Face-To-Face With Kishore Kumar Via His Rare Interviews Including One To Lata Mangeshkar!

Kishore Kumar:  A Gandharva In Action

Kishore Kumar: A Gandharva In Action

It’s never an easy task to find appropriate words that come to honor the greatness of some people. I always face the shortage of expressions whenever I wish to say something about Kishore Kumar as earthly words, in my eyes, come to limit the achievements. However, the dilemma to miss the opportunity to say few things whenever time allows you to do that always haunts me and I am but just compelled to deal with unique aspects related with this man. This man was not just a mere entertainer -the nachaiyya gavaiyya soul ( mere singer and dancer).

He was a Gandharva in human form or a saint with a musical heart who lived with us to help us release our pains and frustrations and turn into better human beings with the help of notes of music.On his birth anniversary, I wish to take note of unheard aspects related with his life via him! I mean with the help of few recordings that captured him live in conversation with equally legendary figures. I think it would be the best way to shatter many myths associated with this great man.

Like in this rare video wherein I find Shammi Kapoor talking about Kishore Kumar. Though Kishore Kumar does not figure live in this video but Shammi Kapoor was one of the contemporaries who loved him lot. He was quite frustrated on not having any song to his credit in voice of Kishore. He got so identified with voice of Rafi that in his long career he didn’t get a single chance when Kishore could sing for him even as they walked together for decades. And that made Shammi restless as he loved this wonderful person very much. Remembering Kishore’s love for Madhubala he was bit sad. Shammi calls it a tragic affair but he came to shatter the falsehood that Kishore was bit casual towards Madhubala when she was seriously ill.

Shammi tells that this man did all what was humanly possible despite having tight singing schedules. Anyway, Shammi was the happiest person on earth when Kishore finally sang for him. The song turned out to be one of the biggest hits of its times and also one of the most notorious songs in history of Hindi movie songs. Remember “Saat Saheliya Khadi Khadi” from Vidhaata! Yes, this was the first song picturized on Shammi Kapoor in voice of Kishore and what a song it turned out to be!

Can you imagine Kishore in a long conversation with Lata? Yes, that’s true. These two legendary figures entered in a long conversation all in the name of interview. Kishore was so unhappy with media persons that he said if now ever he gave interview it would only be a possibility if Lata approaches him. A generosity on part of Lata made it possible for future generations to see two great people in a very intimate conversation.It was supposed to be an interview but it turned out to be more than an interview. After all, taking interviews was not Lata’s cup of tea! These two souls in name of interview revealed so many touching episodes as they laughed and smiled together. No wonder Lata went into stage of huge depression after death of Kishore Kumar.

In this so-called interview, Kishore remembers how he came to meet her for the first time in a very hilarious way when Lata misunderstood him for a man chasing him! They both went to a same studio in the same train together for two different purposes. Later the confusion got removed when it became clear that Kishore actually had an appointment with Khemchand Prakash and so he was in the studio to meet him. He held Khemchand Prakash in high esteem as this was the man who shaped his music career. Though K L Saigal was source of inspiration for both Lata and Kishore, Kishore finds the contribution of Khemchand Prakash a defining one.It was he who assured Ashok Kumar that this man had great singing talent. Ashok Kumar was bit apprehensive about the singing ability of Kishore in front of Khemchand Prakash telling him that he lacked the art of voice modulation!

In another part of this interview one finds him making candid confession before Lata that he lacked formal training in music and Lata in that regards stood miles ahead of him. One can notice the sense of embarrassment which grips Lata on this disclosure. Anyway, both felt that music has changed its face lot and singing is now no longer that beautiful affair but a strenuous affair. Kishore was really depressed over the badmouthing that portrayed a false image of his in eyes of his well wishers. Kishore made Lata uncomfortable once again when he asked her why do people enter in such loose talk? Though Lata dismissed such rumours associated with Kishore outrightly stating this was all bullshit but logical explanation came from the side of Kishore himself. Hitting the detractors below the belt  he stated that world belongs to mad people devoid of ethics of any sorts! Kishore says that people hail him as a person not in his senses but he feels that world has gone to the dogs!

