Kishore Kumar Part 4; Dada and Lata Mangeshkar

I had explored different facets of the mercurial personality of Kishore Kumar ( Kishore Da) in Part 1 to 3 of this blog series. Part 4 will tell you about  Dada and his fellow genius Lata Mangeshkar ( Lata Didi) with whom he sang 327 magical duets ( second only to Rafi saab who had 440 with her). I will also bring to you some rare trivia about them, and am sure that some of this information will be new to you.

The unique first meeting. Travelling in a local train, Kishore Da saw a young and simple girl sitting near the window seat. Dada gave her a warm smile but the girl gave him a stern look. When Dadar station came, Kishore Da got down. Coincidentally she also got down there and hired a horse cart to move to her destination. He too hired another horse cart and moved in the same direction, literally following her horse cart. Now the coincidence increased. Kishore da got down at the same place where the girl had stopped her horse cart and walked behind her. She flew into a rage and  said, “You scoundrel, why are you chasing me like a roadside Romeo!”, before hurrying into the studio. She complained to music director Khemchand Prakash about a roadside ruffian chasing her. Khemchand Prakash smiled and clarified her misconception and introduced Kishore Da to her! All had a big laugh. Their 1st duet was recorded that day – Ye Kaun Aaaya from the Dev Anand Saab starrer Ziddi. 1st of many memorable duets giving us permanent magic.

Not Composer or music director specific. Kishore Da and Lata didi were magic together and were not composer specific. SD Burman gave us Gaata Rahe mera Dil. Pancham gave us karvatein badalti rahe and Is mod se jaate hain. However others too have special songs with the magical duo. Let me give just one or two magical song per composer

Khayyam- “Hazaar Raahein mud ke dekhi”. ; Rajesh Roshan- “Bhool gaya sab kuchh” and “Dil Kya kare”; LP- “Achcha toh hum chalte hain” and “Kal ke haseen mulaqaat ke liye”; Kalyanji Anandji- “Salaam e ishq meri jaan”. Bappi Lahiri “Naino mein Sapna”. Shiv-Hari “Dekha ek Khwab”

The list is unending and this is simply illustrative. You are welcome to add. thanks.

2 magnificent Solos sung by both.  “Rim Jhim gire saawan” and “Mere Naina Saawan  Bhadon” come to mind. With due respect to Lata Didi and her fans, I like the Kishore Da versions better. Legend has it that Mere Naina was based on Raag Shivaranjani, which evokes moods of romance and sorrow and is meant to please Shiva, God of destruction. Kishore in his humility apparently asked to give it to Rafi as he would do better justice to this difficult song. However an unrelenting Pancham insisted he sing it, and superstar Rajesh Khanna too had a clause in his contract that only Kishore Da will sing his songs. Hearing this Dada agreed. He said please give the tape of Lata didi , forget the Raag as i am not classically trained, i will listen to Lata’s tape and sing in my own way. And he did. History is witness that Mere naina Kishore version is much more popular than Lata version.

An aside- What are other other semi-classical songs sung by Kishore Da? My query is to those reading this. I am unable to think of any as of now.

London stage show. Dada himself says he was thrilled that he will be doing a stage show with Lata but was worried about her discipline. An issue arose as to who will sing 1st and Dada suggested that Lata sing 1st as she was his industry senior. However Lata solved it by going on stage to introduce Dada. In fact she used to say he was her dada as he was older. Yes he was, but only by a month. In the stage show, there were two unforeseen problems. Lata refused to sing the song “angrezi mein kehtey hai” as it had the word “Idiot” in it. She also refused to sing “Pag ghungroo” as she felt it belittled Meera Bai. Ultimately the stage shows were a blockbuster performance by both with choicest duets.

The famous interview. Lata once took an interview of Kishore Da which u can see in Sonu Nigam’s FB page Apparently Kishore Da’s famous son Amit Kumar had shared it with Sonu. In this interview Kishore Da and Lata didi discuss their common “Guru” K.L.Saigal. Dada says that singing gives him more pleasure than acting or composing, especially as he feels that acting is “Jhoothi” while singing is from the heart.

