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His versatility and brilliance in music made Kishore Kumar a renowned playback singer, lyricist and composer. With this biography, explore all about Kishore Kumar's profile and life.

Kishore Kumar

Born On: August 4, 1929
Born In: Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
Died On: October 13, 1987
Career: Playback singer
Nationality: Indian

Kishore Kumar was the voice that rocked the 70's and 80's of Indian film industry. It wouldn't be wrong to say that he was the man who could curve the lips of a gloomy man with his beautiful voice and could make a happy man sad with the extremity of emotions present in his songs. Though he was christened Abhas Kumar Ganguly, he is fondly remembered as Kishor da by all folks. He always believed in taking risks and experimenting with different styles of music. The songs of Kishore Kumar have an extraordinary blend of romance, emotions, naughtiness and melancholy. He was famous for singing upbeat light songs, and performing in light comical roles. Kishore Kumar was a sublime genius with the customary trappings of eccentricity and madness. Gifted with the most precious vocal talents, Kishore Kumar held sway in Hindi film music with a slew of memorable renditions delivered in his inimitable style. Read the biography of the multi-talented personality whose destined dreams, though achieved rammed early.

Early Life
On the 4th August 1929, Kishore Kumar was born to a Bengali family in the small town of Khandwa (now in Madhya Pradesh). During those days, he was known as Abhas Kumar Ganguly. His father Kunjilal Ganguly was a lawyer and his mother was Gouri Devi. He was the youngest out of the four children. His brothers Ashok Kumar and Anoop Kumar entered the arena of Bollywood when he was still a child. Spending time with his brothers, he too got intrigued by the charm of Bollywood movies and music. Also, he was supported by his family all through.

Post Ashok Kumar's stardom, the Ganguly family shifted base to Mumbai. This was also the time when Abhas Kumar Ganguly changed his name to Kishore Kumar. His first venture into the big cinema career was as a chorus singer in the film "Bombay Talkies". His first film as an actor was in the film called "Shikari" which was released in the year 1946, wherein Ashok Kumar was the lead hero. In 1948, Kishore Kumar got a chance to sing the song "Marne Ki Duayen Kyon Mangu" for the film "Ziddi". After this, he got many other assignments, but he was not very serious about a film career. Although his films were flop initially, he achieved success as a comic hero with movies like "New Delhi", "Half Ticket" and "Padosan". All the praise and honor for his acting skills was still not the platform for his successful throne. He achieved his varied and un-battled fame after he was recognized as an established singer.

Kishore Kumar was a great fan of legendary senior Indian actor-singer, Kundan Lal Saigal and he soon started mimicking his style. He gradually developed his own yodeling style of singing after music director, SD Burman advised him to stop copying Saigal. Later, SD Burman also gave him umpteen number of opportunities in movies like Dev Anand's "Munimji" (1954), "Taxi Driver" (1954), "House No. 44" (1955), "Funtoosh" (1956), "Nau Do Gyarah" (1957), "Paying Guest" (1957), "Guide" (1965), "Jewel Thief" (1967), "Prem Pujari" (1970), and "Tere Mere Sapne" (1971) which included super hit tracks like "Maana Janaab Ne Pukara Nahin" from "Paying Guest", "Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke" from "Nau Do Gyarah" (1957), "Ai Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa" from "Funtoosh", and "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si" and "Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka" from "Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi" (1958).

With time, music directors started recognizing the potential of Kishore Kumar and he became one of the leading singers in the Indian film industry. The period of 1960s was a lean patch in the career graph of Kishore. Most of his films bombed at the box office. However, in 1969 the tables turned once again, as R. D. Burman took over the recording after S. D. Burman fell ill for the film "Aradhana". R. D. Burman got Kishore Kumar to solo sing the songs "Mere Sapno Ki Rani" and "Roop Tera Mastana", both of which gained instant success. Kishore Kumar also won his first Filmfare award for the song "Roop Tera Mastana". During the 1970s and 1980s, he sang for Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Dev Anand, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff.

