Since the advent of playback singing in Indian films in late 30s, many playback singers have attained legendary stature for their singing and have connected with film buffs and music lovers through their voice. They became the voice of the On-screen characters in songs, yet created their own space and fan fare, and eventually the “Voice” became their identity.
Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey to name a few legendary playback singers, created a separate space for film music beyond the cinematic context. The Voice became “Them”. They created such a strong impact that the record companies, who earlier used to print On-screen characters’ names on the released records, instead of giving credit to the singer, had to make way for the singers’ name with the song instead of the character name.
The likes of Lata, Asha, Rafi, Kishore connected more strongly and had longer and stronger relationship with the fans through their voices than Dev, Dilip or Raj Kapur for that matter. The playback singers played a major success in establishing an actor through super hit songs and shared a special bond with the actors, and were sometimes considered as “The voice” for the actor.
But being a MayaNagari, the filmdom has seen many unusual happenings! Can you imagine Kishore Kumar, the on-screen actor, had to borrow someone else’s voice despite being a major Voice and leading singer!
The first part of following video presentation features a few of some unusual and interesting instances where the singer as on-screen actor has borrowed some other play back singer ‘s voice rather than singing them-self.
The second part of presentation features another interesting aspects of the singers, who were not actors but sometimes appeared on screen in songs. Check it out.
As you might have observed many of the featured instances are of actor Kishore Kumar, borrowing voices of other singers, namely Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and SD Batish in different songs. This can surely sprung a surprise in viewers mind……why so?
As far as the instances of Ameerbai Karnataki (Kaliyon me raam – Pavanputra Hanuman) and GM Durrani (Unke khayal aaye to – Laal Patthar) are concerned, it can be easily understood that when they were doing these respective roles, they had already left singing and started appearing as guest artist at an old age.
Still GM Durrani needs a very special mention.. When Rafi saab was struggling to make a mark and was not a known singer (early to mid 40s), GM Durrani was at peak of his career as a singer. It is documented that GM Durrani was Rafi saab’s idol at that time , and Rafi saab used to follow his style (as KL Saigal was Idol for Kishore and Mukesh in the beginning of their career). So this song (Unke Khayaal Aaye) becomes a significant one considering the fact, a legendary singer is giving playback for his own idol in singing.
Coming back to strange cases of Kishore Kumar, there are different stories with every instance. Like for Ragini’s Man Mora Baawara, OP Nayyar saab has said in one of the interviews that the song had classical flavor and he needed a voice with knowledge of classical singing, so he opted for Mohammad Rafi. Reportedly Kishoreda was not happy of this choice, but couldn’t do much about it due to professional commitments.
As far as Shararat songs are concerned, it is reported that initially Bharat Bhushan was suppose to have those songs picturised on him and the songs were already recorded when Kishore replaced him for the songs.
Karodpati also has an interesting anecdote…..Kishore had some issue of payments with the producers so he declared he wont record the songs for the film, just to create a panic. The director was really worried as he had to shoot that song in the ongoing schedule. The music directors intervened and suggested that they could get this song recorded by Manna Dey. The same day Manna dey received a phone call from Kishore da’s home. His mother requested that Shankar-Jaikishan would come with an offer to sing for Kishore, so please do not accept the other offer. But Manna Dey had very good relations with Shankar-Jaikishan, so he could not say no and recorded the song.. Later Kishore’s issue was resolved with the producer but the song was retained.
Bhaagam Bhaag song (Aankho ko mila yaar se) where on screen Kishore was picturised with two different voices of Manna Dey and SD Batish was clearly an example of mis-direction during song picturisation.
Whatever may be the reasons, these instances have given us many unusual cinematic moments to cherish.. Lets enjoy!