Happy Birthday Kishoreda! Here are a Dozen Reasons I Love You!

Why a dozen?  I don’t know!  I always do a dozen!  It seems like a nice round number, and it lets me do half facts and half songs.  Although in this case I may swing even more in the songs direction.

1. I love you because you were part of the very first film family in India.  As I describe in my book, your older brother Ashok was the first real film star.  And he used his fame to bring in his younger brothers, yourself and Anoop, and make them stars as well.

2. I love you because you were one of the last true singing stars, starting before playback technology had been developed, and continuing to sing for yourself even afterwards, because your voice was better than anyone else.

3. I love you because you eventually gave up acting entirely and dedicated yourself to your greater talent, singing.

4. I love you because Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is just infectiously fun!  Especially this song, where you interrupt Madhubala on stage, to try to get her to pay off her garage bill.


5. I love you because, when Lataji wasn’t available to sing the female part for this duet, you just sang both parts yourself!  Of course, the “heroine” here was Pran dressed in drag, so that makes it work even better. (also, Half Ticket is based on one of my all time favorite American movies, The Major and the Minor, so I have warm feelings for it anyway)

6. Fun though you were as an actor, it’s when you lent your voice to others, especially in combination with brilliant music directors like SD and RD Burman, that your talent really soared.


7. Doing the 60s, 70s, and 80s, you were the “voice” of all the top stars.


8. I love you because you were married 4 times, each time a love marriage.

9. I love you because, during the Emergency, you refused Sanjay Gandhi’s request to sing for a government event, and paid the price, being blacklisted from All India Radio and Doordarshan until the end of the Emergency.

10. I love you because you were quick to anger, but also quick to forgive.  Refusing to sing for Mithun Chakraborty after your 3rd wife, Yogeeta Bali, divorced you to marry him.  But eventually forgiving him and working with him again.  Refusing to sing for Amitabh after he refused a cameo appearance in one of your films, and again, eventually, forgiving him and working with him again.

11.  I love you because just as you kept acting while singing and singing while acting, you slowly moved into film production and directing, and yet kept up your singing career as well.

12. I love you because your voice was the soundtrack to Indian film from the 1950s all the way through the 80s.



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