Lata Mangeshkar Award was a national level award started in 1984 with various state Governments authorised to give this award. MP Government started it and Kishore Da was the second recipient ( Naushad the 1st) . After Kishore Da received it MP Government started Kishore Kumar Award for contribution to Hindi cinema. What a fitting tribute to 2 geniuses.

My top 5 Kishore -Lata Songs. Now it is indeed difficult to choose 5 out of 327, when almost each one is magic,. However that makes the challenge even more exciting. With great difficulty I have shortlisted the following 5.

“Is mod pe Jaate hain”, “Hum Dono Do Premi”, “Bheegi bheegi raaton mein”, “Gaata Rahe mera Dil”, “Kya Yehi Pyaar hai”.

Is your list the same ?

The end  Sadly and eerily , in his last interview, taken by Lata Didi as written above, when asked by Didi what he wanted he said he has only one wish that God takes him away early, and he hummed a few lines from his song “Aa chal ke tujhe” with specific reference to the words “Jahaan Gham bhi na ho, aansoo bhi na ho”, implying that heaven is a place without sadness and tears and he wants to go there. Shortly, on 13th October 1987 this versatile singer (574 movies), actor (81 movies), producer (14 movies), director (12 movies) and composer as well for 10 movies left us for ever. However his songs are always with us forever, Hamesha.

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5 Silver linings in several dark clouds

I am a realist and accept that the Indian Olympic 2016 performance has been terrible. However I am an optimist too and amidst the dark gloom, I can see a few memorable performances which can be termed as silver lining in dark cloud.

Lets focus on 5 of such bravura performances.

PV Sindhu. Chinese badminton authorities have openly said she is the perfect physical example of a badminton player. They should know better after dominating the baddy world. This Olympics they had no medals in ladies singles, though the men’s gold was theirs. I am sure they will strategise and be back.

World Number 10 Sindhu in the QF played super badminton to defeat top ranked Chinese player and world Number 2 Yihan Wang in straight games at 20 and 19. Before that too in prequarter too she had defeated a higher ranked world number 8 player. In the SF too she outclassed the current All England Champion Okuhara in straight games, taking an incredible 11 points in a row to win the 2nd game at 21-10 from 10-10 after a hard-fought 1st game at 19.

In the final however she came up against the most complete player of last 2 years, the world Champion and World Number 1, Carolina Marin. She held her own and lost in 3 games. A super performance for silver by the golden girl. Sindhu is a potential world number 1 and Olympic Gold medallist of the future.

A brief mention of Kidambi Srikanth who stretched the great Lin Dan to 3 games in the QF, finally losing the 3rd game at 18. A huge round of applause for their common coach Gopichand who has given us terrific infrastructure and a pool of 100 plus badminton players.

Lessons; The importance of infrastructure can never be underestimated.

Sakshi Malik She got us a medal, the much awaited and elusive one as it was looking at a Nil olympics. That too she won after trailing in her last two matches(bouts) but dramatically turning it around both times in last 30 seconds. In the bronze medal bout she was 0-5 down and got it to 5-5 before getting a 3 pointer with few seconds to go.

Lessons; Dont give up till the last second.

Dipa Karmakar. Dipa become the first Indian woman gymnast to ever qualify for Olympics. In her two vaulting attempts she scored an average of 15.066 points, a mere 0.15 less than the eventual bronze winner Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland. After 6 participants (out of 8) had competed she was at 2nd. After 7, she was at 3rd. But to her luck the last participant was Simone Biles, probably one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. She smiled her way to the Gold and Dipa slipped to 4th.

Dipa however won the hearts of all Indians by landing the fearsome “Produnova” , a vault described as Vault of Death. She scored 15.266 from her ‘Produnova’ with 8.266 points for execution for a difficulty level of 7. To quote Dipa. “This is my highest score in Produnova, I had 15.1 earlier. I am very happy with my vault. I gave my whole effort to bring an Olympic medal for my countrymen.” She also said that she is coming back for Gold in 2020. All the best Dipa.

