Dual versions of the same song with Kishore Kumar:Part I

By

Sharada Iyer

Often in our films the same song has been sung by two different playback singers and are woven into the narrative in such a way that they appear at different times in the course of the film depending on the story and the mood of the characters involved.

Sometimes one version is sung by one of the parents and the other version by the child( Yesudas and Anuradha Paudwal-‘Madhuban khushboo deta hai…‘), sometimes there is a happy and sad version of the same song in the male and female voices giving a different perspective to the same song (Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar- ‘Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan…‘ or Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar- ‘Dil jo na keh saka, wohi raaze dil kehne ki raat aayi…’), sometimes the song connects two births if it is a story based on re-incarnation (Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar –‘Mere naina saawan bhaadon…’) and sometimes both versions have been happy or sad ( solos of Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle-‘Eena meena deeka…’).

There are also cases where one version is a solo and the other a duet (Mohammed Rafi-Asha Bhonsle duet and Asha Bhonsle solo-‘Abhi na jao chodkar ke dil abhi bhara nahin…’) or one version is a solo and the other has two singers and a chorus ( Mohammad Rafi solo and Mohammed Rafi-Khan Mastana and chorus- ‘Watan ki raah mein watan ke naujawan shaheed ho…’)  and songs where more than two singers have sung the same song ( Pankaj Udhas, Kumar Sanu and Anuradha Paudwal-‘Jiye toh jiye kaise bin aapke…’).

In this two-part blog , I have included only those songs in which one of the versions is sung by Kishore Kumar and the other version is by singers which include Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Mohammed Rafi, Shamshad Begum, Sadhna Sargam, Parveen Sultana, Hemant Kumar and Ashok Kumar. 

The Magic of ‘Kishore-da’

Interestingly, whenever Kishore Kumar was involved in the dual versions, it was always his version which gained extraordinary popularity and it was his resonating voice that left an indelible mark often eclipsing the version by the other singer. Considering the fact that he was the only top-ranking singer without any formal training in music this feat is remarkable and is a proof of the inborn talent of this maverick genius. 

This does not take away the genius of the other singers of the golden era. It is just that every one of these singers themselves have at some point or the other acknowledged the ‘extra’ special touch which Kishore Kumar used to add in the final take of the songs which somehow added a special kind of magic to his sonorous voice.

1 ‘Ajnabi tum jaane pehchaane se…’  (Hum Sab Ustaad Hain)

In this song, Kishore Kumar gets to sing the sad version thus adding a lot of pathos to his emotions while Lata Mangeshkar’s version is more breezy and obviously sung in happier times. But the beautiful tune composed by the duo of Laxmikant-Pyarelal  stands out in Kishore’s voice so much so that for years people were not even aware of the female version.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

2 ‘Choti si ye duniya,pehchaane raaste hain…’ (Rangoli)

Here the roles are reversed. Kishore Kumar gets to sing the happy version while Lata Mangeshkar sings the sad version. The Kishore version has him trying to pacify Vyjayantimala of his innocence trying to make her see his point of view but she stays angry. Later after the misunderstanding is cleared, she is singing the sad version and regretting her behaviour.

Once again, it was Kishore Kumar’s version which hit the popularity charts. Sad version or happy version, Kishore’s magic was unbeatable.

Kishore Kumar

 Lata Mangeshkar

 3 ‘Jeevan ke safar mein raahi…’ (Munimji)

Here is another classic example where Kishore Kumar sings the happy version which is peppy and fast-paced and Lata Mangeshkar sings the sad version which is very slow and dragging. Result is the same. While Kishore Kumar’s version remains one of the most popular songs of his career, Lata’s version is hardly heard on radio and is certainly nowhere near her best.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

4 ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhaana…’ (Andaz)

This song with its superb lyrics and outstanding orchestration went on to become an ‘all-time great classic’. It had three versions with three singer-actor combinations  adding their magic-Kishore Kumar-Rajesh Khanna, Asha Bhonsle-Hema Malini and Mohammed Rafi-Shammi Kapoor. Yet it is the Kishore Kumar version which whipped up mass hysteria with Rajesh Khanna’s charisma adding a lot of weightage. The song went on to become a major factor to attract the audience and helped to make the film a big hit. In comparison Asha Bhonsle’s and Rafi’s versions seemed to lack the ‘X-factor’ required to scale the popularity charts.