True, many people accuse him of money oriented but I am pretty confused as the man who had to do so many charity shows to get rid of income tax burdens could never be a money conscious soul. In fact, look at the way he suggests Lata to stop singing and do stage shows for charity’s sake. Can this ever come out from heart of money conscious soul? At least, it’s impossible in my eyes. Anyway, let me discuss his association with a towering figure in the world of Hindi film music S D Burman. A person who played a monumental role in life of Kishore. Kishore reciprocated the kind gestures of this great man by hailing him as mentor and father figure. Nobody saw tears in eyes of lively Kishore lost in laughs all the times but the day S D Burman passed away many noticed tears in his eyes. Recalling the same experience live he says that it appeared to him as he sat near his dead body that this man would just wake up and ask him to sing! One is really touched the way Kishore unfolds his association with S D Burman.

This was the man who was conscious of Kishore the way a father is conscious of a pretty naughty child. In fact, SD Burman was himself a child hearted figure. So both enjoyed a great chemistry.Kishore remembering S D Burman says that he became hugely upset with him when he started doing so many concerts, fearing that it would deteriorate the quality of his vocal chords. He warned Kishore that if he did not stop doing concerts it would be impossible for him to give him singing assignments.

Revealing the innocence of S D Burman he tells us that when he refused to participate in practice sessions, S D Burman invited him to share food with him at his home. After enjoying great food as he was about to leave, S D Burman locked the doors and get him involved in the rigorous practice sessions. S D Burman at odd hours of night used to give rings to Kishore mainly to ensure that all is well with his vocal chords! Once as he was about to leave for important recording, he noticed S D Burman coming towards him and taking him to a long drive to an open area full of greenery. S D Burman asking him to run in open fields along with him made Kishore sing some songs for him at the end of running session!! No wonder he was in tears when S D Burman became part of the stars.

Ending this article with prophetic words he said to Lata. This man did not live for long after he said that. I notice that this great man like all exceptional soul was eager to merge in supreme consciousness. He told Lata that it’s now time to bid adieu to this temporary home as it’s good for artists that they should quit the world once they have achieved all. It’s not good that they should leave the world, when the world starts treating them with disdain! This man I find left the world after this disclosure. However, he lives in our memories in an eternal way. Such people never die.

Some of the popular songs of Kishore Kumara are here: Kishore Kumar Songs

Kishore Kumar : People Like You Never Die

Kishore Kumar : People Like You Never Die

1. Kishore Kumar In Conversation With Lata:

2. Kishore Kumar Talks About S D Burman (Part One)

3. Kishore Kumar Talks About S D Burman (Part Two)

4. Kishore Kumar Talks About S D Burman (Part Three)

5. Shammi Kapoor Remembers Kishore Kumar

6. Kishore Kumar Live ( Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas)

7. Kishore Kumar Live ( Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana)

Some Popular Kishore Songs Are Here:  Popular Songs Of Kishore Kumar

Pics Reference:

Pic One

Pic Two

6 responses

  1. Great post! Was too busy listening to radio the whole day. I finally had the time to come and read your blog and listen to all the interviews.
    It was such a pleasure listening to him. Thank you so much for re-introducing me to this legend named Kishore Kumar!

    1. @Archana

      Thanks for dropping by and letting me know what you really felt about my post. At the very outset , I wish to thank you for your kind words. I am a usually more bothered over serious current affairs issues and avoid dealing with entertainment section. However, of late, I felt I need to work in this section as well. I can notice you are ardent lover of radio and so we seem to nurture same taste!! You have developed taste for good music, which is remarkable. Not many have such sensibilities.

      As mentioned earlier, it’s not an easy task to unfold the episodes associated with lives of such great people. The only reason why I love to delve deep into episodes related with them is that it allows me understand life better!! One remarkable thing about Kishore was that he always spoke straight from the heart, caring a damn for the repercussions. I was at great pains to read that world was not very kind to him. It’s always the case that life of a genius is a saga of pain and humiliation. Kishore was no exception. I need to present excerpts from the interview that he gave to Pritish Nandi for Illustrated Weekly. Listen what he has said about the world of glamour, which is sadly the ultimate dream of many.