Learning points- None for her, some for us. Go for it Dipa. Let us try to create infrastructure so that future gymnasts do not have to practice in abandoned marriage halls with vault spring board made from discarded scooter parts like u had

Lalita Babar The Maandeshi express, daughter of a driver/marginal farmer, was 10th. It may be a disappointing 10th for many. To me it signifies hope for the future as it was the best ever performance by an Indian in track and field after PT Usha’s 4th in 1984. It could have been better of course as it was 3 seconds outside her own best.

Still I applaud the effort from the 27 year from the drought prone Satara district who has shown that in athletics too we can try to do well. It is an inspirational story in itself as she was born in an area where girl children are named Nakushi (unwanted) and one of her sister is named that only. Today Lalita is an international athlete and her sister has joined the police service.

Learning points- In Olympics , do better than your personal best and national best

Hockey This may come as a surprise, but i will still put Indian hockey performance as creditable. For instance, we defeated Argentina 2-1, a team which went on to be the Olympic Gold Medallists by defeating the Germans in semi finals and Belgians in final. In the QF we led Belgians 1 Nil till the 1st half before they played brilliantly to win 3-1

Why i will still have faith in Indian hockey is that we are playing modern hockey, we are attacking well, defending well and most importantly counter-attacking well.

Lets come back strong in 2020. We can do it.

Learning points- Dont lose possession in last few minutes. It has proved costly for India several times in its hockey history. In this Olympics too we lost to Germany 2-1 by conceding a goal with 3 seconds left.  Maybe the trick is to remember that attack is the best defence.

After London, we were targeting 10 medals this time. We end up with 2. However for the first time maybe there were creditable performances in many disciplines including in some where we have no international presence for last several decades. With focus, patience and intelligent patience we can have creditable Olympics performance in future.

Rafi Part-1; Mohammad Rafi Tu Bahot Yaad Aaya

As a schoolboy cricketer, Imran Khan had a Kenya born Indian friend named Rabi Mehta who went on to become a NASA Engineer and also a researcher on cricket ball aerodynamics. Mehta would often find tape recorder missing from his room and invariably found in Imran’s room- with the to be iconic captain and allrounder listening to mellifluous Mohd Rafi on repeat.

This is just an illustrative example of the charisma of Rafi, who even today is a nationwide craze. Just imagine, in his birth and death anniversary on 24th December and 31st July as many as 650 to 700 Rafi Nites are held throughout the country. Simply amazing

The Beginnings . Nicknamed Pheeko, Rafi started singing in his village as an imitation of a Fakirs chants. Later the family shifted to Lahore where his Dad had a men’s salon. A well wisher was convinced of his singing ability and he shifted to Bombay just out of teens. What a wonderful decision it was. The world became richer.

Lucky Break. Rafi and his brother Hamid had once gone to attend a KL Saigal musical evening when the power went off. Saigal refused to sing without the power. Hamid persuaded the organisers to give Rafi a chance to sing to keep the audience occupied. He did so and they enjoyed a lot. In the audience was music director and composer Shyam Sundar who liked his song so much that he gave him a break to sing in films at 20. This was 1944.

The Costly Cigarette. Naushad Saab took a giant step 8 years later. His favorite singer was still Talat Mehmood. However he saw Talat smoking and he got infuriated as that was something he hated. The result was that he gave songs of Baiju Bawra to Rafi. Two of Rafi’s most iconic songs “O Duniya ke Rakhwaale” based on Raag Darbari and “Man Tarpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj” based on Raag Malkauns were from this movie. Baiju Bawra established Rafi as Number 1 singer from 1952 to 1969 when Kishore Dada floored the country after Aradhana to occupy numero uno spot permanently

More on Rafi and Naushad. Rafi sang as many as 149 songs for Naushaad including 81 solo songs. Theirs was a magical pair. Naushad was also responsible for Rafi regaining his confidence when he was very low with the nation was swaying to Mere Sapnon ki rani and Roop tera mastana of Kishore.

