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.

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