Kishore Kumar

Asha Bhonsle

Mohammed  Rafi

5 ‘Chota sa ghar hoga…’ (Naukri)

This song from the film Naukri is a classic example of Kishore Kumar’s struggle to establish himself as a singer par excellence. This song composed by music director Salil Choudhary was to be picturized on Kishore himself. Unfortunately, Salil-da somehow did not think much of Kishore Kumar as a singer at that time and wanted Hemant Kumar to be the playback singer.Kishore was aghast on hearing this. After all he had chosen the profession of acting with the sole intention of getting the opportunity to sing at least his own songs and here was Salilda unwilling to give him a chance.

Somehow after much persuasion Salilda agreed to record the happy version of the song in Kishore’s voice with the condition that it would be removed if the results were not satisfactory. Obviously things must have fallen in place for we would not have had this gem of a song and it is impossible to imagine anyone else singing it so beautifully. However for the sad version Salilda managed to have his way and recorded the song in Hemant Kumar’s voice. Needless to say it was Kishore Kumar’s version which hit the bull’s eye…

(Years later during the recording of the songs of Mere Apne, Salil Choudhary is said to have regretted his inability to have recognized Kishore’s inborn genius earlier).

Kishore Kumar

Hemant Kumar ( the video has two scenes before the song is played at the end) 

6 ‘ Rim jhim gire saawan…’ (Manzil) 

This melodious composition by R D Burman had two superb versions once again by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. While the Lata version picturized in a unique manner on Amitabh Bachchan and Moushmi Chattetjee captures the essence of romance during Mumbai’s monsoon, Kishore Kumar’s version is a simple rendition sung by Amitabh in the film at a friend’s engagement ceremony with just a harmonium to give him company.

The kind of popularity attained by Kishore Kumar’s version was phenomenal yet not surprising because there is something so unique about his simple rendition that it touches the soul right away from the very first note of the song. Somehow Lata’s version just could not whip up that kind of emotion in the listener’s hearts and had to settle for the second position. 

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

7 ‘Apne jeevan ki uljhan ko…’ (Uljhan)

Here is a song from the 1975 super-hit suspense thriller Uljhan which marked the debut of actress-singer Sulakshana Pandit. The title song which has dual versions is sung by Kishore Kumar  and Lata Mangeshkar and is picturized in the background.

The film had an interesting storyline wherein Sanjeev Kumar’s wife Sulakshana is suspected of having committed a murder and ironically he is the cop who is handling the case. Sulakshana on the other hand is hiding a secret which she cannot tell anyone . So the song in both the versions basically brings out the dilemma of the characters involved.

Though both the versions are sung beautifully it was the Kishore Kumar version which became a bigger hit.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

8 ‘Kusoor aapka huzoor aapka…’ (Bahaar)

This song from Vyjayantimala’s debut film Bahar in 1951 had music director S D Burman rope in newcomer Kishore Kumar who had incidentally made his debut as a singer in 1948, and veteran Shamshad Begum who had been singing for more than a decade for the two different versions of the song ‘Kusoor aapka, huzoor aapka…’. This is a rare instance when Kishore gets to playback for a hero other than Dev Anand.

From the scenes it is evident that in both versions the mood is playful and the actors are having fun pulling each other’s legs and getting even with one another. Though Vyjayantimala being a dancer adds the necessary fillip to the high-pitched female version with her expressions, Kishore Kumar’s version stands out for its melody and subtlety that he brings to the song.

