This talented playback singer and actor was born Abhas Kumar Ganguly on August 4, 1929. He is regarded as one of the finest male playback singers of all times. Kishore Kumar was multi-faceted and excelled as a lyricist, composer, producer, director, screen writer and scriptwriter. He has sung in many Indian languages other than Hindi.
Kishore Kumar’s father was a lawyer while his mother came from an extremely wealthy family. Kishore Kumar is the brother of legendary actor Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar. Kishore was a child when his older brother Ashok became an actor. Gradually Kishore Kumar started taking interest in films and was known to mimic K L Saigal, a popular singer from that era.
Kishore followed his older brothers to Mumbai to pursue a career in the film industry. At that point Ashok’s career was doing well but Anoop’s was not. Kishore Kumar had no formal training in music. When his brother Anoop returned from Austria, he brought some records to help him improve his singing, Kishore could mimic all the sounds he heard on the records. He made a name for himself as an actor but yearned to become a singer. He would invariably ask his producer if he could sing. At that point Kishore did not have his distinctive style of singing but would copy K L Saigal.
On a visit to Ashok Kumar’s house, the famous music composer Sachin Dev Burman heard Kishore Kumar sing and mistook him for K L Saigal. The music composer advised Kishore Kumar not to copy K L Saigal but develop his own style which he did – yodeling.
Kishore Kumar became an extremely popular actor in comedy films like Half Ticket, Padosan, Naukri, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Baap Re Baap, Badthi Ka Naam Dadhi and so on and so forth.
During his career as a playback singer, Kishore Kumar had the privilege of working with the best music composers like R D Burman (S D Burman’s son), Khemchand Prakash, Majrooh Sultanpuri Shankar-Jaikishan. Kishore Kumar has lend his voice to all the top Bollywood actors like Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Dharamendra to name a few.
On the personal front, Kishore Kumar was married four times. Kishore Kumar died in October 1987 when he had decided to retire from singing. His body was taken to his hometown, Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, for cremation.