On hearing unknown nondescript people dictating terms to Rafi Naushad gave him back his confidence by telling him;

“Never ever forget that you are Mohammed Rafi, a performer whose seasoning, by now, far exceeds that of any male singer in the industry. Always remember, Rafi, that the singer you identify as your rival, now, has no classical background at all. So how possibly could he be competition to you, Rafi? Go back, confident like before, to the recording room. Just sing like my Rafi always did.”

Not only did Naushad say this but he also gave him a song based on a Bhairavi classic which helped Rafi regain his confidence. Simultaneously Saawan Kumar and Usha Khanna song “Teri Galiyon mein naa rakhenge sanam aaj ke baad” was released which brought Rafi back with a bang.

Rafi’s greatness as a singer is apparent from the fact that he was huge despite probably not getting his due from greats like RD, Anil Biswas, C Ramchandra and Salil Chowdhury. Yet, he still shone. Ironically, the same RD gave him his iconic song “Kya Hua tera vaada” which won him the National Award.

Rafi’s versatility. There is often a misconception that Rafi was limited to particular type of songs unlike the versatile Kishore. On the contrary, Rafi was as versatile as Kishore himself and in fact maybe had a slight edge due to his classical and technical finesse. In Muqaddar ka Sikandar the sad version of “Zindagi toh bewafa hai” was given to Rafi as it was felt he would convey the pathos better and make a striking contrast with the Exuberance of Kishore in the same song.

Not just sad songs, be it Bhajans, or quawallis or patriotic songs or romantic numbers, Rafi’s versatility was second to none.

This great singer breathed his last on 31st July 1980 at exactly 10.25 PM. Till today in the several hundreds of shows that take place to honour him throughout the country, at 1025 PM the audience rises in silence in memory of this wonderful singer and wonderful human being.

This blog is inspired by the following song from the Sunny-Sunjay starrer Kroadh where Amitabh Bachchan (or rather Mohd Aziz in playback) sings —

Na fankar tujhsa Tere bad aaya,Na fankar tujhsa, Tere bad aaya
Mohammed rafi tu Bahot yaad aaya,Mohammed rafi tu Bahot yaad aaya

We will always remember you Rafi Saab. You are immortal.

Rafi Part 2 coming up soon; Thanks

Kishore Kumar Part 3; Dada and 3 Superstar heroes

Kishore was the 1st superstar singer who actually sang for the hero, and not for himself. Here he probably scores over other legendary singers like Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey who to some extent focussed on classical and technical excellence and the song.

Dada however made it always seem as if the hero is singing. This for me is his uniqueness as a singer. For this blog post, i choose  to write on Dada and 3 of the superstar heroes for whom he sang in numerous movies and came to be associated as their voice. These 3 Superstars were Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. It is Kishore’s greatness that he could become the “Voice” for 3 totally different personalities. 

Before that to put matters even more in perfect perspective , let me choose just one Iconic song of Kishore with 7 different heroes and request you to visualise the song which will demonstrate what i said, that its as if its the hero singing.

  1. Sanjeev Kumar. Tum Aa gaye ho Noor aa gaya hai. Aandhi.
  2. Dharmendra. Hum Bewafa. Shalimaar
  3. Amol Palekar. Aane waala Pal. Golmaal
  4. Rishi Kapoor. Saagar Kinaare. Saagar
  5. Jeetendra. Naino mein Sapna. Himmatwala
  6. Shashi Kapoor. Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan. Sharmilee.
  7. Vinod Khanna. Chahiye thoda Pyar. Lahu Ke Do Rang

Therefore one sees that whoever the hero was, one felt that the hero was singing, and not Dada. Amazing, isnt it?

Now lets focus on Dada and 3 of the superstar heroes for whom he sang

Dada and Dev Anand. 

The first song of Kishore Kumar’s career was picturised on Dev Anand. it was a ghazal composed by a renowned poet, Prem Dhavan:Marne ki duayen kyun mangoon. The movie was Ziddi and Khemchand Parkash was the music director. The song became a hit. Kishore sang many many songs for Dev Saab subsequently and Dev Anand himself says they complemented each other. They had a perfect rapport with each other and initially it was Dev Anand who encouraged Dada’s yodeling which Dev called “a solitary voice in the loneliness of the hills, a cry for romance”

Kishore and Dev Saab worked together for as many as 40 movies. They were a magical pair. 