Kishore Kumar

Shamshad Begum

9 ‘Mere Naina saawan bhaadon, phir bhi mera man pyaasa…'(Mehbooba)

This haunting number based on Raag Shivranjani forms a motif connecting two births of the protagonists. The Lata solo is sung by Hema Malini’s ghost and the song is slow paced. Though both the versions have a sad tint to them, the Kishore solo is fast-paced with the guitar adding  a special touch to it. It is picturized on Rajesh Khanna as he is trying to remind Hema Malini that they had been together in their previous birth. Both songs come several times during the film.

Since the song was based on a classical raga everyone associated wanted Rafi Saab to sing the song. Our dear Kishoreda had to struggle once again to convince R D Burman, Shakti Samanta , Anand Bakshi, etc., that he would do a great job of the song even though he had no classical knowledge of the ragas. Only hero Rajesh Khanna stood by him and was adamant that he wanted only Kishore Kumar to sing this song.

Kishore Kumar requested R D Burman to finish recording the song with Lataji and then asked a week’s time to practice with her cassette. After that he said he would do the song in one take. After a week when Kishore Kumar sang his version everybody was dumbstruck. Not only had he mastered the tune brilliantly but brought in so much feelings into the song that he outclassed the nightingale effortlessly  and once again the Kishore Kumar version became popular beyond expectation.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

/

10 ‘Khilte hain gul yahaan…’ (Sharmilee)

This beautiful composition by S D Burman is based on Raag Bhimpalasi and has both Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar singing the different versions of the song. The setting for the Kishore solo was a cabin set against the backdrop of the beautiful snowfall of Kashmir valley and the tune imaginatively captures the essence of the romantic mood where Shashi Kapoor openly declares his feelings for Raakhee in front of all her friends. Right from the first note of humming, Kishore Kumar creates magic yet again. Nobody could have conveyed the feelings of love more effectively than him and Shashi Kapoor had never looked more handsome than he does in this song. The song created history in the popularity charts.

Lata Mangeshkar gets to sing a slower version of the song as the heroine Raakhee is impersonating her twin sister (for whom he had sung the happy version) and trying to bring her husband back from depression. So so she is not very happy from inside though she is smiling outwardly. The song captures these emotions beautifully but when it came to competing with the Kishore version, once again Lataji had to accept defeat.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

11 ‘Dil dil se milaakar dekho…’ (Memsahib)

This lively romantic composition by Madan Mohan from the 1956 film has both versions sung with the same kind of verve and playfulness by both the singers. This is a unique film in the sense that while Kishore Kumar is the upright and moralistic hero of the film, it is Shammi Kapoor  who plays the negative role and one gets to see Meena Kumari playing a cheerful character wearing smart western outfits.

Coming back to the song, though both versions are superbly sung, Kishore Kumar’s version made a better impression on the popularity charts as it continues to be played more number of times on radio. 

Asha Bhonsle

Kishore Kumar

12 ‘Ulfat mein zamaane ki…’ (Call Girl)

In this film the heroine Zaheera plays a Call Girl and the hero Vikram falls in love with her. When he takes her home to meet his parents she is shocked to see Vikram’s father for he was the man who had forced her into prostitution. The father also in turn recognizes her and does not give his consent for the marriage. This song composed by the duo Sapan-Jagmohan has two versions which convey the dilemma of the characters concerned. Kishoreda’s version stands out for rendering the song with so much depth and poignancy…

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

13 ‘Dekh sakta hoon main…’ (Majboor)

This film was a thriller wherein Amitabh Bachchan thinking he is going to die of a brain tumour takes on a murder rap on his head but by the time he comes to know that the diagnosis had actually been wrong, it is too late. He gets arrested and the court declaring him guilty passes death sentence for him. The Kishore Kumar version of this song picturized on Amitabh Bachchan became hugely popular in comparison to the Lata Mangeshkar’s version which was picturized on Master Alankar who plays Amitabh’s younger brother in the film. Understandably while the former is sung in happier times, the latter is sung after Amitabh is in jail. Music is by Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

14 ‘Dil mein aag lagaaye saawan ka mahina…’ (Alag Alag)

The film has a complicated plot involving a poor girl Tina Munim who wants to get hitched to a rich guy just to escape her poverty. Mistaking Rajesh Khanna to be a rich guy she initially loves him but on finding the truth she dumps him and stays with a rich Doctor. The Kishore Kumar version appears around this time where Khanna tries to convey his feelings. Later in the film she becomes a successful singer and the Lata Mangeshkar version comes during one of her shows. While the Kishore Kumar version became very  popular the Lata version was hardly heard.

