13th October, 1987 was one of the saddest days for all Indians movie lovers including me who heard the passing away of the great Kishore Kumar. 13th October also happens to be Dada Moni alias Ashok Kumar’s birthday too, who on hearing his younger brother’s death never celebrated his birthday again. Known to have dominated the film music for more than three decades, Kishore was an untrained singer who took singing and acting like a duck to water. Had worked with almost all music directors and singers of his time and delivered hits till his last breath. He always wanted to retire and hand over the reins to his son Amit Kumar before going to Khandwa in MP state where his fore-fathers belonged.
As a child I happened to see him perform live in 1987 in Meerut, UP, when I was studying in school. I was a die-hard fan then but was too young to be unaware of his achievements and work. The charity show was organized for the war-widows of the armed forces, so entry was free for all the defense personals and their families. People had flocked from all over the place to get a glimpse of him who was accompanied by his son Amit Kumar and wife Leena Chandavarkar. For some reason Kishore walked out of the show after signing only 3-4 songs which left the crowd furious. Somehow the organizers happened to control the crowd as Amit Kumar took over and sang his father’s numbers along with his songs. It was later revealed that Kishore didn’t like the way he was greeted before coming on stage as he wasn’t received by a senior General officer. He rushed back to his room to check out the very next morning with his wife without completing the three-day program. We were also told that he was not happy with the accommodation that was provided to him, although he was given the army commanders suite room but still nothing worked out.
But that brief appearance by the singing legend will always remain with me for all times to come.