Kundal Lal Saigal: A Singer Who Sang Like A Divine Being


K.L. Saigal:  Invoking Sound Of Heaven

K.L. Saigal: Invoking Sound Of Heaven

Some souls are reflection of divinity. The great singer Kundal Lal Saigal was one such soul, who manifested divinity in a great way. In fact, true artists are never devoid of divine touch. Creativity cannot emerge from mental landscape not submerged in ocean of divinity. I belong to a generation, which believes in worshiping new icons of modernity. For them these legendary creative artists of yesteryear might not seem that appealing but anyone who have had glimpse of their creativity would certainly stand amazed. 

The noticeable thing about K. L. Saigal  was that he managed to sing straight from the heart. This phrase seems so commonplace but not many realize that how difficult it is to demonstrate it in practical terms. That’s because shades of ego block our ability to exhibit true colour of simplicity. The complex persona creates blockade. One reason why K. L. Saigal could stir the emotions was that deeper emotions were so naturally rendered by him without compromising with the raga and raginis.

It’s really surprising that at a time when Indian film music was still in its nascent stage of growth, it traced such a sensational singer, which set high standards in world of popular music, hard to emulate by future singers. The influence of his voice can be understood by the fact that even likes of Amitabh Bachchan came to praise him. The singers like Lata,  Rafi and Kishore, all treated him like demigod. Mukesh, was, in fact,  very sincere follower of his style of singing, who found it difficult to develop his own style. After mesmerizing everybody with his “Dil jalta hai to jalne de”, sung in Saigal style, Mukesh went on to develop his own style of singing.

His impact can also be felt in crude way in modern times when someone made caricature of his voice to sell a particular brand of toothpaste! Of late, I found one singer paying tribute to him in infamous movie Delhi Belly! Not many remember that Kishore Kumar treated K L Saigal as his Guru (The Master). He always practiced singing his songs and when he first met Saigal, he was asked by the legendary Saigal to sing a song. He sang one of his songs ” Man moorakh kyo deewana hai, aaj rahe kal jaana hai”. Saigal was very impressed by his singing but he suggested him that he should remove “Anga Dosha” (defects associated with body). Kishore used to sing with vigorous body movements also in action! Though Kishore Kumar did not strictly followed his advise but he managed to keep his body still while singing songs of Saigal in later days! 

Coming to myself, I have nearly heard all his popular numbers. His songs instill deep peace within me. His amazing range and soulful rendering enabled me to get above the harsh episodes of life in effortless manner. His song sung during the fag end of his career, “Gham Diye Mustaqil” (Shahjahaan, 1946), always brings tears in the eyes. The superb rendering, which also reflected his own personal sufferings, makes one attain trance like state. Another song, which left an everlasting influence on me is from movie Tansen (1943): Kahe Guman Kare. Every time I hear it, the simplistic approach adopted by Saigal in this song makes me smile. After all, the singer is trying hard to convince a beautiful woman not to take pride in her  beauty!

I still remember the day when I found a very rare album of Saigal in one lesser heard music shop of my city. That shop was not frequently visited by the buyers since the shopkeeper was not customer-friendly, who always had heated argument over the price of cassettes. The fight also started with me when he priced this cassette three times the original price on a pretext that it was a rare album. Though I had not sufficient money, I still managed to buy this album! After all, it had a soothing devotional song associated with Lord Krishna: Suno Suno Hey Krishan Kala ( Chandidas, 1934). One can notice in this song that Saigal has sung high notes in effortless manner, without compromising with the depth of the emotions.

It’s a peculiar phenomenon that souls, governed by divine instincts, often leave the earthly plane of existence in an young age. K L Saigal also proved to be no exception when he died at the age of 42. The lesser souls speak about his habit of  heavy drinking but that’s the way how worldly people treat exceptional souls. For me and others, he shall always be remembered for making songs a mean to invoke divinity.


K. L. Saigal

Pics Credit:

Pic One


18 responses

  1. “For me and others, he shall always be remembered for making songs a mean to invoke divinity.”

    A beautiful tribute.

    1. @Laurie Buchanan

      Many thanks for appearing on this post..It’s a great gesture on your part that you rarely miss my posts 🙂

      An unique thing about real artists is that his/her appeal transcend boundaries. Even though we may not be aware of the language, and so we might miss the essence of their contributions, but a conscious heart shall always be able to relate with depth of emotions present in them.

