Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey were the other two mainstream Hindi playback singers for whom Hemant Kumar composed songs when it seemed to the THE choice that was available.
The songs that Hemant Kumar has composed in Kishore Kumar’s voice have two have two essential variants – one is the songs for the films wherein Kishore Kumar was also acting, and the other is where Kishore Kumar has been playback singer to some other actor on the screen.
Here are a few representative songs, each representing a different mood, each one representing three different phases of Hemant Kumar’s career in Hindi films as music director.
Ek Roz Hamari Bhi Daal Galegi – Bandi (1957) – Lyrics: Rajinder Krishna
The opening lines follow a parody form of popular folk lyrics, Kishore Kumar freely improvising his frustrating progress with cooking the food. The couplet ends with Kishore Kumar’s signature style of parodying of some of the classics, K L Saigal’s Panchhi Kahe Hot Udaas in the present case. The song then moves in, providing enough space to Kishore Kumar’s antics.
Aaj Rona Pada Toh Samjhe, Hasane Ka Mol Kya Hai – Girl Friend (1961) – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhyanvi
The song ranks as one the Kishore Kumar classics. Composed with minimal orchestration support, the composition fully brings into play the beauty of Kishore Kumar’s vocal cords.
Gaana Na Aaya Bajana Na Aaya, Dilbar Ko Ana Bana Na Aaya – Miss Mary (1957) – Lyrics: Rajinder Krishna
Here is a song that has all the trappings of Kishore Kumar’s natural mischievous mannerisms. The net effect is that he indeed sounds so out of tune.
Hawaaon Pe Likh Do Hawaaon Ke Naam – Do Dooni Chaar (1968) – Lyrics: Gulzar
The prelude to the song, mainly in the form of base-tone humming and slightly-higher-scale short alaaps by Kishore Kumar sets the pensive mood of the song.
Aside trivia: The child artist in the frame @0.57, subsequently shown strolling with goat cub, accompanying Kishor Kumar in the whole song is Baby Neetu Singh.
Woh Shaam Kuchh Ajeeb Thi – Khamoshi (1969) – Lyrics: Gulzar
This is one song that is enshrined in the roll of honors in the Kishore Kumar’s filmography. In fact, it may not be exaggeration to say that the song helps to lift the mood of the situation – ruefully reminiscing those moments when the protagonist was with his beloved in the present.
Vaidh Ke Palle Pade , Kaise Vaid Ke Palle Pade, Marta Mar Jaaye Rog Se Rogi, Vaidh Se Kaun Lade – Raahgeer (1969) – Lyrics : Gulzar
This comedy songs is to the tune of the famous prayer Om Jai Jagdeesh Hare.
Even as Hemant Kumar has used Manna Dey very sparingly, he has fully exploited the flexibility and range of Manna Dey’s singing prowess.
Ek Bade Baap Ki Beti Kal Ghar Ke Munsi Sang Dekha Gul Mil Batiya Karte – Bandi (1957) – Lyrics: Rajinder Krishna
The ‘common men’ are enjoying behind-the-back jibes at ‘bade log’ and their lifestyles. The song is filmed as a street nautanki performance, and Hemant Kumar too also has composed it as such and then let Manna Dey do the rest of the job.
Rehne Ko Ghar Do – Biwi Aur Makaan (1966) – Lyrics: Gulzar
The song seems to be tailor made for Mehmood’s signature theatrics on the screen.
Dost Kahan Koi Tumsa, Tumsa Nahi Koi Mister – Khamoshi (1969) – Lyrics: Gulzar
This is a typical mandatory song that must be assigned to a comedian in the film. In most the cases, music directors, lyricists and singers have turned such occasions into presenting a song that, at the minimum, ensures that the public in the cinema hall remains seated during the song.
In the third and concluding part, we will take up Hemant Kumar;s Male Songs in the voices of Other Singers.
Originally published on SoY as Hemant Kumar’s Male Playback Singers. This is the edited and improved-on-the-inputs-of-discussions-thereupon version.