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Kishore Kumar (1929 – 1987) was a legendary Indian playback singer who made an immense and unforgettable contribution to Indian cinema. Although he did not receive any formal training in music, Kishore Kumar became one of the most prolific singers in the Hindi music industry. He sang for 1,188 movies, and in several Indian regional languages. Such is his legacy that in 1997 (ten years after his death), the Government of Madhya Pradesh launched the Kishore Kumar Award for contributions to Hindi Cinema.
Following in the footsteps of his elder brother and noted actor Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar’s career in Hindi films commenced as an actor. However, singing was his real passion. He was encouraged by SD Burman and his other brother Anoop Kumar to develop his own singing style. Kumar gained prominence as a playback singer during the 1950s with hits like Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (Nau Do Gyarah), Chhod Do Aanchal Zamana Kya Kahegal (Paying Guest), Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si and Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi). In the 60s, he sang evergreen tracks such as Zaroorat Hai Zaroorat Hai (Man-Mauji), Gaata Rahe Mera Dil (Guide) and Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechara (Jewel Thief). He is even credited with singing both the male and female parts for the song Aake Seedhi Lagi Dil Pe in Half Ticket, a rare feat for any singer. Although he had been around since the 1950s, it was in the 1970s and 1980s that the legend truly rocked. He produced several immortal songs including O Majhi Re Apna Kinara (Khushboo), Yeh Shaam Mastani and Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai (Kati Patang), Raat Kali Ek Khwab Mein Aai (Buddha Mil Gaya), Panna Ki Tamanna (Heera Panna), Rimjhim Gire Sawan (Manzil) and Janejaan Dhoondta (Jawani Diwani). Some of Kishore Kumar’s best songs were composed by RD Burman. Kishore also holds the record for singing in 91 films for a single hero (Rajesh Khanna). During his long and illustrious career, Kishore became famous for his falsetto (yodelling) as his signature style. Kishore Kumar passed away in 1987, but his immortal voice lives on.