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

15 ‘Akhiyon mein chote chote sapne sajayke…’ (Nauker)

A comedy film where Sanjeev Kumar who is a rich widower and his servant Mehmood exchange places and go and stay with a family with a father, mother and two daughters. Their mother wants to marry off one of the girls to him but in the guise of a servant he ends up falling in love with Jaya Bhaduri who is a servant.  The song in question is composed by R D Burman and has two versions. While the Kishore Kumar version picturized on Sanjeev and his little daughter is more of a lullaby sung at different times , the Lata Mangehkar version is sung in a playful mood. The latter is sung at a slower pace and many words sound as if they are being dragged and once again Kishore Kumar wins hands down…

Kishore Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar

Here is the link to the Part II of the blog:

(https://myviewsonbollywood.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/dual-versions-of-same-song-with-kishore-kumarpart-ii/)

 

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22 thoughts on “Dual versions of the same song with Kishore Kumar:Part I

  1. Really admire your capacity to painstakingly analyze the songs & come out with remarkable conclusions on the songs which mostly are all time hits of Kishoreda. Wee done, Lata

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘Interestingly, whenever Kishore Kumar was involved in the dual versions, it was always his version which gained extraordinary popularity and it was his resonating voice that left an indelible mark often eclipsing the version by the other singer. Considering the fact that he was the only top-ranking singer without any formal training in music this feat is remarkable and is a proof of the inborn talent of this maverick genius’…..so brilliantly put. For a die-hard Kishore-Kumar fan like me, this is no less than a verse from the Bible.

    I have had more than a million arguments with friends who for reasons best known to them, always felt Kishore Kumar was a lesser singer than many. I could have murdered a few of them. But I will definitely throw this piece on their faces.

    My favorite dual version song is missing here – ‘Tum bin jaaun kaha…’ by Rafi and KK. I hope to see it in the part-two of this so interesting, well researched, and outstandingly essayed piece.

    Allow me to share it.

    Kudos Sharada. This is by far your best. Keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! Vicky, Thanks so much for that super feedback… and yes Kishore Kumar was a genius …in a league of his own whom no one can ever touch… and there are many more gems in part 2… am just waiting to share :)…

    Like

  4. Well done, yet again! One marvels at your capacity to whip up such blog posts in such a painstaking manner! Can’t wait to go through the sequel.
    Allow me to make a suggestion: You also appear to be familiar with Hindustani classical ragas. At some point in time, you may like to come up with a blog post which lists popular Bollywood songs based on some ragas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much AKB! for your appreciation and wonderful feedback… 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the post. And thank you for the suggestion of a blog-post on raga based film songs… A lovely topic indeed. Will definitely do one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In life, there is the known, the unknown, and the unknowable. It is unknowable why or how kishoreda’s versions are always indisputably better than the other versions. One song in which i realky live the female version is..zindagi ek safar hai suhana.. but then in that kishoreda takes it to levels that were probably never conceived !!!
    Great Great Great singer and an apt tribute to his unfathomable talent… congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Being an ardent Kishore da fan I am glad to have bumped into this article of yours. The research and the work that went behind this blog, is commendable. You’re a talented writer and best of all…a Kishore Kumar fan. I agree with every word you said about him

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging and positive feedback…Deeply appreciate your interest. So glad you found it useful… 🙂
      Hope you like some of my other posts too. 🙂

      Like

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