Kishore Kumar: The Two-Generation Man

Kishore Kumar sang for father and son among actors, lyricists, composers and singers. Photo: Publicity Photo


Hindi cinema’s biggest all-rounder, Kishore Kumar, would have turned 94 today. From a numerologist’s viewpoint, persons born on 4th,13th and 22nd have a fetish for research and originality, which explains Kishore trying out as many avenues of art as possible. Apart from being a top hero and singer, he was also an accomplished composer, producer, director, lyricist and film writer.

Undoubtedly, his biggest area of success was as playback singer, and his popularity was so much in that zone, despite becoming a top name as late as in 1969 that he was the voice of two generations of a family of actors.

Here is a look at the men he traversed.

Raj Kapoor & Randhir Kapoor-Rishi Kapoor-Rajiv Kapoor

Curiously, even today not many are aware that Kishore Kumar did sing for Raj Kapoor—in the 1950 Pyar under S.D. Burman. For son Randhir Kapoor, the journey began with his debut in Raj Kapoor’s production, Kal Aaj Aur Kal under Shankar-Jaikishan. Kishore also went on to sing for Raj Kapoor’s Dharam Karam and Biwi O Biwi for Randhir, with R.D. Burman’s music.

For Rishi Kapoor, the score began with his first outside film, Zehreela Insaan, with music by R.D. Burman, who also used his voice that year in Khel Khel Mein. In the same year, Laxmikant-Pyarelal used Kishore in a song in Zinda Dil. Obviously, he also opened his score with Rajiv Kapoor, right from the first film, Anu Malik’s Ek Jaan Hain Hum to being his only voice in films like Anu’s Aasmaan with more films to follow.

Rishi Kapoor & Ranbir Kapoor

As of now, thanks to technology, Kishore’s youngest artiste remains Ranbir Kapoor, who started his career 20 years after the singer’s demise! R.D. Burman’s Bachna ae haseeno from Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977), was re-created by Vishal-Shekhar and sung by Kishore’s younger son Sumit Kumar in Bachna Ae Haseeno, though the original song was also incorporated as a sample.

Dev Anand & Suniel Anand

Kishore, in his initial years, refused to sing for anyone other than Dev Anand and himself, calling himself “an actor, not singer” when he turned down songs like Kalyanji-Anandji’s Kasme vaade from Upkar. His first full-fledged break as singer was in Khemchand Prakash’s Ziddi (1948) for Dev Anand, and the last was Dev’s own film, Sacche Ka Bol Bala, a full 41 years later. But when Dev’s son Suneil Anand turned actor with Main Tere Liye and Anand Aur Anand in the 1980s, Kishore was the voice of choice in the former and also sang one song for Suniel in the latter. The composers, respectively, were Bappi Lahiri and R.D. Burman,

Dharmendra & Sunny Deol

Obviously then, Kishore began singing for most heroes late, and more so after the success of Aradhana. His first song for Dharmendra was the 1970 Shankar-Jaikishan hit Munne ki amma in Tum Haseen Main Jawan. But it did not take all that long to open his score with son Sunny Deol—with R.D. Burman’s Zabardast in 1985.

Manoj Kumar & Kunal Goswami

Kishore never sang for Manoj Kumar (and also for Guru Dutt, Pradeep Kumar and Johnny Walker) but nevertheless sang in his productions, Kranti and Painter Babu. He also sang the chartbuster, Neele neele ambar pe (Kalakar) and also in Do Gulaab for Manoj’s son, Kunal Goswami.

Mehmood & Lucky Ali

When Lucky Ali was an actor in Yehi Hai Zindagi, Kishore sang the chartbuster Dilruba aa meri baahon mein aa for him under Rajesh Roshan, a composer discovered by Mehmood. But Kishore was also Mehmood’s voice in multiple films including his home productions, Bhoot Bangla, Kunwara Baap and Sabse Bada Rupaiya besides outside movies like Humjoli and Albela (1971).

Premnath & Prem Krishen

Kalyanji-Anandji used Kishore for Premnath in Yeh pal chanchal from Kalicharan, incidentally the first song Ravindra Jain wrote for a composer other than himself. And Anu Malik used Kishore for son Prem Krishen in the beautiful Jaane jaana yeh hawaaen in the lesser-known Pagal Premee (1981). Both, interestingly, were Kishore-Asha duets.

Kishore Kumar remains among the legends of Hindi cinema as singer, actor, composer and much more. Photo: Publicity Photo

Jagdeep & Jaaved Jafferi

Roz roz Rosy was the hit Kishore sang for Jagdeep, among a few songs in other films, in Khilona. And when song Jaaved Jafferi took off in Meri Jung, it was Kishore singing for him in another funky song, Bol baby bol rock’n’roll.

Asha Bhosle & Hemant Bhosle

While Kishore’s work with Asha Bhosle is legion from the 1950s to the 1980s (Haal kaisa hai janaab ka / Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi; Ankhon ankhon mein / Mahal; Jaane jaan dhoondta phir raha / Jawani Diwani & Ek haseena thi /Karz), he was the sole male voice in her son, Hemant Bhosle’s debut as composer in Taxi Taxie. Some other films followed. And beginning with Jhumroo, Asha also sang in some films of Kishore as composer.

Mukesh & Nitin Mukesh

Kishore Kumar and Mukesh did sing together in those ‘live’ days. The classic Yeh kaisa aaya zamana from Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s Humjoli (1970) in which they were the voices of Mehmood essaying a Raj Kapoor-like simpleton and a Randhir Kapoor-like youngster a year and a half before Randhir’s actual debut and association with Kishore was one such case. Malkin in the 1950s, Satyakam, Kal Aaj Aur Kal, Mere Apne, Dharam Karam, Chor Mandali and Amar Akbar Anthony were among other collaborations.

But Kishore also sang thrice with Nitin Mukesh—in Maa o maa from Trimurti (1974), Hum teenon ki yeh yaari from Neeyat and Chana zor garam from Kranti.

S.D. Burman & R.D. Burman

This needs little explanation! The elder Burman was his mentor. The younger one made him a trendsetting voice from the 1970s despite the excellence of their work earlier.

Roshan & Rajesh Roshan

Roshan sporadically used Kishore Kumar’s voice in films like Malkin, Mashooqa and Aagosh. But until he lived, Kishore remained the main male singer for Rajesh Roshan, right from Kunwara Baap (1974), his debut.

Chitragupta & Anand-Milind

Kishore Kumar indeed sang some delectable solos and duets for Chitragupta, including their last song together, Aake mil jaa from Intezar (1973). The list included Payal wali dekhna (Ek Raaz) and Chhedo na meri zulfein (Ganga Ki Lehren) and included songs that he enacted. But he also was a key part of sons Anand-Milind’s 1984 debut, Ab Aayega Mazaa and, later, Peecha Karo.

Jan Nissar  Akhtar and Javed Akhtar

Piya piya piya more jiya pukarein (Baap re Baap) and Meri neendon mein tum (Naya Andaz) were among the lyricis written by Jan Nissar Akhtar that were sung by Kishore. And Kishore was the main male voice in son Javed’s debut as lyricist in Silsila, and later some more films like Saagar and Mr. India whose lyrics were by Javed—Kishore, of course, was a crucial singer in many films written by Salim-Javed and also Javed alone.

Anjaan & Sameer

Kishore Kumar has of course sung in multiple films with lyrics by Anjaan, led perhaps by Khaike paan Banaraswala (Don) and son Sameer too has penned several songs of his, notably in Sameer’s breakthrough film, Ab Aayega Mazaa.





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