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.
In this two-part blog , I have included dual versions of 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.
This is an effort to bring to fore the magic of ‘Kishore-da’, who was always underestimated for his lack of technical knowledge of classical songs and had to go through a period of twenty years as a singer-actor (so that he could at least sing his own songs), before becoming a full-fledged playback singer.
There were 15 songs in the first part of the series. Here I have posted 16 more…
16 ‘ Eena meena deeka…'(Aasha)
This evergreen number from the film 1957 film had both Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle singing a robust dance number set to a fast-paced peppy tune by the veteran composer C Ramchandra. It is one of the Hindi cinema’s first rock and roll numbers the words of which were supposedly inspired by kids playing outside composer C. Ramchandra’s music room. The kids were chanting “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”, which inspired Ramchandra and his assistant John Gomes to create first line of the song, “Eena Meena Deeka, De Dai Damanika”. Gomes, who was a Goan, added the words “Maka naka” (Konkani for “I don’t want”). They kept on adding more nonsense rhymes till they ended with “Rum pum po!”.
The Asha Bhonsle version is played twice in the film- one picturized on Vyjayantimala and the other one on Minoo Mumtaz (this version comes at the fag-end of the film). Both actresses were seasoned female dancers of their time and added a lot of pizzaz to the song but all that pales into oblivion when compared to the incredible energy, enthusiasm, vitality and a little madness that Kishore Kumar brings to his version. Added to that his facial expressions and unique dance steps take the song to such dizzying heights which the makers may not even have conceived thus making the song one of the biggest hits of Kishore Kumar’s acting as well as singing career.
17 ‘Zindagi pyar ka geet hai…'( Souten)
1983 gave a boost to Rajesh Khanna’s sagging career with some good films coming his way like Avtaar, Agar Tum Na Hote and Souten. In Souten he teamed with two very young heroines Tina Munim and Padmini Kolhapure and excellent performances and a peppy sound track by music director Usha Khanna turned this triangular love-story into a big box-office success.
The story had enough juice to insert dual versions of a lovely song with meaningful lyrics. While Lata Mangeshkar got to sing the happier version of the song, Kishore Kumar added a lot of pathos and feelings and turned the sad version of this number into a memorable hit.
18 ‘ Hame aur jeene ki chaahat na hoti…’ (Agar Tum Na Hote)
This film had a very interesting story-line wherein Rekha plays a double role-that of Rajesh Khanna’s wife as well as Raj Babbar’s wife. The twist in the script is that Rajesh Khanna’s wife dies at childbirth and ironically the governess who applies for the job of looking after the child is none other than the look-alike Rekha, who is Raj Babbar’s wife. But to get the job, she has to hide her marital status thus leading to a lot of misunderstanding and drama.
The song in question comes many times during the movie depending on the mood of the setting and the character singing. Hence meaningful lyrics once again lend power to the song and though both the singers are brilliant, the lines sung by Kishore Kumar leave a special stamp in our hearts…
19 ‘Chanda o chanda…'(Laakhon Mein Ek)
This 1971 AVM film was a remake of their own hit Tamil film ‘Edirneechal’ made in 1968 with an ensemble cast of excellent character artistes. While the Tamil film had comedian-actor Nagesh as the hero, the Hindi version had super talented Mehmood reprising the role with aplomb. Though the story does have plenty of melodrama it gives chance for the unsung character artistes of our industry to display their prowess.
The movie had only three songs and one of them was this super-hit dual version ‘Chanda o chanda…’ sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar which come in the movie within almost ten minutes of one another. Both songs convey the angst of the protagonists who are not treated well by the residents of the ‘chawl’ they are residing in often taking advantage of their simplicity and honesty. The Kishore version doubles up as a lullaby as well and his deep sonorous voice once again turned the tide in his favour making it a memorable number.
20 ‘Samjhauta ghamon se kar lo…’ (Samjhauta)
Samjhauta deals with overcoming life’s hurdles with a brave face and rising to every challenge that come in our way. The story is also about love, friendship and lessons which life teaches us. The song sung by both Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar has a very pleasing tune and acts like a motivational song. While Yogeeta Bali is helping Anil Dhawan to deal with his blindness, Anil Dhawan sings it to the jail-inmates trying to give them a ray of hope for a brighter future.
