A phenomenon called Kishore Kumar doesn’t come by often. And thank God for that! Stones are common. Gems must be rare. Before this crazy bundle of genius stepped up to be noticed, the film industry of this country had probably never witnessed anything like him. It can be safely said, several years after his death, the industry still searches for another Kishore Kumar. Singer, composer, lyricist, actor, filmmaker; the man was a one-stop entertainment shop. Eccentric were his ways – he once hung a sign that read ‘Beware of Kishore‘ outside his flat. The heart though was always in the right place – he composed several songs with celebrated music directors of his time but never claimed credit. It probably shows most when you hear that voice, one that ruled everything for four decades and continues to do so many years after October 13, 1987. He is yodeling in heaven.
We near Kishore Kumar‘s 28th death anniversary and while to pick a few songs from a celebrated catalog is a very, very difficult task, here is a quick look at some masterpieces that Kumar composed himself.
Main Hoo Jhumroo – Jhumroo (1961)
“…Manzil pe meri nazar. Main duniya se bekhabar. Beeti baaton pe dhool udaata chala.” As you play the lyrics in your head, you’d do well to think Kumar was singing this song for himself and not Jhumroo. The 1961-released Jhumroo was Kishore Kumar’s first movie as the credited music director and the album had a few too many incredible tracks. Well, he also produced, directed, acted in the movie and penned the lyrics for this song. Just saying.
Koi Humdum Na Raha – Jhumroo (1961)
Another song from the same movie yet very different from the title track. While Main Hoo Jhumroo is an upbeat, happy number you’d imagine the man singing with a big fat grin on his face, Koi Humdum Na Raha is a haunting song that screams melancholy; the same man singing both.
Aa Chal Ke Tujhe – Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964)
A movie Kumar produced and directed and perhaps his most mature work, Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein explored the relationship between a father and his deaf and mute son. Aa Chal Ke Tujhe is a beautiful song of hope and love. This song is basically John Lennon‘s Imagine, only a few years before Lennon.
Panthi Hoon Main Us Path Ka – Door Ka Rahi (1971)
Door Ka Rahi was yet another flawless example of Kumar’s talent. Once again, he wrote, directed, acted in and composed music for this 1971 film that one would wonder was only about the love the man had for the world around him. The same was captured beautifully in Panthi Hoon Main Us Path Ka.
O Jag Ke Rakhwale – Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964)
No, Kumar didn’t always sing the songs he composed. O Jag Ke Rakhwale sung by the legendary Manna Dey is such an example. This soulful bhajan further shows the variety Kumar could offer.
Kishore Kumar lives on with his work. And it isn’t going to be very soon before the country stops celebrating him. It has only been 28 years after all.