August month is important to all Indians as on 15 August in 1947 we got our independence at the cost of sacrifice of millions of people. Also many memorable events took place in this month. Of the many events, one is birth of Kishore Kumar, popularly known as Kishore da, who was born on 4 August 1929, at Khandwa, present Madhya Pradesh as Abhas Kumar Ganguly. He was a versatile person and multifaceted calibre. Although he was popular as playback singer, but equally, he was also popular as actor, music director, lyricist, writer, director, producer and screenwriter. He was not only popular in India but also in Asian and African countries. While I was in some countries of Asia and Africa many told about him, also they mentioned names of some of our film actors and actresses.
As a singer, in addition to Hindi, Kishore-Da sang in many Indian languages including Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Malayalam Urdu etc. He also sang on private albums in several languages including Bengali. According to a Report, Kishore Kumar sang around 3000 numbers of songs including Hindi and other languages.
Kishore Kumar won eight times Filmfare Awards for best male playback singer and holds the record of winning the most Filmfare Awards in that category. He was also awarded the “Lata Mangeshkar Award” by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 1985–86. In 1997, the Madhya Pradesh Government introduced an award in his memory “Kishore Kumar Award” for his enormous contribution in Indian film The eight songs for which he got Filmfare awards are Roop Tera Mastana (1970/film Aradhana) , Dil Aisa Kisi Ne Mera (1976/film Amanush ), Khaike Paan Banaras Wala (1979/film Don), Hazaar Raahen Mudke Dekheen(1981/film Thodisi Bewafaii), Pag Ghungroo Baandh(1983/film Namak Halaal ), Agar Tum Na Hote (1984/ Agar Tum Na Hote), Manzilein Apni Jagah Hain(1985/ film Sharaabi ) and Saagar Kinaare (1986/film Saagar). The Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards as best male playback singer were given to Kishore-Da four times- Aradhana (1971), Andaz(1972), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1973) and Kora Kaga (1975).
Kishore Kumar started his cinema as career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies, where his elder brother Ashok Kumar worked. He first acted in a film named Shikari (1946) where Ashok Kumar played the lead role. In 1948, music director Khemchand Prakash offered Kishore –Da a chance to sing the song Marne Ki Duayen Kyon Mangu for the film Ziddi directed by Shaheed Latif. It is pertinent to mention that in this film both the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar sang first time their duet song Yeh Kaun Aaya Re. After that Lata ji sang with Kishore Kumar 327 songs as duet songs.
Kishore Kumar decided to retire from singing and was planning to return to his birth place Khandwa, but he died of a heart attack in Bombay/Mumbai on 13 October 1987 , incidentally that was his brother Ashok Kumar’s 76 birthday. His body was taken to Khandwa for cremation.
He recorded his last song, “Guru Guru”—a duet with Asha Bhosle for the film Waqt Ki Aawaz (wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishore_Kumar). Although he passed away at the age of 58 years but he will be in the heart of millions for his melodious songs and acting.
Dr. Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor& Head (CPME)
NIRD &PR (Govt. of India),