Kishore Kumar - 

the Multifaceted Entertainer

by B. M. Malhotra 


From the 1940s till after the mid-1970s parallel to the triumvirate of matinee idols Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand, in Indian cinema ran the trio of top-notch singers Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar, who playbacked for these actors. Kishore Kumar continued after the death of the first two and besides this he playbacked also for the new superstars Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bacchan, covering himself with glory till his death in 1987.

Unlike the others, he has also acted in a number of movies, himself singing his songs. His idol and guru in absentia was the great K. L. Saigal. His playback and on-scene singing was often marked by his unique stile of yodelling, inspired by the European singer Jimmy Rogers. Kishore’s evergreen number -­ the song “The world is happy today, as it is the first of the month -­ a pay day and a gay day” is still popular and broadcasted in regular programmes in the region.