Since 1999

Kishore Kumar : The Ultimate Biography
by Anirudha Bhattacharjee, Parthiv Dhar

Available everywhere.

When I was growing up, I knew about Kishore Kumar as a singer who sometimes sang for Dev Anand. I knew that he acted also but the first film I saw was Pyar Kiye Ja (1966), then Padosan (1968). Then I went to the US for studies and missed the whole Kishore Kumar-Rajesh Khanna phenomenon. When I returned in 1975, he was singing lots of popular songs for everybody.

On the whole I thought he was a good singer (could have been another KL Saigal!). And a comedic actor with a good sense of timing. But I did not know much more.

What I wanted to know and learnt by reading this book is best expressed in the Introduction by Prince Rama Varma, Carnatic singer and veena artiste

"Despite being diehard admirers of Kishore Kumar, the authors have succeeded in keeping things in proper perspective throughout the book, without making anything sentimental or one-sided. In the present-day scenario, when sensationalizing anything and everything seems to be the general trend, they have kept things as objective and balanced as possible, even though the subject of the book was an extremely colourful individual, to say the least. His four marriages, his run-ins with income tax authorities, with Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, his perceived rivalry with good friend and legend Mohammed Rafi—all these and more have been covered in a matter-of-fact manner."

Basically all my questions about him are answered (and much more is covered) in 534 pages, more than 450 end-notes, with fully-sourced information, no gossip, so much so that the book may be eligible for a PhD thesis in Film Studies!

I must admit that I have read the book like one reads an encyclopedia, dipping into articles and savoring the information provided. So, I can say at this stage, I have not found anything that I do not like about this book. Going by the previous books by Anirudha Bhattacharjee, I don't think I will find anything.

Happy Birthday Anirudha (and his other co-author Balaji Vittal, how they managed to be born on the same day is a mystery!)



Note: The car photo is from the website where they have a whole thread on Bollywood and cars.

Now You Know!


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