Once again it is Kishore Kumar’s robust vocals filled with a lot of feelings which takes the song to great heights tugging our hearts with the meaningful lyrics.
21 ‘Tera mujhse hai pehle ka nata koi…’ (Aa Gale Lag Ja)
This song forms a very important part of the film connecting the hero-heroine and their illegitimate child as can be understood while watching the videos of the songs. Here Kishore Kumar really has no competition as youngster Sushma Shreshta is clearly no match for the magical voice of Kishore and not surprisingly his romantic version became a tremendous hit. In the other version also he gets to sing a few lines albeit with a tinge of sadness befitting the situation.
22 ‘Tum bin jaun kahan…’ (Pyar Ka Mausam)
In 1968, Kishore Kumar decided to quit acting and concentrate only on playback and this coincided with the arrival of a new face Rajesh Khanna on the scene and together they created history. With Kishore’s soaring popularity Mohammed Rafi had to take a backseat and this became very evident in the film Pyar Ka Mausam which had the melodious ‘Tum bin jaun kahan…’ sung in the voices of Kishore and Rafi.
Kishore Kumar had only one song in the film and that too was not picturized on the hero Shashi Kapoor but on his father played by Bharat Bhushan. It was R D Burman and his musicians who coaxed Nazir Hussain to give at least the father’s version to Kishore Kumar and after the rigamarole only one stanza made it to the final version in the film. On the other hand Rafi had the romantic version a well as a sad version played fully in the film.
As with the other dual versions, once again the rich baritone and emotional intensity of Kishore Kumar’s voice wove magic into the song making it indisputably the better version…
Rafi- happy version
Rafi- sad version
23 ‘Aari aaja, nindiya tu le chal kahin…’ (Kunwara Baap)
Mehmood decided to wield the directorial baton for this one and was lauded for his efforts to take up a story which showcased the importance of administering the polio vaccine in infants. A lot of top stars of that time did special appearance to show their support .The film managed to drive home the point albeit with a lot of melodrama.
Music director Rajesh Roshan made his debut with this film and came up with a winning score. For the first time a song was picturized on real-life eunuchs with Mehmood and Rafi joining them and the song went on to become a chart-topper of that year. Coming to the song in this post, ‘Aari aaja nindiya…’ is a lullaby sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar the latter being picturized on a young boy who plays Mehmood’s adopted son in the film. As expected Kishore Kumar’s version in his deep resonant voice appealed much more to the listeners…
24 ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat…’ (Yaadon Ki Baraat)
This 1971 blockbuster had the timeless tale of separation of the members of a close-knit family of father mother and three brothers and it is this song which the mother used to sing that ultimately helps to reunite them with one another. The film turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters of its time with superlative music from R D Burman and a stylish Zeenat Aman being the big plus points.
While the Kishore-Rafi duet version of the song picturized on the grown-up brothers was sheer magic from the word go and remains hugely popular to this day, the Lata Mangeshkar version picturized on the mother somehow lacked the charm to work its way into the hearts of audience and is heard very rarely.The unmistakable power in Kishore Kumar’s vocals comes across so beautifully in this song.
Lata and chorus
25 ‘Hame tumse pyaar kitna…’ (Kudrat)
After Mehbooba, Rajesh Khanna and Hema-Malini once again team up to give us another story of re-incarnation with Raj Kumar, Aruna Irani, Vinod Khanna and Priya Rajvansh also playing pivotal roles. The last 45 minutes of the film are devoted to an interesting murder trial with Rajesh Khanna playing the prosecutor and Priya Rajvansh the defence lawyer defending her father Raj Kumar.
This song based on Raag Bhairavi has a simple version sung by Kishore Kumar picturized on Rajesh Khanna and a classical version sung by Parveen Sultana which is picturized on Aruna Irani who plays his sister in the film. Though the latter brings a lot of nuances to the song and even won the best female playback singer award for the same, it is Kishore Kumar’s simple rendition sung from the heart which stirs the listener’s soul and is considered to be one of his evergreen numbers. Once again Kishore Kumar proves that no amount of classical training can eclipse a God-given magical voice…
26 ‘O Saathi re, tere bina bhi kya jeena…’ (Muquaddar ka Sikander)
he Kishore Kumar version of this song was rendered with so much pain and intensity that it ranks among the finest sad songs sung in his career. The scene just before the song is a heart-breaking one for Amitabh Bachchan for that is when he comes to know that the very girl he had loved and respected from a young age was not only unaware of his real identity but was presently in love with his best friend.
