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.