Rahul Kumar is an all-rounder

It is questionable whether it is exoticism alone that from time to time directs our western gaze to the cultures of the vast empires in Asia or the Middle East. Perhaps the Indian subcontinent is the one that fascinates us most through its various religions and myths, its fairy tales and mystical music. The "greatest democracy in the world", as it is so often called, unites seemingly irreconcilable opposites: it is home to millions of illiterate people, maintains some of the best universities, at times adheres to the traditional caste system and its megacities resemble a juggernaut. But something casts a spell over all strata of the population: the filmis of the Indian film industry, which for many are the only means of communication.

In the past few months, a number of CDs have been released on the local market that combine various film songs into a potpurri that, to a certain extent, bring us Western listeners closer to the lively Indian film culture. At first glance, this well-functioning industry, known as Bollywood, appears to be homogeneous. But the regional differences are enormous, from the different languages ​​and dialects to the religions and myths that ultimately influence the way people live. All of this becomes visible in the filmis. In order to give the diversity a structure at all, connoisseurs divide Indian cinema into three geographical zones: the center for the film industry of the eastern regions of Assam, Orissa and Bengal, this is where the legendary film director Satyajit Ray, who stands for Indian cinema as a whole, comes from. forms Calcutta; the south, in which a predominantly Tamil speaking population lives, produces the brilliant music and dance films, the songs of which have since been proving enthusiastic around the world and have been taken up in popular culture, and the megacity of Madras has the appropriate infrastructure; for the western part of India, with its countless provinces, dialects and ethnic groups, such as Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Dogri, Rajasthani, to name just a few, Bombay is the center of the film industry. Based on its American counterpart, which is in no way inferior to the Bombay film industry, it was given the name Bollywood. In the meantime, this term has become a collective term for Indian film.

One of the heroes of Bollywood cinema is Kishore Kumar, whose star shines brightly in the Indian film sky even 14 years after his death. Born on August 4th 1929 in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh State as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, autodidact, at the age of 19 followed his older brother Ashok Kumar to Mumbai (Bombay), where he had already started a career as an actor. In the Bombay Talkies Studio he got his first job as a choir singer with the film director Saraswati Devi. Shortly afterwards, the composer Khemchand Prakash discovered his singing talent and taught him the art of playback singing. His first hit was the melancholy one Mare ki duayen kyou mangu from the movie Ziddi (1948) which he sang for actor Dev Anand. Anyone who wanted to make something in Indian film did not only have to have acting talent, but also a penchant for singing and dancing. Vocal pieces play a very important role in Indian films. They have been part of the pop industry since the 1950s and represent more than "just" film soundtracks. Even today there are radio stations that dedicate their programs exclusively to these film songs. While the attention of Western viewers to the "realism" of the event is "disturbed" by the sudden "break-in" of singing actors, the Indian audience perceive this "break-in" as an expansion of linguistic possibilities. Singing enables the protagonists to give more expression to their "true" emotions and can create a completely new context.

Kishore, he chose his first name himself, turned this method, which is difficult for actors, into a fine art. He was compared to Bob Hope and Danny Kaye because of his natural manner, his clowning and pranks, which he did not neglect even during the filming. His extraordinary appearance also highlighted his comic talent. Although he was often "only" seen in supporting roles and was never allowed to play the hero, it was his appearance that gave the film "that certain something", so that the audience chose it as their favorite. For his part, the all-rounder was inspired by the entertainer Topol, whom he saw live on stage during a visit to London. Then he took the opportunity to get an autograph on his idol's cassette.

Legend has it that Kishore came to his later famous timbre at a young age: the young Kishore heard his brother Ashok hear the song in a film Koi humdum na raha sing and fell in love with the melody. He really wanted to sing this song in exactly the same way, but his voice did not match the complex rhythm and became ill for a few weeks. He used this time to strengthen his voice and practice holding melodies. In 1961 he was able to move into Jhumroo finally sing the same song that his brother had sung before, more beautiful than anyone before.

Without the film composer Rahul Dev Burman, however, Kishore Kumar's career would have been inconceivable. The busy musician recognized his intuitive feeling for rhythm and melody and certified his perfect pitch. "He'd hear Pandit Phimsen Joshi sang and at once catch the tune. Then he'd hum it a couple of times and by evening he'd be doing a perfect replay. His ability to mimic combined with his voice quality gave him tremendous speed and power ". His timbre became his trademark, easily surpassing emerging younger actors. Since he knew how to modulate his voice, his work as a dubbing singer for other stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Amar Akbar Anthony and Rajesh Khanna was not in danger. To get an impression of his films like Meri neendon my job, Jeevan se bhari and Badi sooni sooni grove called. The composer Salil Chowdhury also confirmed his vocal versatility: "... While recounting an incident related to the recording of Aake seedhi lagi for Half Ticket, Lata Mangeshkar was unable to come for the recording. The ever-resourceful Kishore suggested that he would do both the male and female voice. I very nearly brushed it off as a prank, but he was serious ". With that he succeeded in singing the amazing coup in two octaves at the same time. He celebrated his greatest successes in a duet with the sisters Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar. The mixture of western beat music paired with Indian instruments like the tabla, the sitar and various wind instruments made titles like Dhak Dhak Dhak from the movie Haathi mere saathi and Lekar Ham Diwana Dil out Yaadon Ki Baaraat to Indian megahits.

Disappointed about the increasing commercialization and the immense time pressure to which the film productions were subject, Kishore Kumar withdrew from the film business in the early 80s. "It's all become terribly boring. I've been singing for three and a half decades now and I'm used to the style of great composers of the yesteryears like SD Burman and Husnlal Bhagataram. Those days we were given a whole day for rehearsals and another for the take. Unlike today when within two hours flat you complete the entire recording ".

In his private life, the eccentric, who loved women and luxury, had little luck. He was haplessly married four times and had numerous scandalous affairs. The son Amit emerged from the marriage with Ruma Devi. With him he shot the drama in 1964 Door Gagan ki Chhaon mein. The story is about the war hero Shankar (played by Kishore Kumar), who on his return finds out that his family had died in a fire and is now trying to find the only surviving son (played by his son Amit) who suffered a shock and became deaf and dumb to heal. The brilliant portrait, which he himself wrote, directed, produced and composed the music, was later compared by critics to anti-Vietnam films from Hollywood and received several national and international awards. Encouraged by the success, he made three more films Badhti ka naam Daadhi (1978), Zindagi (1981) and Door wadiyon my (1982), but none of the films met the high expectations.

On October 12, 1987, Kishore Kumar died unexpectedly, who, through his great sense of humor and his strong personality, learned the respect and friendship of many colleagues and companions. Lata Mangeshkar finally found the right words: "He was definitely a Sampoorna Kalakar (the complete artist). He knew everything. I call him India's Danny Kaye, Producer, Actor, Director, Singer"