Pholon ki rang se, Gaata rahe mere dil, Ye dil na hota bechaara, Pal bhar ke liye koi hamein and kiska rasta dekhein are my top 5 Kishore – Dev Anand Songs. Do u agree ?

Dada and Rajesh Khanna( Kaka). 

Kaka’s female fan following is something which India had never seen and will never see again. He received love letters written in blood. His car would be covered with lipstick marks and women would never marry as they could not marry Kaka.

One of the main reasons for Kaka’s popularity was his magical combo with Kishore Kumar. His first stepping stone to success was Aradhana which was his 1st super hit. One contributing factor was the music and the songs and that gave Kishore a second lease, one which would see him at the top for 18 years at a stretch. 

Interestingly Kishore had said he will not sing for Kaka in Aradhana but may if Kaka meets him. A disappointed Kaka went to meet Dada. After all he was a newcomer and Dada an established singer. Dada asked him the reason for joining film industry and Kaka said that it was his passion and through cinema he wanted to serve the society through entertainment. That impressed Dada and they had a long talk together. Later Shakti Samanta revealed that the denial was only a drama as Kishore Kumar wanted to study the mannerisms of Rajesh Khanna so that he could sing as if Kaka himself was singing.

No wonder Kaka always said that Kishore was the soul to his body. They worked together for as many as 77 movies. 

It is also destiny that Shakti Samanta had wanted to give all songs of Aradhana to Rafi Saab but on request of SD Burman , only one song Mere Sapnon ki Rani was to be given to Dada. Later SD fell ill, and RD Burman stepped in . He insisted on Kishore Singing “Roop Tera Mastana”. The rest is history, Kishore, RD and Kaka became a devastating trio.

My top 5 Dada-Kaka songs are Roop tera Mastana, O mere dil ki Chain, Bheegi bheegi raton mein, Chingari koi Bhadke and Aate get khoobsoorat. What are yours?

Amitabh Bachchan ( Big B)

Big B called Kishore Dada “The Kishore Kumar, versatile in thought and deed”. Dada had many hit songs for Big B and 3 of his 8 Filmfare awards are for Amitabh songs, namely “Khaike paan banaras wala”, “pag ghungroo” and “manzilen apni jagah”. One of the hallmark of Dada’s career as a singer is that for the movie Sharaabi he got each of his songs nominated for best male singer and there was not a single nomination by any other singer

Once they had a tiff. Dada wanted Big B to do a role in his home production and apparently Big B refused. As a result Dada refused to sing for him for quite some time. Finally he relented and sang in Amitabh’s Toofan. A forgettable song Aaya maya Toofan , in an equally forgettable movie. The duo had a magical run together and worked with each other in well over 70 movies. 

My top 5 Dada-Big B songs are Dekha ek Khwab ko, Chookar mere man ko, Dilbar mere, O Saathi Re and Rim jHIM Gire saawan. 

Till the next Part, (Kishore and his fellow singers), feedback on part 1-3 are welcome.

Kishore Kumar Part 2; His “eccentricities”

Part 1 brought to you rare trivia about Kishore Kumar and his childhood, college days, likes and dislikes etc. Part 2 is about Dada and His eccentricities. Read on

The signboard on his Khandwa farmhouse read “Mental hospital”.

Dada had put a “Beware of Kishore” sign outside his Warded Road Flat. Once Producer-director HS Rawail visited him to pay back his dues. After handing over the money, he offered to shake hands. Dada reportedly bit him and said “Didnt u see the sign.”?

An interior designer came to him in summer wearing 3 piece suit. Dada told him he wanted his drawing room hall immersed in several feet water , with tiny boats instead of chairs and sofa, with an anchored centrespread for tea service. He also wanted live crows hanging and for fans, wanted farting monkeys. The designer protested and Dada replied if you can wear 3 piece suit in summer, why cant i have this request.

