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RMIM Archives..

Subject: Kishore Kumar - A Tribute


Posted: "Rajan P. Parrikar" (parrikar@mimicad.Colorado.EDU)

Source: Filmfare(November 1-15, 1987).

Author: K.N. Subramaniam


Late afternoon, October 13, 1987. Kishore Kumar suffers a massive

heart attack, slumps down into wife Leena's arms, and is forever

lost to the world. He was 58. Only a day earlier, he was his usu-

al clowning self at the recording of a duet (Guru O Guru) with

Asha Bhonsle. It was getting to be such a laugh-riot that Asha

had to plead with him, "Kishore-da, aur hasaayaa mujhe to main

gaa nahin sakungi." When Bappi Lahiri asked him to "put more ex-

pression into the song, Kishore jested, 'Ask the producer to give

me Rs 200 extra and I'll give more expression.'" Six years have

elapsed, but Kishore still lives. Will always live.

A coincidence that the Big Three - Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore - of the

Hindi film music world went out in the same manner, suddenly and

via massive heart attacks. Or is it? Perhaps only those whom He

loves dearly are offered such quick exit.

Reproduced below is a tribute to Kishore Kumar, taken from

Filmfare (November 1-15, 1987).




Kishore Kumar - A Tribute


K.N. Subramaniam


"Zindagi ko bahut pyar humne diya, Maut se bhi mohabbat nibhay-

enge hum" he sang. You bet he is doing just that, keeping every-

one up there spellbound with his songs of life - and death, or in

stitches with his comic antics.

A couple of years ago, he declared he was planning to return to

Khandwa, his hometown. No one expected him to keep his word. The

way he did - his last journey.

Did he really hate the world or the film industry? Not likely.

For hating is sustained, moronic hard work - of a kind Kishore

Kumar never relished. Not that he was the easy going kind - he

put an immense amount of work in his films. They had titles like

"Door Ka Rahi", "Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein", "Door Waadiyon Mein

Kahin". They were about the pain of living, not belonging, going

away. He was producer, director, actor, singer, composer, lyri-

cist, and, very nearly, cinematographer as well.

More likely, he was running away from himself. No one can really

say why. A sensitive man, he probably couldn't take the ruthless-

ness, the nitty-gritty of the work-a-day world. A sentence from

one of his early interviews to Filmfare is still fresh in our

minds: "Money, money, that's all that matters." He was of course

to make plenty of it! He was full of contradictions.

After a performance tour of the US with Lata Mangeshkar, he told

us, "I'll never sing with Lata again." Some little peeve. Of

course he went on singing with Lata. He sent her a placatory

letter declaring how full of brotherly love he was for her.

He took pride in not smoking or drinking but he indulged other-


He didn't seem the marrying kind, but he married four times. If

you wondered how the women stood him, he would surely have said

he wondered himself. Often, he gave the impression of a man who

couldn't stand himself.

He disliked crowds but loved his audience. When they warmed up to

him, he would go all out to entertain them. He went all out at

our own award shows. Once he occupied the stage for a good hour

and a half. Later, we learnt he had a video recording made for

his own purpose. But never mind, that was Kishore.

A seeming recluse and misanthrope, he put show into stage shows.

He started them apparently to earn money to pay his income tax

arrears. He made Kishore Kumar live by prancing around the

stage, fooling around. But as Filmfare once said of him, it takes

brains to be a fool.

He could have had a marvellous career as an actor. When other ac-

tors were busy trying to be serious, he succeeded in being seri-

ously funny. But he virtually threw away his acting career,

building up a notoriety for late coming or bunking shootings.

Then Aradhana brought him back as a singer.

They say he was always difficult. It was tough to get him to come

to recordings, but no playback singer took more pains over his

songs. He was the first singer to sing not only for his audience

but for the star on screen - he could be a Dev Anand, a Rajesh

Khanna, a Sanjeev Kumar, an Amitabh Bachchan.

He wanted people to keep a distance from him, but his songs

brought people close to him. When you are very happy or very sad,

you want to listen to Kishore Kumar.

On the very evening he died, with mourners still paying their

last respects to him at home, Doordarshan telecast a Kishore

Kumar- Kalyanji- Anandji show. In the midst of it, Kishore said,

"Kalyanjibhai, gaate gaate mar gaye."

Goodbye friend and stranger, always so near and so far away, ex-

asperatingly difficult yet lovable, full of guile yet tran-

sparent. And so abundantly talented.



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