singer's body is brought to Rabindra Sadan
A source close to the singer tells Hindustan Times how KK always considered himself an independent singer: "He preferred doing singles. He had been wanting to do an album or a single for the longest time, but he wanted to put his heart and soul into it. He didn't want to do it just because too much time had elapsed."
His last album Humsafar had, in fact, come out in 2008. "Since all his independent music was very well-received, he either wanted to better it or match it. And hence, kept delaying his independent music," says the source.
KK's unprecedented death has sent shockwaves across the music and film industry, as well as among his legion of fans across generations, of how fragile life really is.
KK had revealed in a 2019 interview to Hindustan Times how while he had been active in the music world, he felt there was a part of himself that he had overlooked as an artiste. Despite feeling the energy and vibe of live performances and playback singing, he felt "restless". "I have been wanting to do some of my own stuff," said the singer, whose full name was Krishnakumar Kunnath.
But the artiste that he was, he didn't want to break away from his "commitment to the audience". "That's my high... to connect with the audience. Everywhere I go, the connect happens. I feel so happy and gratified that I do this for a living, because I don't think I can do anything else that will give me so much happiness."
And as ironic as it gets, he was on stage, eliciting the love and adulation from a crowd full of people at the Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata on May 31, in his last few moments, singing Pal.
There was lots that KK wanted to do, despite having done a lot already by the age of 53. "I have not learnt music at all. So actually I want to learn something - learn how to play a piano, maybe, and feel that contentment. My quest now is to learn," the Kishore Kumar fan had said with childlike excitement.
But he was not a planner.
"For me, it has always been a case of live life as it comes... I can't plan. Life also never sticks to a plan," he said in what seem today as true, but poignant words.
KK's music repertoire is dotted with gems such as Tadap Tadap Ke, Khuda Jaane, Beete Lamhe, Abhi Abhi, Tu Jo Mila, Tu Aashiqui Hai, Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai, and Appadi Podu. But Pal and Yaaron have a following of their own.
The multilingual singer credited that to their "timeless lyrics". He performed these songs from his maiden album at a college fest in 1999 first. KK pointed out how while the college crowds kept changing year after year, the songs remained a staple during his performances - and only got "bigger and better".
"I never thought they will become this big, I didn't realize they will connect to generations. But that's what they have become... timeless classics," he said.
It was such a song that he wanted to create yet again. What was it that was stopping him?
KK explained, "Let me be very honest. When you want to do something yourself, you have to delve deep within and see what you want to do with yourself at this point of time.. I am one of those guys who like to sit back and come up with ideas. I can't just churn out music for the sake of doing it. I have a multitude of ideas and I want to make sure I go with the one I feel is the right one." Also read: Sona Mohapatra says she'd feel ‘blessed’ to die after a live concert like KK: 'Doing what I was born to do'
That's where the roadblock was.
"Somehow you start mentally pressurizing yourself about doing the right thing. Sometimes I tell myself, 'Go with the gut feeling'. I have always done that, so I wonder how can I suddenly start feeling that 'Ye theek nahi hai (This is not ok)'. (There comes a time when) You start thinking more. I want to stop thinking so much, and just go with it."
He was sure he would release a single in 2020 because he wanted to "step up" his musical ability as a composer. He wanted to "change gears". "I have been cruising along, enjoying myself, singing, performing... which is great. But now I think I need to do a little more."
Only if wishes were horses, and life could be tamed. But here we are, reminiscing "beete lamhe" and "pal" of and with the singer.