With R. D. Burman, Kishore delivered great hits "O Maajhi Re" from Khushboo, "Yeh Shaam Mastaani" and "Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai" from Kati Patang (1971), "Kuchh To Log Kahenge" from Amar Prem (1972), "Raat Kali Ek Khwab Mein Aayi" from Buddha Mil Gaya (1971), "Musafir Hoon Yaaron" from Parichay (1972), "Diye Jalte Hain" from Namak Haraam (1973), "Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si" from Anamika (1973), "Zindagi Ke Safar Mein" from Aap Ki Kasam (1974), "Agar Tum Na Hote", "Humein Tum Se Pyaar Kitna" from Kudrat, "Mere Naina Saawan Bhadon" from Mehbooba, and "Chingari Koi Bhadke" (Amar Prem), "Jab Bhi Koi Kangana" from Shaukeen. Apart from the Burmans, Kishore Kumar worked with other music directors such as Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Rajesh Roshan, Sapan Chakravarty, and Bappi Lahiri.

During the Indian Emergency in 1975-77, Kishore refused to sing for Indira Gandhi's 'Emergency Propaganda'. In retaliation, she banned his songs on all the national media. When Amitabh refused to do a guest appearance in a film produced by him, Kishore stopped singing for the actor. By late 1980s, Kishore had grown tired of the type of songs he was singing and decided to retire from the industry. Later in 1970s and early 1980s, Kishore Kumar produced and directed movies such as "Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi" (1978), "Zindagi" (1981) and "Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin" (1980). His last appearance as an actor was in "Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin". In the mid-1980s, Kishore Kumar sang for Anil Kapoor in Kapoor's debut film as a leading man, "Woh Saat Din" and also recorded "Mr. India". He sang a duet with Alka Yagnik, "Tumse Badhkar Duniya Mein Na Dekha" for "Kaamchor". He also recorded some songs for the film "Saagar" with R. D. Burman.

Personal Life
Kishore Kumar married four times. His first wife was Ruma Guha Thakurta aka Ruma Ghosh. However, their marriage didn't last long and the two separated in 1958. Kishore's second wife was actress Madhubala. The two had worked together in a number of films. They had a civil marriage in the year 1960, since Madhubala was a Muslim and he a Hindu. Kishore converted to Islam and took the name Karim Abdul. Madhubala suffered from ventricular septal defect and as such, succumbed to death early, on February 23, 1969. Kishore Kumar married again to Yogeeta Bali. However, this union also didn't last long and the two separated on August 4, 1978. Kishore then tied the nuptial knot with Leena Chandavarkar in 1980. Their relationship continued until his death on October 13, 1987.

Kishore Kumar died on October 13, 1987 due to a heart attack. His body was taken to his birth place Khandwa for cremation. His last recording was done just one day before he died, for the movie "Waqt Ki Aawaz" (1988).


Till date, Kishore Kumar holds the record of winning the most number of Best Male Playback Filmfare Awards which he had won eight times. Kishore Da won his maiden Filmfare Award for the song "Roop Tera Mastana" from the 1969 movie "Aradhana". Apart from Kumar Sanu, Kishore Da is the only singer to score a hattrick of Filmfare Awards, winning it consecutively from 1982-85. Such was his unsurpassed supremacy that in the 1984 Filmfare Awards, Kishore Kumar notched up the rare feat of having all the Best Male Playback nominations to himself. All the four nominated songs were from his film "Sharabi" and he won the title for the number "Manzilen Apni Jagah". This song also helped Kishore Kumar bag the National Award for that year.

Kishore Kumar won the Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards Best Male Playback Singer four times, one each successively in the years 1971, 1972 and 1973 and the last in 1975 for the films "Aradhana", "Andaz", "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and "Kora Kagaz" respectively.

1929: Kishore Kumar was born.
1946: Debuted as an actor.
1948: Debuted as a singer.
1950: Got married to RumaGuha.
1958: Had to split ways with RumaGuha.
1960: Married Madhubala.
1961: Produced, directed and acted in a film.
1969: Won his first filmfare award.
1980: Decided to retire from the industry.
1987: He passed away because of heart attack.