When Kishore Kumar first came to Bombay from khandwa in madhya pradesh and went to meet his elder brother ashok kumar in bombay talkies, his brother just drove him out of the gate as he said he was sure that his loving brother would not be able to bear the struggles it took to make it big in an industry where living and making a living were both tough. Ali peter john
He was the singing voice of well-known actors like Dev Anand
But the young man who was determined to find his way found the way all on his own and was within no time recognized for his voice and in another few years, he was the singing voice of well-known actors like Dev Anand and many other male stars of the 50’s,60’s and 70’s. He soon discovered the actor in him and was accepted as a star who comes just once in a way. He then started making his own films and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and Door Gagan ki Chhaaon Mein were just two of his many films that gained cult status and are fresh in the minds of film lovers till now.
“mujhe marna nahi hai, mujhe bacha lo” Madhubala
He first fell in love with ruma guha thakurta a popular actress from bengal and married her and had a son who he named amit kumar. This marriage did not last long because of professional issues and the marriage came to an end. Kishore kumar then fell for the beautiful madhubala and married her even when he came to know that she had only a few more months to live. He had married madhubala even though he was aware of her earlier affairs with her co-stars, especially the most talked about matter of the heart with dilip kumar, but he had taken a vow to take care of madhubala till she was alive and he did everything possible to keep his vow. It is said that he used to cry for several hours when madhubala used to say, “mujhe marna nahi hai, mujhe bacha lo” and the doctors had given her only a few months to live and death was sure to claim her. He also ran out of his house when madhubala howled and screamed in pain and he couldn’t do anything to relieve her misery and pain. Madhubala ultimately died and was burried in the juhu kabrastan, but had assured herself of a place in the history of Indian cinema and beauty of the world.
Kishore had gone into a long period of sobbing silently and sometimes going into long spells of isolation and loneliness, but he continued to sing and according to many, he sang better and in a wide variety of styles of singing after the death of madhubala. And strangely, he sang all his lively and bouncy songs after he had faced tragedy.
She was just falling asleep when she looked up at the ceiling and found several human skulls
He had built his own house in Juhu and had first named it gauri kunj (gauri was the name of his mother who he was very close to) this was the bungalow into which he brought his third wife, the actress yogeeta bali and yogeeta herself told me the story about the first night she spent in this bungalow. She was just falling asleep when she looked up at the ceiling and found several human skulls hanging over the bed on which she was lying and waiting for kishore. She was crying when kishore entered the bedroom and when she pointed out the skulls, he smiled and said, “wo sab ab tumhare rishtedar hai, kyuki wo hamare purvaj hai aur hamare saath he rahenge”. It was only the first of the many eccentricities of the king of the mad,mad ways of Kishore da. He once called Yogeeta “meri pyari bandariya” and when she objected to the word Bandariya, he told her that since all the women in his life were originally from the subburb of bandra, he had decided to call them his bandariyas and neighter yogeeta or anyone else who tried to convince him that it was not right for him to not only call his women bandariyas,but it was not a civilized way to call any women bandariyas ( bandariya was a word used for the female of a monkey, a bandar)
When yogeeta couldn’t take his pranks and eccentricities any longer, she decided to opt for a divorse and kishore was the last man to stop her, he said, but he couldn’t forgive yogeeta and had declared war on mithun chakraborty who had married her and taken her to ooty where he was a monarch of all that he surveyed.
And when he couldn’t take living alone in gauri kunj, he married the beautiful young actress leena chandavarkar, who had become a widow at a very young age when her husband siddharth bandodkar who was the only son of dayanand bandodkar, the first chief minister of liberated Goa. His life had finally found solace in the company of Leena and they had a son who they called Sumit kumar. All was well on all fronts for kishore. He was the uncrowned emperor of the world of music. He ruled according to his own set of rules which nothing could change or challenge.