During a night shooting of Mahal, starring Dadamoni and Madhubala at Filmistan studios in Bombay, Dada scared his future wife Madhubala by putting on a grotesque mask with a drooping moustache.

He was a restless person and always wanted to sing. Once he was kept waiting for 5 days. He got bored and began chopping his hair. He cut it a bit too much one said. Tried to compensate. The other side then was cut too much. This went on for 5 days.

Further eccentricities

Once for a shooting of a scene with Dada driving a car the Director forgot to say Cut. Dada drove on till Khandala. The background to this is that the Director had filed a Court Case that Kishore Kumar does not listen to orders on set, and had won the case. Therefore Dada actually by driving on till Khandala was actually following instructions.

Known for his pranks, Dada once started acting as if his son was accompanying him everywhere and talked to himself in own voice and child’s voice. He would say in a child’s voice that “Baba this song is not nice” (in Hindi) if he didn’t like his own recording. Then he would reply in own voice that “Give this criticism at home, not in public”. He called this child of his imagination.

He called his 4 wives “Bandariyas” as they were coincidentally all born in Bandra. Dadamoni called him Mohabbat Khan for falling in love and getting married so many times.

Dada and his remuneration            

As a professional Dada was very particular about his remunerations and Why Not. Once for a producer who had paid him half his dues he appeared with half of his head and moustache shaved and told everyone that he could come like that for every shot till his full dues were paid .

Dadamoni had once said that on the sets of Bhai Bhai. Kishore had not been paid even though the shooting was almost over. When he refused to shoot his remaining scenes, the producer asked Dadamoni to convince Kishore to shoot. In deference to his elder brother’s wishes, Dada applied make-up. The shot demanded him to walk from one door to another. However he somersaulted once, saying ‘Rs 5000’. Then he somersaulted again – ‘Rs 10,000’. By the fourth somersault, he had reached the entrance, quickly stood up, and waved good-bye to everyone present. He knew he wasn’t going to be paid that day.

Producer RC Talwar had omitted to pay him despite reminders. Hence Dada showed up at his residence and started shouting “Hey Talwar, give me my 8 thousand”. He continued this for a few days till Talwar paid up.

Dada had an arrangement with his Secretary that he will indicate receipt of payment and then Dada would sing. Once the Secretary forgot to make the indication. Dada made squeaky sounds saying he lost his voice. The producer helplessly asked the Secretary how and why Dada suddenly is not singing, making funny sounds and looking at the Secretary. Hearing this the Secretary remembered and made the sign. Dada started singing.

Producer-director G. P. Sippy needed Dada to record a song for him for which Dada had agreed. As he approached Dada’s bungalow, he saw him driving out. Sippy pleaded him to stop his car, but Kishore only increased the speed of his driving. Sippy chased him to Madh Island, where Dada finally stopped his car near the ruined Madh Fort. When Sippy questioned his strange behaviour, Dada apparently refused to recognize or talk to him and threatened to call police. Sippy had to return. Next morning, Dada reported for recording. An angry Sippy questioned him about his strange behaviour the previous day. However, Dada insisted that Sippy must have seen a dream, and claimed that he was in Khandwa on the previous day.

Dada had huge income tax problems. He used to say his income tax files can be used as pesticides and said that rats die very easily after biting them

Was he an eccentric person?

Interestingly, Yogeeta said that behind the eccentric front Kishore was clever and sharp and did only what suited him and only pretended to be mad , as otherwise there would be too many people disturbing him . Amit Kumar too has said that his Dad was definitely not eccentric and rather lived life like a king to do whatever he wanted and hence people had wrong notion that he was eccentric.

Once he took up the challenge when someone said he could not sing Rabindra Sangeet. He practiced for a year and released an album. Can such a focussed person be eccentric ?

This was Part 2. Thanks.

Part 3 is the final part of my Kishore Kumar Trilogy and will bring to you in a couple of days rare trivia about Dada’s interactions with his colleagues.

Kishore Kumar Part 1; The enigmatic genius

I bring to you a collection of interesting trivia about the Enigmatic genius Kishore Kumar. The source is from information in public domain and i have tried to bring together some little known instances. I have taken the liberty that while copying from one may be plagiarism, copying from many is research.

