The early 1960s saw some highs for this versatile artiste, while the latter half of the decade brought a change in Kishore Kumar’s career graph. His playback singing took off even as his acting career started to slump. Peeyush Sharma brings you the highs and the lows during this decade in his analysis.
Kishore Kumar’s acting career saw just two Hindi releases in 1961 plus one in Bengali. Krorepati was opposite Shashikala and Kumkum, directed by Mohan Sehgal and had music by Shankar Jaikishan. The film had all 3 brothers act in it.
He did a small role in the Bengali film Moddho Raater Tara, directed by Pinaki Mukherji and produced by the heroine, Pronoti Bhattacharya, with music by Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. The lead role was played by Abhi Bhattacharya.
The other release was Kishore’s own production, Jhumroo. Directed by Shanker Mukherji it had music composed by Kishore himself. He also contributed lyrics and wrote the story. Officially giving music for the first time in a film, his first album scored, as the songs were all hits. Koi humdum na raha koi sahara na raha (Kishore), Main hoon jhum jhum jhum jhum jhumroo (Kishore), and Thhandi hawa ye chandani suhani (Kishore and also a small part by Asha), are remembered even today. Bhola Shreshtha, a music director in his own right, handled arranging and orchestration for Kishore.
The film starred Madhubala with Chanchal, Jayant, Lalita Pawar and Anoop Kumar. It is peculiar to note that director Shanker Mukherji (Debendra Shanker Mukherji was his full name) who made films mostly with Dev Anand, was roped in by Kishore to direct, though in his next production Kishore donned the role of the director himself.
Thhandi hawa ye chandani suhani (Jhumroo, 1961) Kishore Kumar/ Majrooh/ Kishore and Asha
Five films released in 1962 were all hits. SD Narang after Dilli Ka Thug made Bombay Ka Chor with Mala Sinha and music by Ravi. Producer AV Meiyappan signed Kishore for Manmauji to be directed by Krishnan-Panju with Sadhana as his heroine and music by Madan Mohan. Again the songs were a rage. Murge ne jhooth bola murge ki choon-choon ho gayi (Kamal Barot), Chanda jaa chanda jaa re jaa re, and Main to tum sang nain mila ke haar gayi sajna (both Lata solos), Kishore sang the popular, Zaroorat hai zaroorat hai zaroorat hai, ik shrimati ki and his duet with Lata, Ik tha Abdul Rehman ik thi Abdul Rehmaniya.
Shakti Samanta produced and directed Naughty Boy with Kalpana and music by SD Burman. The Asha-Kishore duet Sa sa sa sa re…taar dilon ke ab jod do was a laugh riot. By this time Kishore had already started missing out on shootings and recording schedules due to Madhubala’s health issues. After waiting for days, Samanta had to record the duet, Ho gayi shaam dil badnaam leta jaaye tera naam with Manna Dey instead (and Asha) to be filmed on Kishore in the film.
Amar Kumar directed Rangoli with Vyjayanthimala as his heroine and music by Shankar Jaikishan. Again, the songs were a hit as was the film. Tandem in the voices of Kishore and Lata was Chhoti si ye duniya pehchane raaste hain. Their duet was Saagar pe aaj maujon ka raaj, and the Kishore title solo, Rangoli sajao re, rangoli sajao were popular.
The real laugh riot this year was Half Ticket. Produced by Pradeep Kumar and directed by his brother, Kalidas, it had Madhubala as heroine and music was by Salil Chowdhury. The film had been launched for quite some time when Kalidas had to approach the courts to get Kishore to come to the sets to deliver. Kishore delivered one of his craziest performances, that of a delinquent. He sang a duet in both male and female voices to be shot on himself in female garb and Pran. A record of sorts indeed. The song was Aake seedhi lagi dil pe jaise katariya, O sanwariya, teri julmi najariya.
