Who could forget the youthful melodies by legendary singer Kishore Kumar. From Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si to Koi Humdum Na Raha, his songs are still fresh in the audience’s memory. The multifaceted artiste was not just a brilliant singer and had tried his hands at acting and direction too. Hailing from an affluent family, he had the support of his brother Ashok Kumar when he came to Bombay and started his career as a chorus singer. On his death anniversary, let’s revisit his legacy by looking at some of his lesser-known facts.
Last Updated: 08.55 AM, Oct 13, 2022
His early life
Kishore Kumar was born on August 4, 1929 as Abhas Kumar Ganguly into a Bengali Brahmin family in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. He came from an affluent family where his father Kunjalal Ganguly was a lawyer and his mother Gouri Devi was a homemaker, who hailed from a wealthy Bengali family. Abhas was the youngest of four siblings, the older three being Ashok, Sati Devi, and Anoop.
Entry into Bollywood
He changed his name to Kishore Kumar and started his cinema career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies, where his brother worked as an actor. He got his first gig with Khemchand Prakash for the track, Marne Ki Duayen Kyon Mangu. After this, he got many offers and settled in Bombay in 1949.
His many talents
Not many of his fans might be aware that Kishore Kumar once recorded a duet song alone, singing both the male and female parts. For the movie Half Ticket, Salil Chowdhary decided to get Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar for the song, Aake Seedhi Lagi Dil Pe. But Lata was not in town and the song needed to be recorded immediately. Kishore Kumar went ahead and recorded both parts. Another interesting fact is that he would never work for free. Once he showed up with half a mustache for recordings when he had only received half of his payment.
Initial acting career
Kishore made his first on-screen acting appearance in Shikari (1946) that had his brother Ashok Kumar in the lead role. His first gig as a lead actor came with the Phani Majumdar film, Andolan (1951). Though some of his earlier films proved to be a dud at the box office, he developed a keen interest in acting after doing roles in films such as Naukari, Miss Malaysia, Char Paise and Baap Re Baap.
His stint at direction
He later tried his luck in direction with films such as Pyar Zindagi Hai, Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi (1978), Sabaash Daddy, Zindagi (1981), Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin (1980) and Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi (1982)—which also marked his last appearance as an actor.
His personal life
He got married to Bengali singer and actress Ruma Guha Thakurta in 1950. Their marriage, however, lasted only eight years as they decided to call it quits in 1958. He then married his Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) co-actor Madhubala in 1960 which ended with Madhubala’s death in 1969. After that, he was married to Yogeeta Bali for two years and then got married to Leena Chandavarkar with whom he stayed till his death. He is survived by his sons Amit and Sumit. His son Amit Kumar from Ruma is also a singer who made his singing debut with the song, Apne Bas Ki Baat Nahi for the film Badthi Ka Naam Dadhi. His most popular song till date is Bade Achche Lagte Hai.
Kishore died on the 76th birthday of his brother Ashok Kumar on October 13, 1987 after suffering a heart attack.
Last Updated: 08.55 AM, Oct 13, 2022
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