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Last Updated 12.07.2024 | 10:44 PM IST



Kumar Sanu completes 40 years: From changing his name to getting paid Rs. 1k from Jagjit Singh, 20 rare facts about the Aashiqui singer

en Bollywood News Kumar Sanu completes 40 years: From changing his name to getting paid Rs. 1k from Jagjit Singh, 20 rare facts about the Aashiqui singer

Kumar Sanu was one of the few singers to be introduced by R.D. Burman. He was a raging storm from the 1990s. The cavalcade of hits in the next 15 years was incredible: the crème-de-la-crème began with Rajesh Roshan’s Jurm (his breakthrough cult classic, ‘Jab koi baat bigad jaaye’) and the milestone score of Nadeem-Shravan’s Aashiqui.

Kumar Sanu completes 40 years: From changing his name to getting paid Rs. 1k from Jagjit Singh, 20 rare facts about the Aashiqui singer

Kumar Sanu completes 40 years: From changing his name to getting paid Rs. 1k from Jagjit Singh, 20 rare facts about the Aashiqui singer

An array of the biggest chartbusters of all the frontline composers were with this man, who was considered a Kishore Kumar clone but went far beyond that label. Here are 20 unknown or rare facts about this endemically popular singer.

• Kedarnath Bhattacharya is Kumar Sanu’s real name. And his Kolkata-based musician father, Pashupati Bhattacharya, had his roots in Bangladesh. 1

• The 1984 song, ‘Dekhna dekhna dekhte dekhte kuch ho jaayega’ along with Shailendra Singh, Udit Narayan and Shakti Thakur was for Yeh Desh. Sanu was billed as Shanu Kumar Bhattacharya and was on vacation to Mumbai when RD gave him the song. His voice went on Gulshan Grover.

• He also recorded the song, ‘Yeh pyar ka mausam’ with Vani Jairam, earlier for a dubbed film, Baap Bete, which Sanu affirms never released. This song was filmed on Kamal Haasan and composed by Ilaiyaraja.

• When he finally came down to settle in Mumbai, his first song, ‘Main to karke sagaai’, was for Shatrughan Sinha’s home production, Andhiyaan, which also was shelved. The music was by Jagjit Singh, who had already recorded the song with a senior singer and was unhappy with it! But Jagjit was so happy with Sanu’s singing that he paid him Rs. 1000 and took him in his car to Kalyanji-Anandji, so that he could be groomed in the practical ropes of film singing.

• Over a period of time, Kalyanji was enamoured of Sanu’s diction while singing and told him that his Bengali name might be a hindrance to progress. He told him that his Urdu (which Sanu had taken special trouble to master) was excellent and christened him ‘Kumar Shanu’. In English, the name soon became ‘Kumar Sanu’.

• Kalyanji-Anandji’s earliest recordings for him included the soundtrack of Jaadugar, with Sanu singing all songs for Amitabh Bachchan. An impressed Bachchan recommended him to Rajesh Roshan who also used his voice for him in Insaniyat.

Jaadugar also had ‘Naach mein Radha’, a devotional number and his first duet with Alka Yagnik. Sanu and Alka were to form an extremely prolific and the topmost duet combination for over a decade.

• In K-A’s other film, C.I.D., released in 1990, Sanu sang for Vinod Khanna in the same film as Kishore Kumar, his inspiration and role-model, as well as his son Amit Kumar, who was to be called his “rival” later.

• In the late 1990s, a classically-expert singer recorded a song for a film, taking a few hours to do so. The composer was again not happy. Sanu was summoned and completed the dubbing with perfect emotions and expressions within 15 minutes! Grinning at this, Sanu made his famous remark, “Classical singers focus on gaayaki—the technical aspects of music and singing. I focus on naayaki—acting out the emotions needed with my voice!”

• Around this time, Sanu affectionately recalls singing for Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana under the music direction of Ravindra Jain. “The song ‘Ramji ki sena chali’ was one of my challenging songs,” says the singer.

• Gulshan Kumar of T-Series had recorded with Sanu on cover version albums of Kishore Kumar and introduced him to Nadeem-Shravan for an album. The first song, ‘Nazar ke saamne jigar ke paas’, was so loved by Nadeem that he named Sanu ‘Tiger”. And that name stuck! Many more songs were recorded and Gulshan was so impressed that he got Mahesh Bhatt to write a story around the songs. History was created as Aashiqui was born.

• Sanu also later sang under legends like Naushad, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman again and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

• While acknowledging his great debt to R.D. Burman for 1942—A Love Story, Sanu cannot forget that Laxmikant (of L-P) came to him for the launch-pad of his son Rishikesh as actor—Dilbar. “I have grown up on their music that had humongous variety!” he said. “And when I recorded my first song with them, ‘Mere dil mein laga hain o sanam’, I felt I was reborn!”

• He has memories of the serious person that Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar was when he recorded his only song for him, ‘Ek haseen nigah ka’ in Maya Memsaab. He quipped at the studio that he was uncomfortable if a composer never smiled, and the maestro actually laughed!

• Naushad, who had recorded just one song with Kishore Kumar, was so impressed by Sanu that he recorded three songs with him after summoning him for one, for the 1993 Guddu, all filmed on Shah Rukh Khan.

• Sanu’s list of actors ranges from Dev Anand to Shahid Kapoor. But he mentions Rishi Kapoor and after him, Shah Rukh Khan as two actors who have lip-synched his songs with maximum facial efforts. “The kind of songs we sing need to be aptly emoted in the matter of expressions. With Rishi and Shah Rukh, you can even see the distended veins!”
• Among singers junior to him, Sanu regards KK, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan high for their versatility and range, and regrets that KK is no more.

• And for those who thought Kumar Sanu (who has sung in over 20 languages) is passé, he has just recorded a song with a composer who can be considered the most au courant—today’s leading singer Arijit Singh!

• And it’s just recently that young composer Aman Pant composed ‘Do raazi ankhiyon ne’, the theme song of Raj & DK’s web series, Guns & Gulaabs, starring Rajkummar Rao.

• Sanu’s daughter, Shannon K., who is based out of the US, has made it on her own, dad said proudly. “She has cut English singles and has her own set of music partners. She will soon record Hindi songs,” Sanu said.


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