In the last issue you read how Kishore was forced to become an actor much against his wishes. However he kept his struggle to make a career in singing and become a great singer like his idol K.L.Saigal.
The music director who first trusted his voice and gave him a break as a playback singer was music director Khemchand Prakash. He gave Kishore Kumar his first debut song Marne ki duayen kyon mangu…. for the movie ZIDDI 1948.
Later it was S.D.Burman, the great music director who saw a fire in Kishore Kumar after listening to Kishore Kumar emulating K.L.Saigal’s song. He was mesmerized by Kishore Kumar’s voice and asked him, “Why do you imitate K.L.Saigal? You have such a good voice so why don’t you focus on developing your style.” Further S.D.Burman gave Kishore Kumar the important aspect of singing and that sing the song with feeling and expression and it remained Kishore’s greatest strength, when you hear him sing, he makes you feel with him.
Listening to the encouraging words of S.D.Burman, Kishore Kumar was pepped up with energy. S.D.Burman gave him a big break in MUNIMJI featuring the evergreen actor Dev Anand. Kishore Kumar was given a single song on a trial basis. Fortunately the song Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Rahi….became a run-away hit.
This boosted the confidence of Kishore Kumar and S.D.Burman too was overwhelmed by the success of the song. Hence in his next movie NAU DO GYARAH Kishore Kumar was given two songs and yet again both the songs Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke... and Aankhon Mein Kya Jee....were super hit. Thus in the third movie PAYING GUEST Kishore Kumar was given all the songs for Dev Anand. Remember Chhod Do Aanchal Zamana Kya Kahe Ga….; Haaye Haaye Ye Nigahen….; Mana Janaab Ne Pukara Nahin…. And O Nigahen Mastaana….
Soon Kishore Kumar became to recognized as the voice of Dev Anand just as Mukesh became for Raj Kapoor and Mohd. Rafi for Dilip Kumar.
The S.D.Burman, Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar Jodi gave several hits Burman TAXI DRIVER (1954), HOUSE NO. 44 (1955), FUNTOOSH (1956), NAU DO GYARAH (1957), PAYING GUEST (1957), GUIDE (1965), JEWEL THIEF (1967), PREM PUJARI (1970), AND TERE MERE SAPNE (1971).
Thus it’s true that Khemchand Prakash first gave the break to Kishore Kumar as a singer but it was music director S.D. Burman who really exploited his talent. It was under S.D. Burman’s music in ARADHNA Kishore Kumar won his first ‘Filmfare Award as the best singer for the song Roop Tera Mastana….and became a phenomenon.