  2. Very nice and informative article,he had one bad habit of drinking,Naushad sahab once said in his interview ,It was believed that Sahgal sahab sings well when he is drunk,to prove this myth wrong ,Naushad sahab did an experiment,he recorded song “Ghma diye Mustaquil ” twice ,one before drunk and another after drunk.When Sahagl sahab heard both the versions then he said this one is better (Before drunk),Sahgal sahab thought that it must have recorded after being drunk.When he came to know the real fact then he felt cheated and said had it been known to him earlier he would have live few more years.

    1. @Sudhir Dwivedi…

      I must say that wannabe singers should listen to such legendary singers if they really wish to emerge as perfect singers. They teach us lot even if we come to hear them casually. I love singing but I have not that sort if gifted vocal chords but I have still learned what deep singing really is by merely listening to such great singers of past with conscious mind, ears and heart! And now I realize that it’s not vocal chord but a simple and pure heart that makes one a great singer!

      Listen this lesser heard Ghazal sung by K.L Saigal. I loved this ghazal merely because of its deep feelings but do listen what this YouTube listener has said about this ghazal:

      “Only KL Saigal could sing this Ghazal fluently and smoothly in such fast tempo without loss of melody at all and without being conscious of the fast tempo/laya, which makes this Ghazal singing exemplary.” ( Ved Prakash)

  3. @Arvind Sharma, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, said:

    Truly a divine singer— there is no doubt about it!

    Author’s Response:

    Who can better understand the significance of this post other than someone like you hailing from Akashvani family :P….Unfortunately, we are living in times when such souls are in lesser numbers. But it’s heartening that he stays in our heart in form of his songs. Presenting this song for your ears:

    Hum apna unhe bana na sake, Khokar bhi unko paa na sake:



    Arvind Sharma Said:

    Beautifully and very soulfully sung by the greatest of all of them– the great and only K.L. Sehgal. Thanks for it.

  4. Author’s words for Rajendra Mishraji, Poet/Journalist, Chunar, Uttar Pradesh:

    Rajendra Mishraji..

    Many thanks for liking this post..Hope by having a look at my posts, you would have realized the side not known to many of my near and dear ones..Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading the article..Since this does not allow live links, the version of this article on Indowaves, allows songs and videos of K.L.Saigal to be played. So try to see the WordPress version of this article.


  5. Author’s words for Ghanshyam Dasji, United Arab Emirates:

    Since I appreciate simplicity, the simple down-to-earth approach of K.L. Saigal always appealed to me. I hope you would have heard this Surdas Bhajan many times: Madhukar Shyam Humare Chor..Hear the same in sonorous voice of K.L.Saigal:

  6. Carmen Ampuero, Lima, Peru, said:

    Like you are my dear Arvind… regards

    Author’s Response:

    Since I am myself deeply creative ( even though the creative outpourings do not exactly match with intense feelings within), anything even slightly connected with dilemmas of a true artists moves me. And the wonderful thing about a creative artist is that often their appeal is universal. Hope you come to not only read the post but also make an attempt to listen to his songs..

  7. Author’s Words For Swami Prabhu Chaitanyaji, Patna, Bihar:

    Hope you enjoyed reading my post…It in itself a blissful experience to read and talk about such great souls. That allows you to explore never heard aspects of creative geniuses. The most amazing thing about him was that he translated the feelings of heart as it is through his vocal chords in form of his singing..

    Listen this song and it will let you know what happens in the world of beloved..I am sure this is what you must be telling to your newly arrived wife 😛

    Kya Humne Bigada Hai, Kyo Humko Satate Ho


  8. Author’s Words For Prasanjit Sahaji, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh:

    I really missed you..Hope all is well with you..Really glad to notice your presence on my post after such a long time..Wish you Happy New Year…And yes, keep appearing timely on my posts, or else you will always find me crooning..

    Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya To Jeekar Kya Karenge..A song that is close to my heartbeats…It helped me lot to make sense with sad periods of life, which often chased me…


  9. Many thanks to these readers also for making their presence felt on this post:

    Ravi Hooda, Canada; Manjoy Laxmi, Nagpur, Maharashtra; Himanshu B.Pandey, Siwan, Bihar; Rekha Pandey, Mumbai; Ankit Sharma, Ahmedabad, Gujarat; Mudit Pandey, Bangalore, Karnataka; Kumar Vidrohi, New Delhi; Sandeep Pandey, New Delhi; Shashikant R.Pandey, Ahmedabad,Gujarat;Nita Pandey, Chennai, Tamil Nadu; Anjeev Pandey,Nagpir, Maharashtra; Baijnath Pandey, Editor, New Delhi; Anupama Saksenaji, New Delhi; Debasis Pandey,Puri, Orissa; Urmila Harit, New Delhi; Sachchida Nand Rai, Silvassa, Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli; and Ramakant Pandey, Rudrapur, West Bengal.

  10. Baijnath Pandey, New Delhi, said:

    I am a great fan of K L Saigal. He’s got a captivating voice and a great sense of rythm. It is true that the younger generation might fail to reward the true art of these forgotten gems partly because they have lost the sense of true music due to overindulgence in business and partly because they never got introduced to this great world of divine serenity. Those people are really unfortunate who did not get a chance to admire these evergreen artistes – they are worthy of sincere applause.

    Author’s Response:

    That’s the problem..We don’t lend our ears to great compositions of previous eras, which prevents us from developing refined taste. That also prevents us from recognizing excellence in its purest form. So our ability to create better music gets eroded.

  11. Anupam Verma, New Delhi, said:

    Ya….He was a real “KUNDAN” …Hats off to him !!!

    Author’s Response:

    True…He was a real gold- the Kundan. …Not unlike those who glitter but are not gold!!!

  12. What others said about this article on other sites:

    Mindy Rodman, United States, on booksie.com:

    Thanks for the info, I’ve never heard of him, you write well and expressively, you succeeded in communicating the feeling you have about him and his music…


    Author’s words for Mindy Rodman:

    Thanks for your kind words..

    The expressions sound genuine and deep because I deeply identify with the causes I pursue..I try my level best to write on issues of which I have first-hand experience..Even though there are many issues/stories which cannot all the time be dealt with in personal way, largely because of lack of resources, and there is danger of losing genuineness, but even then I make serious efforts to lend it sound credibility.

    Hope to find you again..

  13. Swami Prabhu Chaitanya, Patna, Bihar, said:

    मित्र K L Sahgal साहब मेरे ख्याल से
    फ़िल्मी गायन जगत के सबसे पहले हीरो हैं
    मैं Just उनकी बाद की पीढ़ी के गायकों का दीवाना हूँ

    मगर ऐसा भी नहीं कि उनके उन सदाबहार गानों से नावाकिफ़ हूँ
    चलिए मैं भी कुछ अपनी पसन्द के गीत share करता हूँ

    Enjoy these Videos:

    Do Naina Matware Hum par Julum Kare

    Babul Mora Naiher Chutol Jaye:


    Author’s Response:

    That song I have also shared in my post-the first video…K.L.Saigal never died. He inspired many singers of later generation. And I must say that deeper emotions which he conveyed so effortlessly was hardly the case in later period.Just see how emotions have plastic in modern period!!

  14. Debasis Pandey, Puri, Orissa, said:

    आज भी अच्छा लगता है सुनने में “बाबुल मोरा नैहर छूटा जाएँ ”

    Author’s Response:

    यही तो खासियत है इस कंठ की।। जो भी गीत निकला वो एवरग्रीन हो गया।

  15. Prasanjit Saha, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, said:

    Arvindji, Thanks for making me feel so special. I wish you too a happy 2013. The blogs that you write are always well written and I always appreciate the quality of your articles irrespective of whether I agree/disagree with the views expressed in them.

    Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes life makes you happy and somtimes sad, but then this quality of life makes it so colorful and makes us wise.

    Author’s Response:

    Thanks for your views..One of the reasons for me to continue writing amid not-so encouraging scenario for writing is continuous positive support from people who really matter…Thanks to you as well for making me feel special …And yes, remain in touch..There should not be long communication gap between close friends.Or else, misimpressions prevail….Take Care Of Yourself..

  16. Prasanjit Saha said:

    Arvindji, My support and encouragement will be always with you.

    Author’s Response:

    Many thanks dear friend!!

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