Kishore Da was complained of pain in his chest and before the doctors were called
He had no recording on that day and was relaxing with Sumit and Leena. It was 5:30 in the evening and he complained of pain in his chest and before the doctors were called, kishore kumar ganguly (khandwewala) had shut his eyes to the world in which he always said he was a misfit and “a right man in a wrong world”. It was his wish that he be cremated in his home town of khandwa. The film industry in particular and the country as a whole mourned the death of a man who had defied all attempts to describe or define him. Was kishore kumar a genius ahead of his time? Was kishore kumar a mad man or was kishore kumar an enlightened man or as his brother ashok kumar asked, “ye mera bhai shayad iss duniya ka tha he nahi, ab wo apne sahi jagah pahoch gaya hai”.
I had several meetings and chat sessions with the “mad man”. The first time he had invited my editor to his bungalow. I was requested by my editor to accompany him. My editor looked anxious when we approached gauri kunj. He had perhaps heard stories about the wild ways of kishore. And when we reached the gate of gauri kunj, we saw a pact of huge dogs chasing my old editor and endlessly barking at him. They must have not liked the moustache of my editor which looked exactly like the moustache of adolf hitler. But I later came to know that the dogs were left free by kishore himself and that he was looking out of his “chor khidki” and laughing his heart out at the predicament of my editor. I still can’t understand why the dogs didn’t target me.
“A simple man trying to earn his dal roti” Kishore Kumar
He had once invited me to gauri kunj and when I entered, he garlanded me with a string of mogra flowers and told me that I was not allowed to take off the garland as long as I was within gauri kunj. He then took me round gauri kunj and showed me old piano on which he said bhoots played in the nights. He made me listen to his singing in the voice ofK. L Saigal and was lost in his own world when he sang some of the gems of Saigal and he said something which I somehow expected to come from him. He said Saigal was living in him after his death and I didn’t know how to react to this mad man, good man, genius, eccentric and an enlightened man. It was in this bungalow that he kept changing his walls and their colours and changed the positions of his doors within hours if he came to know that the income tax people were going to raid gauri kunj. There are any number of stories associated with gauri kunj and kishore kumar. But my favourite story is about how the well-known producer GP Sippy (the producer of sholay) who had come to gauri kunj to ask him to report for a shoot and how Kishore had run away from the back entrance and how a long chase ensued with kishore in his car and sippy and his men desperately chasing him and how the chase finally ended on the beach at madh island and how kishore had stopped his car and fired sippy and his team of men for disturbing and harrasing “a simple man trying to earn his dal roti”.that whole morning sippy kept pleading with him to go with him for his shooting and kishore kept denying that he was kishore kumar and that he would complain to the police about “sippy and his gang” harassing him and making the life of “a simple man” miserable. Needless to say, kishore had his way and sippy had to leave without kishore and kishore whistled his way back to gauri kunj.
If you or any one feels that I have gone mad writing about a mad man, you will not be mistaken
After kishore’s death, leena and sumit continued staying at gauri kunj and amit kumar who had got married for the second time lived with his wife in an apartment in bandra. There were attempts made to turn gauri kunj into a gym and a health centre and the idea worked for some time, but gauri kunj is now back to its original splendor. I was standing at the huge gate of gauri kunj during the lockdown and there was an eerie silence all over the place where kishore made so much of “shor” once not so long ago. There was only one old man sitting close to gauri kunj and when he saw me, he said, “kishore da abhi baher gaye hai, aapko agar unse milna hai, naye saal ko raat ko 12 baje aaiye, main kishore da ko bata dunga ki aap aaye the aur hum dono aapka gate par intazar karenge”. Was it an eerie experience for me at 12.30 in the afternoon? No, it was not because I have had many such eerie experiences with this man who can never be forgotten. How can I forget the time when he invited me and I met him face to face in gauri kunj and he refused to accept the fact that he was Kishore kumar and told me that kishore kumar Ganguly had died a long time ago and he was the reincarnation of a certain catholic priest called father cypriano adolf esperansa from den-mark what more can I say about one of the most mysterious and magnetic men who I believed and still believe was a species of being from some other world which was to come into existence only sometime in the near 2021. If you or any one feels that I have gone mad writing about a mad man, you will not be mistaken. If you were in my place and had shared the experiences I had with the khandwewala, I assure you that you or anyone in this wise and wide world would also go mad and make this world a far better and beautiful place than the world it is, created and destroyed by madder men and wilder men than the good and learned man from gauri kunj