Best Songs of Kishore Kumar
Kishore Kumar: The King of Bollywood Singing
Kishore Kumar, whose real name was Abhas Kumar Ganguly, was one of the greatest singing legends ever heard in Bollywood. His greatness as a male playback singer remains unsurpassed till date, particularly the heights of singing prowess he achieved with a string of extremely popular numbers in early seventies, and in the process, displaced from the top, the great Mohammad Rafi, who had ruled this field for almost two decades.
Kishore Kumar was an actor, director and music director, in addition to being a playback singer. After joining Bollywood in the fifties, he used to sing but till 1968, he best singing was largely for Dev Anand or in his own movies. Though many of his numbers were hits, his greatness came to be recognized with the advent of his songs for Rajesh Khanna from 1968 onwards, the milestone number being "Mere sapno ki rani .." from Aradhana. Many of his greatest numbers during those days were composed by R D Burman.
Kishore Kumar was not a classical singer like Mannade and perhaps did not have the finesse or control of Mohammad Rafi. But he had a style that was unique, his versatility was second only to Rafi and a golden voice which no one has ever been able to match in Bollywood. He made yodeling a part of Bollywood music on his own. His numbers are among the best heard in Bollywood.
Here are his best ten numbers...
movie: SHARMEELI (1971)
Khilte hain gul yahaan...
If Bollywood music is about elevating your spirits, mixing them in a fascinating mix of emotion and taking them to unforeseen heights, then this is the song that represents that facet. The voice of Kishore Kumar takes Bollywood music to its greatest ever peaks of melody with this number. Another great composition by S D Burman, often sited as the greatest music composer of Bollywood, and one who always treated Kishore with the affections reserved for a blessed one. Lyrics are by Neeraj. Their music takes you to a trip to heaven. Close your eyes and enjoy the divine experience.
movie: ANDAZ (1971)
Zindagi ek safar hai suhana..
This is a typical Kishore Kumar number that could not have been even conceived with another singer, simply because no one else could indulge in yodelin the way Kishore perfected in this number. Yodeling was his expression of musical creativity that complemented his voice and spirit - and the result is this eternal number that can elevate can elevate one's mood even in depression. The great music of this number belongs to Shankar Jaikishan, while the chirpy but very meaningful lyrics were written by Hasrat Jaipuri.
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movie: DOOR GAGAN KI CHHAON MEIN (1964)
Aa chal ke tujhe mein le ke chalaoon ....
This number is an essence of all the musical aspirations that Kishore Kumar harbored for decades before he became a singing star in the seventies. He was the producer of the movie DOOR GAGAN KI CHHAON MEIN and also directed music there - one of the few occasions when he did that. This song sounds like the dream of a man who is looking far beyond the contemporary realities. Luckily, his dreams did come true a few years later. The lyrics of this great number were written by another leegnd, Shailendra.
movie: KHUSHBOO (1975)
O majhi re .... apna kinara....
If you ever wonder why the Bollywood music of the seventies belonged only to Kishore Kumar, listen to this song. His voice is not just full of music here, it is virtually divine. Anyone who can sing like that will always rule the world with his voice. There is bit of clasical, a bit of melody and a bit of instruments, but towering above them is his singing - something that deservingly made him Number one even when Mohammad Rafi was still around. Credit, of course is due to R D Burman, who composed the music and Gulzar, who wrote the lyrics.
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movie: MANZIL (1977)
Rimjhim gire savan ....
A number from a time when Kishore Kumar was literally at his peak. The great masterpiece is characterised by one single aspect - the effortlessness with which he could create such musical marvels. If singers like Kumar Shanu had to spent their life in the shadow of Kishore's voice, it is because of the heights he achieved in songs like this. The music was composed by R D Burman, the man who must be credited for success of Kishore Kumar, while the lyrics were written by Yogesh.
movie: SHARAABI (1984)
Manzilein apni jagah hain .....
This song shows how asingle great song can make its composer immortal. In case of Bappi Lahiri, this is that eternal masterpiece. To his credit, it came at a time when Kishore was past his peak, but still good and great enough to create this gem. This number has a lot of emotions that fit into the context and the plot of the movie. As a sad song, it is also one of the best examples of Kishore's singing versatility. The lyrics of this great song were written by Prakash Mehra.
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movie: AMAR PREM (1971)
Chingari koi bhadke .....
If ARADHANA was the movie that brought Kishore Kumar to the forefront of Bollywood music, it was KATI PATANG and AMAR PREM, which established his genuine greatness as a singer for all times to come. This particular number has everything that a great song can aspire to have. The music is typical R D Burman and has his genius written all over it - may be one of his best songs. The lyrics are by Anand Bakhshi. One of the great strenghts of this number is also its great visual screenplay that excellently fits with the mood of the song. Together, they make this number an eternal favorite.
movie: KORA KAGAZ (1974)
Mera jeevan kora kagaz ....
Many of us would have experienced that feeling of life having gone ahead, leaving us behind, but few, if any at all, would have any idea of how to express that feeling. Where words are a very poor medium and even arts and music not easily make much headway, this song succeeds to express that human sentiment in a way one can only marvel at. A great touching masterpiece, with pertinent words written by M G Hashmath and very appropriate music by Kalyanji Anandji..... and of course, the genius of Kishore Kumar.
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movie: KHAMOSHI (1968)
Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thee ....
This mesemerising quality of this song results from the coming together of many great legends. The humming music of Hemant Kumar is one of the last great pieces that he composed. The lyrics of Gulzar are what make this number extraordinary and when combined with the classical notes with the voice of Kishore Kumar, it creates an eternal masterpiece. Kishore Kumar sings for Rajesh Khanna in this number, almost a year before they propelled each other to unprecedented stardom in their respective fields.
movie: BUDDHA MIL GAYA (1971)
Raat kali ek khwab mein aayi..
This song is part of the legendary folklore that combined R D Burman's fresh music with all its sweetness and the magical uninhibited voice of Kishore Kumar, creating an unsurpassed combination that suddenly took the whole Bollywood music with a storm, notwithstanding many existing great singers and composers that continued with their exceptional work. This number is also one of the best romantic ones ever heard in Bollywood, with some very impressive lyrics written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
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