Lalit Pandit must be the only music composer in the universe who can claim to have been carried in Kishore Kumar’s arms. Says Lalit, “One can write and speak so much on Kishore Kumar.As a baby I have even had the chance of being a part of his film Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein. Kishoreda carried me in his arms early morning along with my two sisters Vijayta and Sandhya and my brother Jatin and took us to shoot. He needed children who could sing and had made a song just for the scene!”
Birthday Special: Lalit Pandit remembers being carried as a toddler by the legendary Kishore Kumar
Memories of the great yodeller flood Lalit. “Kishoreda, as he is famously called by the folks in the film industry, was undoubtedly Bengal’s greatest talent to the film industry. The man and his baritone voice was the main factor in making actors like Rajesh Khanna Dev Anand Jeetendra Amitabh Bachchan and many more stars to be recognised as superstars. What we remember about the actors of mid-sixties and seventies are the songs Kishore Kumar sang for them. It would not be wrong to say that the songs and the voice Kishorda had, made these actors memorable and we remember their faces and love them because of their songs sung by Kishore Kumar.”
Lalit recalls Kishore Kumar’s versatility. “Kishoreda was a multi-talented artist and very natural in different aspects of creativity. He was an actor, director, music director, composer songwriter, producer and also made his brand of comedy films which had great songs and are cult classics of the Indian cinema. His performance as an actor in films like Padosan, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Mr.X In Bombay, Half Ticket, Pyar Kiye Jaa were unforgettable He would, in films like Padosan would steal the thunder away from his co-actors. Audiences would love the way he would add masti to his characters in the films.”
Lalit remembers KK as a natural scene-stealer. “He was a fan of the great K L Saigal. Kishoreda would practise singing Saigal Saab’s songs and became excellent in singing with his gift of a beautiful voice which people still yearn to listen to and a singing style which has inspired many singers even toda. Kishore Kumar was indeed the best male singing talent we have had. The combination of his style of song rendering and his voice quality and expressions made him a unique artist which one might never hear or see again. His songs have touched the hearts of billions and will always remain a benchmark for future male singers.”
Lalit can’t get over the fact that Kishore Kumar was not a trained singer. “But one cannot remember a single song in his entire musical carrier where he has hit a wrong note. He, and his voice has made songs immortal of composers and it was his voice, that made Rajesh Khanna a super star! Also, to think how much he added with his voice to the great compositions of SD and RD Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji and Bappi Lahiri.”
Lalit feels Kishore sang with so much feeling that hid voice touched the audiences’ hearts. “A song is as good as the voice that sings it! It’s the soul of the voice and its texture that make a song touch your heart and there are innumerable examples of how Kishoreda sang a song and changed the song from an average to super-duper song! Composers loved Kishoreda for what he could do and how he added his own style in any given song.”
Although known more for his fun songs, Lalit reveals KK preferred his deeper numbers. “Though he sang many songs that had a lot of masti, what he himself loved were songs with emotions and deep melody. He himself composed some very touching melodies for his own films.”
As for KK’s moodiness, Lalit clarifies, “Stories of his many stints of moodiness and unpredictability are now folklore in the film industry .He was a fearless man and knew his value as an artists and it’s not surprising that actors wanted always him to sing the songs in which they would act. There are instances when he got upset with top actors and stopped singing for them which in turn brought their career down, and eventually the actor went and apologised requesting Kishoreda to start singing for his films again.”
Lalit recalls Kishoreda as a yaaron ka yaar. “He was a great friend to people he would love and respected and would never comment on another singer to put him down, etc. He had tremendous respect for Mohammed Rafi Mukeshji and Manna Dey Saab and other singers. In an any combination songs with other singers Kishoreda always stood out with his singing and of course the voice he was gifted with. If we take an example of songs which was sung both by him and any female singer, we notice that it was almost a 100% that his male version would be a major hit compared to that of a female! That was the strength of his singing.”
Recalling his own interaction with KK, Lalit recalls, “I personally have great memories of Kishoreda whom I had the chance to watch singing with my sister Sulakshanadidi for many films for different music directors. Kishoreda also sang for my brothers Mandheer and Jatin for a film.
Also as a child I clearly remember recordings of Kishoreda’s songs like Rona kabhi nahin rona in Apna Desh, Sare ke sare gama ko lekar gaate chalein Parichay and Aage picche khade ho jao, aao khelen ye naya khel,and many more in which I sang as a child! I remember in the song Sare ke sare from parichay during the recording in the final take we children made terrible mistakes as it was a complicated tune singing wise: we could see Kishoreda and Asha Didi singing in the booth in film centre, but we couldn’t actually hear them in headphones! We had to sing in a cue conducted by conductors of those times (Basu manohari). Kishore da didn’t allow another take and felt the situation of the song was teaching the children to sing.”
About Kishore Kumar on stage Lalit says. “Kishore da was excellent on stage as well. His performances on stage have left an unforgettable memory and impression on my mind. Kishoreda would perform regularly in Shanmukhanand Hall with Sulakshana didi whom he also gave a chance in the film Door Ka Rahi: Beqarar dil! Kishoreda was an unusual human being and was a true artist with his well-known artistic temperament! He was,and has been a true gift of God to the music industry and music lovers! I am never in a doubt when I say that we will never have another or anyone close to Kishore Kumar .He has been an inspiration and I have composed several songs thinking of how Kishoreda would have sung them. He remains an inspiration to the music fraternity now, and in years ahead! My only regret in my musical carrier is that I never got a chance to make Kishoreda sing for me. Though his son Amit Kumar sang many superhit songs composed by me! The greatest gift from Bengal to the Hindi film industry is undoubtedly Kishore Kumar.”
More Pages: Padosan Box Office Collection
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