On the other hand, Asha Bhonsle’s mature voice just doesn’t suit such a young female child artiste, playing the younger version of Raakhee. The song looks very artificial on her and hence the effect of the words is also totally lost. Once again the Kishore Kumar version triumphs…
27 ‘Neele neele amber par…’ (Kalaakar)
Kalakaar was a remake of the Tamil blockbuster ‘Payanangal Mudivathillai’ which had some superb songs by music director Ilayaraja. The Hindi version starring Sridevi and Manoj Kumar’s son Kunal Goswami was a super-flop with Bappi Lahiri’s music not matching up to the original’s score except the song ‘Neele neele amber par…’ which was lifted directly from the original ‘ Ilaya Nila Poyzhigirade…’, sung by singer S P Balasubramanian.
The Kishore Kumar version of the song turned out to be a super-hit. The Sadhna Sargam version which sounds quite average was hardly heard and was missing from the film also. Only the audio version is available on YouTube.
28 ‘Kitne bhi tu karle sitam…’ (Sanam Teri Kasam)
This was an average film produced by the heroine Reena Roy’s sister Barkha Roy. However, this film is a milestone in R D Burman’s career as he won his first Filmfare award for ‘Best Music Director’ for this film. For a man who started his career in 1961 and gave some scintillating music throughout his career, this must have been so heart-breaking. He was nominated fifteen times and ironically the nominations didn’t include films like Amar Prem, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Teesri Manzil, etc…
Coming to the song in this post, as one can see that though both versions are happy with an element of teasing and playfulness in them, it was the Kishore Kumar version which became more popular.
29 ‘Phoolon ka taaron ka…’ (Hare Rama Hare Krishna)
The music of this film fell on R D Burman’s lap after S D Burman refused the film as he is said to have professed his disinterest in composing for a film based on hippies and a brother-sister relationship. R D Burman grabbed the opportunity and composed some mesmerizing songs including the cult number ‘Dum maro dum…’ for the film and cemented his position as a genius composer of Hindi films.
The Kishore Kumar version of this song picturized on Dev Anand singing for his sister Zeenat Aman in the film attained such incredible popularity that it almost became a sort of ‘anthem’ for conveying a brother’s affection for his sister and continues to be played on radio even today on ‘rakshabandhan’ day. In contrast , the Lata Mangeshkar version picturized on child artistes Master Satyajeet and Baby Guddi, who play the young Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman respectively did not bring in the same emotion…the magic was missing.
30 ‘De de pyaar de…’ (Sharaabi)
This film had a superlative performance from Amitabh Bachchan which earned him a nomination in the’Best Actor’ category and very good music from Bappi Lahiri which fetched him Filmfare’s ‘Best Music Director’ award. All four nominations in the male playback singer category went to Kishore Kumar’s songs and all were from this film, one of them being his version of the song ‘De de pyar de…’
Both Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle sing the song with great verve and in the film the two songs are played back to back- Asha’s version followed by Kishore’s. Somehow Asha Bhonsle’s version could not whip up the same popularity as Kishore Kumar’s…
31’Koi Humdum na raha, koi sahara na raha…’
Unlike the other 30 songs posted in the two parts of this blog, the different versions of this gem of a song belong to different eras and different films. While the first version from the 1936 film Jeevan Naiyya is sung by Ashok Kumar and composed by the female music director Saraswati Devi, the second version was composed and sung by Kishore Kumar himself. He modified the tune slightly, made it faster and the resulting song in his voice is so magical that it is almost unbelievable.
Am attaching the video where elder brother Ashok Kumar affectionately talks of how a young Kishore was so haunted by the tune of this song that he had sworn that though he did not understand the inherent intricacies of the song’s grammar, one day he would sing the song and in a different way and maybe a better way than Ashok Kumar and he actually did it…
Ashok Kumar (Jeevan Naiyya, 1936)
Kishore Kumar (Jhumroo, 1961)
Though this two-part blog-series on Kishore Kumar’s dual versions is in no way meant to show disrespect to the other singers, it is an irrefutable fact that 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.
Maybe somewhere divinity played a role in proving the inborn talent of this maverick genius for once we hear the songs in his voice it is his version that remains in our hearts…
Here is the link to the Part I of this blog: