Actor Kishore Kumar was a multi-faceted genius. He was an inimitable comedian, a melodious composer, a perfect director, a sensitive lyricist and above all a brilliant and matchless playback singer. His contribution has been so immense that even after 29 years of his death, he is still remembered with great admiration and reverence.
Kishore Kumar was born as Abhas Kumar Ganguly in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, on 4 August 1929. His father Kunjala Ganguly was a lawyer and mother Gauri Devi was a homemaker. Kishore Kumar had three siblings, and he was the youngest.
He married four times. His first wife was Ruma Guha Thakurta aka Ruma Ghosh, who was also a singer. Their marriage lasted for eight years, from 1950 to 1958. He married Madhubala in 1960, for whom he even converted to Islam and got his name changed to Karim Abdul. In 1969 Madhubala died and their marriage ended. His third marriage was to Yogeeta Bali, which lasted for two years, i.e. 1976 to 1978. His fourth wife was Leena Chandavarkar, who he lived with, until his death.
When Kishore was in college, his elder brother, Ashok Kumar was already an established actor. After completing academics, he decided to make a foray into the film industry. While he was doing small roles, renowned music director Khem Chand Prakash spotted his singing talent. He began to hone the hidden talent in the young boy. Later on Kishore was roped in by S.D. Burman. Kishore carved out a niche for himself as an upcoming comedian. In 1958, he produced and directed a movie named Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. The movie was a blockbuster. Kishore Kumar had finally established himself as a number one comedy actor.
After a string of failures (except for Padosan, 1968), he decided to give up acting as a career and instead concentrated on playback singing. Then came the first major break as a singer; the song 'Mere Sapno Ki Rani' from Aradhana, swept the nation. His songs became such a rage that star cast hardly mattered in some films. Almost all the famous directors, music directors, music companies and producers relied heavily on him to deliver hits. His rendition was so touching and soulful that a trained classical singer like Rafi was relegated to the second spot. Kishore Kumar's rich mellifluous voice and matchless style helped him retain his number one spot till his premature death in 1987.
He won Filmfare awards for popular songs. Some of them are:
Apart from these, he won many Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, including
|Aadesh Shrivastava||A. R. Rahman||Asha Bhonsle|
|Abhijeet Sawant||Lata Mangeshkar||Lucky Ali|
|Sonu Nigam||Mohammed Rafi||Kishore Kumar|
|Writer and Lyricist|
|Dr. Bhupen Hazarika||K.S.Chitra||Kamal Hassan|
|M.S. Subbulakshmi||Ustad Amjad Ali Khan|