      You look at these film people and you instantly know they’re rogues….You can’t trust them an inch. I have been in this rat race for so long that I can smell trouble from miles afar. I smelt trouble the day I came to Bombay in the hope of becoming a playback singer and got conned into acting. I should have just turned my back and run.


      Why should they take me for granted? These people never pay unless you teach them a lesson. I was shooting in the South once. I think the film was Miss Mary and these chaps kept me waiting in the hotel room for five days without shooting.

      But no one can make me do what I don’t want to do. I don’t sing at anyone’s will or command. But I sing for charities, causes all the time…

      (On Madhubala)

      So I kept my word and brought her home as my wife, even though I knew she was dying from a congenital heart problem. For 9 long years I nursed her. I watched her die before my own eyes. You can never understand what this means until you live through this yourself. She was such a beautiful woman and she died so painfully. She would rave and rant and scream in frustration. How can such an active person spend 9 long years bed-ridden? And I had to humour her all the time. That’s what the doctor asked me to. That’s what I did till her very last breath. I would laugh with her. I would cry with her.


      Who can live in this stupid, friendless city where everyone seeks to exploit you every moment of the day? Can you trust anyone out here? Is anyone trustworthy? Is anyone a friend you can count on? I am determined to get out of this futile rat race and live as I’ve always wanted to. In my native Khandwa, the land of my forefathers. Who wants to die in this ugly city?


      (On Producers)

      I matter to them only because I sell. Who cared for me during my bad days? Who cares for anyone in this profession?



      Kishore Kumar was very fond of Sachin Dev Burman and used to respect him a lot. During a recording of his song, SD Burman had a heart attack, and was admitted to the hospital. Kishore Kumar rushed to the hospital and promised him to complete the recording. Not only he kept his promise, he sang it with such elan that it went on to become one of his signature song in the days to come — “Badi sooni sooni hai…”

      Source: http://songs.kishorekumar.org/kishore-kumar-trivia


      Presenting you one of my favorites: Badi Sooni Sooni Hai

      Music: SD Burman

      Lyricist: Yogesh

      Movie: Mili

  2. Thank you! Radio has been my best friend for over a decade now. So, I couldn’t help but develop a good taste in music 😉
    I have read that interview with Pritish Nandy. As an onlooker, we often get fascinated by the lives of celebrities – the glitz and glamour, their lifestyle. But how many of us would take time to wonder if they are really happy and if that’s what and where they’ve always wanted to be?

    I think, the ability to remain yourself inspite of the entire world trying to change you at every step is the biggest challenge in life. And that’s something Kishore da was successful in doing. He managed to remain himself 🙂

    1. @sunheriyaadein

      I have myself struck deep intimate bond with Radio since childhood some two and half decades back. It’s been side-by-side myself in good and bad times.

      One needs to go beyond the obvious to taste the reality. Many of us lack this great ability and so they move from one illusion to other illusion.

      The lives of Kishore Kumar and Charlie Chaplin makes us realize that often the most smiling faces are born out of deep pains. “I love walking in the Rain because nobody can see me crying.” -Charlie Chaplin.

      If you have had a close look at the Lata’s interview you would have taken note of Kishore’s confession that in order to survive some madness is essential or, for that matter, you have to pretend that you are mad.

      I agree with you Archana that Kishore lived an exceptional life in a sense that he lived life on his own terms even as that opened gates of sufferings for him. What can I say? Hum Bewafa Hargiz Na Thein Par Hum Wafa Kar Na Sake..


  3. […] Face-To-Face With Kishore Kumar Via His Rare Interviews Including One To Lata Mangeshkar! […]

  4. Archana Hebbar Colquhoun | Reply

    I savour every bit of news, views, and opinions on Kishore Kumar. Where can we watch videos of his live performances, barring the few snippets on youtube?

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