In this blog Kishore is referred to as Dada and Ashok Kumar as Dadamoni.

Childhood. Dada on seeing DadaMoni’s movie where he was beaten up quite a few times told Dadamoni that he has to fight more as he has lost a few fans in Khandwa.

He learnt yodeling by listening to his other brother Anoop Kumar’s Austrian records.

While Dadamoni had taken classical training from Saraswati Devi, Dada was self trained. He said he could do little else beside sing and as he was not good in studies he used to compose different tunes for different subjects He gave the example of a tune for a para on Malthusian theory of population.

The accident   As a child Dada had a hoarse grating voice jokingly called a broken bamboo by family elders.  He however was committed to singing and kept on doing so. His favourite prank was to disturb the things his mother had neatly piled up. One day his mother was chopping vegetables and the young boy banged into the chopper and one of his tiny toes fell apart. Without surgical facilities or painkillers he was in constant pain and cried non-stop. Continuous crying for more than 20 hours a day continued for a month while the wound gradually healed. Miraculously his voice cleared and became melodious.

College Days  Dada took admission in a prestigious college in Indore after his matriculation. As he had acute stage fright he used to sing from behind the curtains. When he left for Bombay he owed Rs 5.75/- to his college canteen which inspired the “Paanch Rupaiya Baarah Aana” song in his “Chalti ka Naam Gaadi”

His Likes and dislikes            Dada, a great fan of Topol saw had seen the movie Fiddler on the roof more than 100 times and the stage show consecutively 4 times in London. He even went to meet him and took his autograph. Topol presented Dada  a copy of his autobiography, Topol by Topol while Dada presented him records and cassettes of his songs.

Dada’s dislikes were telephone calls, tax problems, cigarette smoke, alcohol and the studio routine. He himself never smoked or drank. He never socialized and had very few friends. His best friends were the plants in his garden, each lovingly named by him.

Dada and Acting       Dadamoni wanted him to be an actor like himself. However Dada hated being an actor, so much so that he later confessed to Pritish Nandy in an interview that he used to deliberately muff up his lines so that he wont be selected as an actor. Later he liked singing for himself only. The turning point for his singing  for others was after Kalyanji told him that why does he want to slog in the sun instead of singing in AC comfort.

Dada and the Collector. Once during a show in an Indian district, Dada was gazing out of a window, enjoying nature while sipping tea and dipping his favorite biscuit in it. The organisers requested him to come and meet the DM who as a big fan wanted to felicitate him with a bouquet. Dada continued sipping tea and gazing out ignoring the repetitive requests. Finally he said, “How many States India has, and how many districts, and how many Collectors / but how many Kishore Kumars are there? Please ask him to come and meet me”. The organisers said “Dada, he is the DM, there are many people with him, how will so many people come?” Dada said “he can felicitate me through the window”.

It happened that way. Later Dada hugged the DM and said “Dont mind, these chaps should not have disturbed an artiste enjoying nature”.

Dada as hero, others as singer.        As an actor, Dada had various other singers sing for him such as  Rafi, Manna Dey, C. Ramchandra,  Mahendra Kapoor and S. D. Baatish . Curiously the song “Aankhon ko Mila yaar se” from “Bhagam Bhag” had both Rafi and SD Baatish singing for Kishore- in the same song

Dada’s uprightness  was evident when he refused to play to the tunes of a political party by singing at a Congress rally in Bombay at the “request” of Sanjay Gandhi.  Information and Broadcasting Minister VC Shukla banned his songs (unofficially) but Dada became even more popular.

He is also perhaps the only producer-director who warned his distributors not to touch his films because they may not run as even he didn’t understand what he had made!

His Death. Dada passed away on the birthday of Dadamoni on 13th October 1987. Hence Dadamoni never celebrated his birthday for the next 13 years till he too passed away. His body was taken to Khandwa for cremation and on his Samadhi it is written “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”, from his famous song “Chalte Chalte”.

Part 2 on Dada and his eccentricities coming up in a couple of days.