The Lata-Kishore duet on Helen and Kishore was Woh ik nigaah kya mili tabiyatein machal gayien. The two duets on Madhubala and Kishore were one with Lata, Chand raat tum ho saath, and one with Geeta, Ankhon mein tum dil mein tum ho tumhari marzi. The one Kishore solo that remains a laugh-riot is this:
Cheel cheel chilla ke kajri sunaye (Half Ticket, 1962) Salil Chowdhury / Shailendra / Kishore
In 1963 he had only one release. Ek Raaz was a Nadiadwala production directed by Shakti Samanta and music by Chitragupt. Agar sun le to ik naghma huzur-e-yaar laya hoon was his lovely solo. The Lata solo was Utthegi tumhari nazar dheere dheere, and their duet was Ajnabi se ban ke karo na ishara, khudara idhar bhi dekho. Jamuna, the South Indian heroine, was the leading lady. They had earlier acted together in LV Prasad’s Miss Mary (1957).
It was for a very long time believed that this was the only semi-classical based song that Kishore sang in his heyday, till he became the numero uno singer. Penned by Majrooh it was a stage performance and Kishore was at his best in acting and singing
Payal wali dekhna, yahin pe kahin dil hai qadam taley aaye na (Ek Raaz, 1963) Chitragupt/ Majrooh/ Kishore
Baghi Shehzada was directed by fellow comedian, Maruti, with Kumkum as his heroine and music by Bipin Dutta (of the Bipin-Babul team). We are now in 1964. Producer Bipin Gupta brought Nimmi and Kishore together for the Satyen Bose directed Daal Mein Kaala with music by C Ramchandra. Both of these films were a washout at the box office.
The saving grace of the year was Devi Sharma’s Ganga Ki Lahren starring Savitri with Dharmendra and Kumkum against Kishore. Chitragupt’s music became popular and the film was a decent hit. Recollect the songs, Jai jai he Jagdambe mata (Lata and chorus), Chhedo na meri zulfein sab log kya kahenge (Lata/Kishore) and the title song, Machalti hui hawa mein chham chham (Lata/Kishore and chorus).
Kishore ventured into production and direction again, scoring music and writing the story as well for Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein. The film is the story of a father and son and he had his 11-year-old son, Amit, act and sing in the film. Highly acclaimed and critically appreciated, the film did decent business and the songs were a hit. Satyajit Ray paid rich compliments to Kishore for the film and its execution. The ace singer who became a top-selling and entertaining movie star had shown his deep understanding of the medium, exhibiting his creative abilities. He got Hemant Kumar to sing the title song, Raahi tu mat ruk jana. Asha and Manna had their share of songs too and Kishore sang some of his most well-sung and creatively tuned immortal numbers, such as Koi lauta de mere beete huye din, Jin raaton ki bhor nahin hai aaj aisi hi raat aayee, and Aa chal ke tujhe main le ke chaloon. All the lyrics were by Shailendra.
Aa chal ke tujhe main le ke chalun (Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein, 1964) Kishore Kumar/ Shailendra/ Kishore. A song every father loves to sing to his child.
In 1964 Shantilal Soni directed Kishore with Kumkum in CM Thakkar’s Mr. X in Bombay. It was a plot inspired by brother Ashok Kumar’s earlier hit, Mr. X, where a formula has been discovered that can make a man invisible and it was re-made later again by Shekhar Kapoor as Mr. India. It was Kishore Kumar’s first outing with new music composer-duo, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and the songs became super hits. Recollect Mere mehboob qayamat hogi (in 2 parts) by Kishore, and his duets with Lata Chali re chali re gori paniya bharan ko and Khubsoorat haseena jaane-jan jaaneman.
The year 1965 saw Kishore act in a two-hero Bengali film, Ektuku Chhoan Laagey, the other hero being Biswajit with Azra as the heroine. Music again was by Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and the film was directed by Kamal Majumdar. The producer was Dilip Kumar Sircar, son of the legendary New Theatre’s owner, BN Sircar.
Both his Hindi releases this year had music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the songs were hits. Shreeman Funtoosh was with Kumkum and directed again by Shantilal Soni. Recollect Sultana sultana tu na ghabraana (Lata/Kishore), Wo jharokhe se jo jhaanke to itna poochhoon and Ye dard bhara afsana sun le anjaan zamaana, (both Kishore).
