The legend lives on
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The legend lives on

Kishore Kumar continues to captivate one and all with his mesmerising voice.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 16:28 IST

As the songs of Farhan Akhtar's upcoming Don turn into listeners' favourite they bring to mind Kishore Kumar's zestful singing of the numbers, including the inimitable Khaike paan Banaraswala, from the original 1978 film.

The versatile singer-actor, who passed away on this day 19 years ago, sung the Khaike paan Banaraswala song complete with his imitation of a man talking with his mouth full of betel juice - without it sounding the least bit offensive.

He may not be among us anymore, but his songs are as much loved today as they were then, maybe more so with a new fan following among the youth.

October 13, marks Kishore Kumar's death anniversary.

There is no dearth of singers in Bollywood but there can never be another Kishore Kumar. He has a big fan following, and one of them is Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

"I think I'd like to make a film on the life of Mr. Kishore Kumar. That would be an interesting and a more apt tribute," Shah Rukh was quoted as saying to Screen Indian magazine recently.

The Kishore Kumar Memorial Club started an award in his name five years ago in Delhi. This year, they are organising the award ceremony in New Delhi and will honour actors Gulshan Grover, Rati Agnihotri, Prem Chopra, Upasana Singh and singer Kunal Ganjawala.

Last year, well-known lyricist Javed Akhtar received the Kishore Kumar Award. Born Abhas Kumar Ganguly in Khandwa on Aug 4, 1929, Kishore moved to Mumbai when he was 18. His elder brother Ashok Kumar was already a big star in the city.

And he didn't have to work hard to get his first singing assignment for Bombay Talkies Ziddi (1948), in which he sang Marne ki duayen kyon mangu for Dev Anand.

In those days legendary singer K.L. Saigal was a source of inspiration for newcomers and Kishore was also a big fan of his, hence he tried to imitate Saigal while signing the song.

The song became a hit but it didn't bring too many offers for Kishore, and he kept struggling for a foothold. Maverick composer S.D. Burman, a good friend of his elder brother, advised him, "Don't try to ape K.L. Saigal. Apers never make great artists. You should develop your own singing style."

After this, Kishore developed his own trademark singing style, and the distinctive yodelling, which he learnt by listening to the Austrian records of his brother Anoop Kumar.

Singing was Kishore's passion, and he wasn't remotely interested in acting. Once, while he was running from pillar to post in search of good singing assignments, an acting offer fell in his lap. He was asked to play the main lead in Andolen (1951) and Kishore lapped it up because it would allow him to sing for himself.

First Published: Oct 13, 2006 20:00 IST