Kishore Kumar is still considered one of the finest and most successful singers in Bollywood. Although decades have passed since his death on 13th October 1987, the aroma and the magic of Kishore Kumar’s singing could not be replaced by anyone in the singing world. The legendary singer’s music is still fresh and is adored by today’s generation. Apart from his music genius, the virtuoso of singing was quite famous rather notorious for his paranoid and eccentric behavior. Well, this often happened because of not getting paid by the producers in return of his services. Few incidents, which were reported during his lifetime, will be discussed in this column.
It was said that Kumar would sing only after the confirmation of payment from his secretary was received. On one occasion, when Kumar learnt that he was paid half for the movie he was roped in as an actor, he appeared on the sets with makeup placed on one side of his face. Seeing him when the director questioned, he replied “Adha Paisa Tu Aadha Makeup (half makeup for half payment)”.
On another incident, Kishore Kumar’s eccentric behavior was witnessed. This is what happened that on the sets of Bhai Bhai, Kumar simply refused to act in the film since the director of the movie M V Raman owed the singer ₹ 5,000. Learning it, the elder brother Ashok Kumar insisted him to oblige the director. He went for the shooting and walked few steps and uttered to the director “Paanch Hazaar Rupayaa (five thousand rupees)”. Saying this, he reached at the end of the floor and then slipped from the set.
The singer had a soft heart for those who were kind to him. Apart from his principle of ‘no money, no work’, the music genius recorded songs for free for many producers even they were willing to pay him such as for the likes of superstar Rajesh Khanna and Danny Denzongpa. He even helped Bipin Gupta, the actor turned filmmaker, by giving him twenty thousand rupees for his movie ‘Dal Mein Kaala (1964).
There is another incident that describes the singer’s humanity. Arun Kumar, the actor who first acknowledged and applauded Kishore Kumar’s singing talent, in film industry, passed away. Kishore started sending money to his family regularly in Bhagalpur.
Kishore’s another eccentric behavior was reported in the media. The legendary singer placed a sign ‘Beware of Kishore Kumar’ at the door of his residence. The famous producer of Hindi film industry H.S.Rawail came to his home to pay his dues. After paying the dues, Rawail tried to shake hands with the singer, he took the producer’s hand in his mouth, bit it and said ‘Didn’t you see what my signboard says?’.
On another reported incident, Kumar was signed to sing for famous filmmaker G.P.Sippy. By the time, Sippy reached Kumar’s bungalow, he was out in his car. Seeing Sippy, he increased the speed of his vehicle despite filmmaker’s asking him to stop. Sippy chased him until Kishore stopped his car near Madh Fort. When the filmmaker questioned him about his weird behavior, Kumar simply refused recognizing him and instead warned him to call the police. Next morning, Kishore reached at the recording studio, the angry producer asked about the yesterday’s incident, Kishore straightly said that Sippy must have seen a dream because he was in Khandwa yesterday.
A producer got a decree from the court that the singer must follow the orders of his director. On an incident later, Kishore came on the set and did not come out of his car until the director asked him to do so.
A director was filming a car scene in Bombay (now Mumbai), the director forgot to say ‘cut, and Kishore drove the car until he reached Khandala.
On Kalidas Batyabbal’s report, the income tax raided Kishore Kumar’s bungalow. Later, the singer invited Kalidas at his residence and asked Batyabbal to enter in the cupboard to show him something inside. When he entered into the cupboard, he locked it and Kalidas remained there for almost two hours.
The singer was isolated and called himself ‘loner’. In an interview to a journalist, he revealed that he preferred talking to his trees. He also introduced the journalist with the trees by their names at his bungalow and said they were his close friends.
Despite all these eccentric behaviors of the singer, Kishore Kumar was loveable and will remain the same forever for his fans.