Born as Abhas Kumar Ganguly on 4th August, 1929, this great singer known as Kishore Kumar, affectionately called Kishore Da, was one of those very few singers who took risks and experimented with different styles of music. Considered to be a legend in Hindi film world, this multi talented persona has excelled as a playback singer, actor, composer, lyrics writer, director, producer and script writer. The songs of Kishore Kumar have an extraordinary blend of romance, emotions, naughtiness and melancholy. We attempt to present the life history of Kishor Kumar in this short biography.
Kishore Kumar was born in a small place known as Khandwa located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. He was born in a typical Bengali family and was the youngest among his siblings. He had two elder brothers (Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar) and a sister (Sati Devi). His father Kunjilal Ganguly was a lawyer by profession and his mother Gauri Devi was from a well-to-do family. When his eldest brother Ashok Kumar became an actor, Kishore Kumar was still quite young. Later on, his second brother also ventured into movies to become an actor.
Kishore Kumar also started to show interest in music and often mimicked the great K.L. Saigal. Though he did not have any formal training in music, he decided to pursue it and followed his brothers to Mumbai. It was his dream to become a famous playback singer and be counted among legends. He would often go to the studios and ask producers if he could sing on the movie's soundtrack. Initially he could not develop a style of his own but nevertheless he perfectly imitated K.L. Saigal. Once, the great S.D Burman had come to Ashok Kumar's house to meet up when he heard Kishore singing. He actually thought it was K.L. Saigal singing and inquired if he was there too! When he came to know that it was Kishore singing, he truly appreciated and encouraged the young lad to continue refining his voice but at the same time, develop a style of his own.
Kishore kept this advice in mind and went on develop his own signature style. He perfected yodeling, a unique style he heard amongst the Austrian music collections of his brother Anoop. In Hindi film industry, his yodeling turned out to be widely popular and became a trademark of Kishore Kumar. His songs sounded absolutely natural, like laughter. He used to incorporate non-sensical terms into his songs and give it an entirely new feel. The ability to transform his voice according to not just the scene but also the actor is something that was truly incredible of Kishore. He has sung soulful songs for Dev Anand and also fun filled songs for Rajesh Khanna.
After Rajesh Khanna went out of the scene, Kishore Kumar belted out chart topping hits for superstar Amitabh Bachchan. When R.D. Burman stormed the music world, Kishore Kumar re-surfaced with hits like Roop Tera Mastana and many other melodious songs. Some films that deserve a special mention are Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Kinara, Dream Girl, Anurodh, Sharabi, Mr. Natwarlal, Gol Maal, Dostana, Manzil, Padosan, Shalimar, Khatta Meetha, Kasme Vaade, Ghar, Don, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Dilli Ka Thug, etc.
When his popularity began to diminish during mid 80's, he retired and wanted to return back to Khandwa, his native place. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. On October 13th 1987, co-incidentally the birthday of his elder brother Ashok Kumar, Kishore suffered a heart attack and breathed his last. His untimely and unexpected death shocked the entire nation. Kishore Kumar married four times and his eldest son Amit Kumar also ventured into the world of music.