Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is known to be a very organized person, with unbelievable discipline and punctuality. An interesting pointer to how organized the Shahenshah is can be seen from his tweets, which are numbered.
T 3246 was on 4th August, all-time great singer Kishore Kumar’s 90th birth anniversary. Amitabh tweeted that Kishore da “sang in more than 51 films, 130 songs, in more than 60 films that I acted in” and also that “3 out of 8 Best male Playback Singer awards were songs he sang for me”.
On Big B’s birthday let us go on our trivia journey to explore the fascinating Amitabh-Kishore partnership.
The three songs which Kishore da sang for Amitabh and for which he was also awarded the best male playback singer were “Manzilein apni jagah he” from Sharaabi, “Pag ghungroo bandh” from Namak Halaal and “Khaike paan banaraswala” from Don. Kishore da remains the most nominated singer at the Filmfare awards with 41 nominations. He is also the most awarded male singer with 8 awards, followed by Mohd Rafi with 6 awards.
Amitabh and Kishore were “made for each other”. Earlier Kishore Kumar was the voice of Rajesh Khanna as well and romance was the genre to which the country swung to. Amitabh in Anand held his own against the reigning superstar and according to many analysts outshone him in Namak Haraam. Then came blockbuster hits like Zanjeer and Deewaar and “the angry young man” had displaced the romantic hero to become the new superstar of the box office.
In Amitabh’s journey as a superstar, Kishore Kumar and his songs had an integral role to play. In this article, I try to identify just ten songs from ten movies which I consider the best of Amitabh-Kishore Kumar. The task is extremely difficult and that makes it more challenging as well as memorable.
“Aaye tum yaad mujhe” from Mili is an iconic song. Amitabh is just super as he paces up and down, dresssed in a simple kurta pajama. This song was the creative best of SD burman.
“Rote hue aate hai sab” from Muqaddar ka sikandar showcases Amitabh Bachchan as the ultimate alpha male, when he triumphantly rides his bike and signifies his attitude of gay abandon towards life. The words “Zindagi to bewafa hai, ek din thukraegi” shows Vinod Khanna standing at a bus stop listening to it. Later on, in Amitabh’s death scene, he sings these words, in Rafi’s voice. Rafa, the great friend he was of Kishore, wanted Kishore to sing it but the music directors wanted Rafi’s voice as probably they wanted the memory of Kishore-Amitabh and the bike song to remain forever.
“Khaike paan banaraswala” from Don is a super song and it is evident how both Amitabh and Kishore enjoy themselves.Originally “Khaike paan banaraswala” was not there in the movie and was added accepting the suggestion of Manoj Kumar. It turned out to be a masterstroke as initially the movie flopped but the song was a hit and it drew audiences to the theatres and ultimately made the movie a commercial success as well.
“My name is Anthony Gonzalves” from Amar, Akbar, Anthony was an amazing Amitabh-Kishore combo as well. Originally the name Anthony Fernandes was thought of, but it did not suit the song, and then music director Pyarelal ji gave the name of his violin teacher Gonzalves which suited the song perfectly. The words “Sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity,’ were quoted from a speech given by Benjamin Disraeli in 1878.
“Chookar mer man ko” from Yaaraana also showed the soft side of Amitabh and is one of Kishore’s best solos.
Sharaabi was one of the best movies of Amitabh Bachchan and Kishore Kumar played his part as well. Sharaabi was the only movie for which Bappi da won best music award. Kishore da incredibly got all the 5 nominations for best male playback singer and won it for “Manzilein apni jagah hai.”
An interesting tidbit of trivia is that during shooting Amitabh had a hand injury as a bomb blew up in his hand during Divali celebrations. Hence he had to keep his hand in pocket as the hand took lot of time to heal and it would have delayed the movie. Ironically that became a fashion statement.
Silsila is in my list as it has one of the best ever Kishore-Lata and Amitabh-Rekha duets, “Dekha ek khwab” with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. The cinematography was magnificent as well and will always remain in memory.
Mr Natwarlal, similarly like Silsila had an amazing Amitabh-Rekha and Kishore-Lata duet Pardesia. There are very few duets where both the male and female singer sing to perfection, matching each other and this is one such rare song.
Bemisal , the last movie of legendary director Hrishikesh Mukherjee with Amitabh had the terrific Kishore song “Ek roz mein tadap kar” with the megastar at his smartest best.
Satte pe Satta had some terrific Kishore songs for Amitabh with my favorite being Dilbar Mere where Amitabh transforms himself from a country bumpkin into a clean shaven bow tied suitor of the beautiful Hema Malini.
Satte pe Satta has one of the most iconic drunken scenes ever of Hindi cinema where Amitabh says “daaru peene se liver kharaab ho jaata hai”.
These are my top ten Amitabh-Kishore songs. I am aware, of course, that I have missed out on many such as songs from Abhimaan, Namak Halaal, Lawaaris, Kasme Vaade, Naseeb, Desh Premee, Hum and many many more films.
Do u agree with my choice of ten or you would like to replace some of them?
Wishing the megastar a very happy birthday!