The other release this year was the Maruti directed, Hum Sab Ustad Hain with Ameeta as his heroine and Dara Singh and Sheikh Mukhtar in important roles. The Lata and Kishore tandem, Ajnabi tum jaane-pehchane se lagte ho, was popular. Also popular were his solos, Suno jaana suno jaana mere pehlu se mat jaana, and Pyar baantate chalo. Though, this duet with Asha stole the show with lovely Asad Bhopali lyrics:
Kya teri zulfen hain, aha, kya teri baatein hain (Hum Sab Ustaad Hain, 1965) Laxmikant-Pyarelal / Asad Bhopali / Asha and Kishore
In 1966, Kishore did a small guest role in producer-director Mohan Sehgal’s Dharmendra-Sharmila Tagore starrer, Devar. His regular releases were Akalmand, co-starring IS Johar, Sonia Sahni, and Parveen Chowdhary, directed by Roop K Shorey with music by OP Nayyar for producer Ram Dayal. Ladka Ladki had Mumtaz as his heroine and was directed by Som Haksar with music by Madan Mohan. The film had Kishore in a light comic role till the interval which changed to a serious tragic part in the second half. His third film was Pyar Kiye Jaa, produced and directed by Sridhar. He shared screen space with Shashi Kapoor, Mehmood, Kalpana, and Mumtaz. The hit music was by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
His top-grade filmmakers had either deserted him by this point or he was doing two-hero films. It is said that his reporting for film shoots and song recordings had become erratic. Bhagwan had launched Hanste Rehna with himself and Kishore and was kept waiting on the sets for months. He is said to have lost substantial money on this, his last film production. It is believed that Madhubala’s ill health and treatment was taking its toll.
1967 was a washout year as well with BJ Patel directed Albela Mastana, with Asha Nadkarni as heroine and music by N Dutta not doing well. Duniya Nachegi directed by K Parvez with Kumkum and music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal also flopped. His home production, Hum Do Daku witnessed the same fate. The film had music, story, and direction by himself and starred Anoop Kumar, Bhagwan, Ganga, and others.
He acted in the lead role in yet another Bengali film, Dushtu Projapati, directed by Shyam Chakraborty with Tanuja as his heroine and music by Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.
Guten Morgen (Dushtu Projapati, 1967, Bengali) Hemanta Mukhopadhyay / Kishore. A hilarious rap type song with satirical lyrics.
The good news was that with films like Guide, Teen Deviyan and Duniya he was making a comeback as Dev Anand’s voice and succeeding as a singer.
1968 saw a major laugh riot from Kishore, though acting in third lead in Mehmood’s Padosan. Directed by Jyoti Swaroop with music by RD Burman, Sunil Dutt and Mehmood were the main lead players. His role as a music/drama master with paan juice seeping through his lips and his oily hair split down the middle has made him and the film immortal. So much was the impact of his performance that it is reported Mehmood cut off almost 20 minutes of Kishore’s footage in fear of being overshadowed by him.
Manna Dey in his biography writes that when Ek chatur naar was planned he was confident to outshine Kishore as it was a classical tune. He was in for a huge shock, however, in the recording room where Kishore kept making impromptu improvisations and stole the thunder right from under Manna’s nose. That was Kishore, second to none!
Mere bhole balam, mere pyare re balam…Meri pyaari Bindu (Padosan, 1968) RD Burman/ Rajinder Krishan/ Kishore
1968 was the final year that saw him acting as the lead player/hero in films. Though all the films released were unsuccessful commercially.
Bimal Roy productions Do Dooni Chaar directed by Debu Sen (with Gulzar as assistant to Sen and contributing to script and lyrics) had Kishore in a double role supported by Tanuja, and Asit Sen with music by Hemant Kumar. Hawaaon pe likh do hawaaon ke naam, remains popular even today.
Haye Mera Dil was directed by Ved-Madan and had Kumkum and IS Johar with music by Usha Khanna. Ijaazat ho to main kuchh aapse gustaakhiyan kar loon, might be in the memory of music connoisseurs.
Payal Ki Jhankar was his final outing with director MV Raman (they did 6 films together), Jyothilaxmi and Rajashree (of the south) were his heroines with C Ramchandra scoring the music. There was a lovely solo by Kishore, Mukhde pe gesu aa gaye, aadhe idhar aadhe udhar, in the movie.
Shrimanji was by producer-director Ram Dayal with music by OP Nayyar, co-starring IS Johar and Shahida. Mehmood’s Saadhu Aur Shaitaan (directed by A Bhimsingh) had Kishore doing a cameo.
Hawaon pe likh do, hawaon ke naam (Do Dooni Chaar, 1968) Hemant Kumar/ Gulzar/ Kishore
To be concluded…
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