Kishore Kumar | Master Magician of Romantic Songs

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His Life: The legendary playback singer

  • Year 1929 – Born in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Year 1946 – First appeared in the movie Shikari.
  • Year 1949 – Permanently moved to Mumbai.
  • Year 1950 – Married Bengali singer Ruma Guha
  • Year 1960 – Converted to Islam for the second wife.
  • Year 1970 – Won the first Filmfare Award.
  • Year 1987 – Left the world.

People bore me. Film people particularly bore me. I prefer talking to my trees.” 

Kishore Kumar or Abhas Kumar Ganguly was one of those singers who took music and singing to a new high in the golden era. His songs are still so melodic that the people of the modern world love his singing style. Music lovers of the recent generation appreciate his style of dual voice as a male and female. Fans and followers remember him more as a charming singer than an actor.


Kishore Kumar was born into a Bengali family in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. He was born on August 4, 1929. His father Kunjalal was a lawyer and his mother Gauri Devi belonged to a wealthy family. There were four siblings in Ganguly family; Ashok, Anoop, Abhas and Sati. Kumar was of very young age when his elder brother became a Bollywood star.

Personal Life

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Kishore Kumar completed his graduation from the Christian college, Indore. From childhood, he didn’t receive any specific kind of singing training. He married four times. He tied his knot first time with the singer and actress Ruma Guha Thakurta. His second marriage was a big trouble for him when he married Madhubala and changed his name to Karim Abdul due to conversion to Islam. Kumar’s third wife was Yogeeta Bali and the fourth wife was Leena Chandavarkar. He had two sons, Amit Kumar with Ruma and Sumit Kumar with Leena.

Kumar was known to be a paranoid about his payment. During the recordings, he only starts singing when his secretary made a confirmation of payment. On one such occasion, Kumar came with half makeup on his face to the shooting because director paid only half of the amount. When he was questioned for half makeup he said “ Adha pasia to Adha makeup” (half money half makeup). During the Emergency (1975-1977) Sanjay Gandhi asked him to sing for his party but Kumar denied.

As a result, Congress Government banned the broadcasting of his song on the radio and Doordarshan till the end of the Emergency.

Career Journey

During Ashok’s golden era, Abhas changed his name to Kishore and started film career as a chorus singer at Bombay Talkies. He made his first appearance in the movie Shikari (1946) with his elder brother who was the lead cast. Kumar sang his first song Marne ki Duayen Kyon Mangu for the movie Ziddi (1948). Phani Majumdar signed him as a leading actor for the movie Andolan in 1951. Music director Salil Chawdhury was not in favor of letting Kumar sing in his movie Naukari (1954) due to the lack of formal training.

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However, Salil decided to test his voice. After hearing Kumar, he offered him a song Chhota sa Ghar Hoga. Once Salil Chawdhury wanted Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar to sing a duet. Unfortunately, Lataji was out of town which made Salil tensed, but Kumar solved his problem by singing the song in dual voice for a male and female. He developed his own style of singing, encouraged by S.D Burman. After 1966, he became notorious for coming late and bunking the shootings. His films flopped frequently and he was trapped in income tax trouble.

However, the year 1968 and 1969 were fortunate for him. His films Padosan (1968) and Aradhana (1969) brought him his fame back. Song Roop Tera Mastana earned him a Filmfare Award.

Award and Recognition

He won the Filmfare Awards for the Best Male Playback Singer for the movies Aradhana (1970), Amanush (1976), Don (1979), Thodisi Bewafaii (1981), Namak Halaal (1983), Agar Tum Na Hote (1984), Sharaabi (1985) and Saagar (1986). He is also the recipient of four Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards.

Later Life

He died after suffering a heart attack on October 13, 1987. He died at the age of 51 and his body was brought to Khandawa for last rites. He recorded his last song Guru Guru for the film Waqt Ki Aawaz (1988) the day before he left the world. Kishore Kumar aka Kishore Da left his voice and style of singing as the legacy for upcoming singers.

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