Birthday Special: I also have a wonderful relationship with KL Saigal

At six, I heard KL Saigal through my father's songs. After his sudden demise at seven, my mother's renditions continued the Saigal Utsav. A vivid memory: Saigal visiting a director in JB Nagar, ...Ali Peter John

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Birthday Special I also have a wonderful relationship with KL Saigal

I first heard about KL Saigal when my father Haroon Ali sang some of his unfinished songs when he was drunk and I was only six years old. The Saigal Utsav stopped when my father died suddenly when I was seven years old and I have to continue my Saigal Utsav with some of the songs that my mother had memorized the way my father sang them. My first memory of KL Saigal was when he came to meet a director in JB Nagar, which later came to be known as the place where Madhuri Dixit was born.


Saigal was destined to be a part of my life

I lost touch with Saigal when I went to a Christian school, where Saigal was a foreign name. But Saigal was destined to be a part of my life. My younger brother, Roy, loved Saigal's songs and had a collection of them on his tape recorder which he played every evening when he sat in his easy chair with a glass of whiskey in one hand and an expensive cigarette in the other And used to listen to Saigal's songs till he got high, had his meal and went to sleep, I think Saigal's songs are playing in his ears. It was a ritual that Roy followed till the end of his life, and he died when he was only 32, but he left behind his love for Saigal along with his wife Usha, and me. Then I didn't know that I would be a part of the film industry where Saigal Pooja would be a name.

KL Saigal wife Usha

One of the first stories I heard about Saigal was how he would go to the red light area at night and sing his heart out to entertain the destitute women of the area and how he would take them home in the early hours of the morning. He used to be almost faint.

First meeting with Premnath

It was my first meeting with Premnath and before I could say anything, he took me to a room that had some wonderful old musical instruments and started playing the harmonium and singing KL Saigal songs looking at me, he said, 'Sunny this is what I call heavenly singing, anyone who has not heard this voice must be either stone deaf or very stupid and he kept playing the harmonium and singing and kept losing track of me.

KL Saigal Kanan Devi

I visited Kishore Kumar's house Gauri Kunj and in every corner of his big bungalow, there were black and white photographs of Saigal and gave a commentary on every photograph, and then a person using all the equipment playing Kishore Kumar songs like concert of Kishore Kumar.

Lata Mangeshkar wished to sing at least one song with Saigal

The best tribute to Saigal came from Lata Mangeshkar, who said that it was her biggest wish to sing at least one song with Saigal Sahab, but her wish remained unfulfilled. I also had the privilege of hearing her say that if she ever wanted to marry anyone, it would be KL Saigal


It’s a believe-it-or-not story

And it's like a horror story, believe it or not. TV had become popular in India and Chhaya Geet was one of the most popular music programs. I was sitting with Manmohan Desai in his house in a dream world. A black and white song ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya’ was playing on his TV set. I could see how ‘Manji’ was getting angry and restless and before I could think anything, she picked up two paperweights, threw them at the TV, and broke the screen into hundreds of pieces. He couldn't believe that a man who could sing so badly could be tolerated by millions of people for years.

Whatever may be my words, Kundan Lal Saigal is still believed and worshiped by thousands of people, and among them are all the great singers, musicians, and artists of today. Was his heart so broken that he could not do anything with his heart?

kl saigal songs


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