We all have grown up hearing his melodious voice. The versatile Indian singer was born on this day in 1929 to Kujalal Ganguly and Gouri Devi as Abhas Kumar Ganguly in Khandwa, the then central provinces where his father served as a lawyer of Kamavisadar Gokhale family. Being youngest of the four siblings he was attracted by his brothers Ashok and Anoop who became Bollywood actors.
Spending time with his brothers, Kishore became interested in films and music. He became a fan of singer-actor K. L. Saigal—whom he considered his guru, and tried to emulate his singing style. Kumar's first film appearance was in Shikari (1946), in which his brother Ashok played the lead role. Music director Khemchand Prakash gave Kumar a chance to sing "Marne ki duayen kyon mangu" for the film Ziddi (1948).
Kumar starred in films New Delhi (1957), Aasha (1957), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Half Ticket (1962), and Padosan(1968). Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), his home production, starred the three Ganguly brothers and Madhubala. Kumar played a car mechanic who has a romance with a city girl (Madhubala) with a subplot involving the brothers.
Music director S. D. Burman is credited with spotting Kumar's talent for singing. During the making of Mashaal (1950), Burman visited Ashok's house, where he heard Kumar imitating K. L. Saigal. He complimented him and told him that he should develop a style of his own, instead of copying Saigal.Kumar eventually developed his own style of singing, which featured yodeling, which he had heard on the records of Tex Morton and Jimmie Rodgers.
Burman recorded in Kumar's voice for Dev Anand's Munimji (1954), 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). He also composed music for Kumar's home production Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). Some of their songs were; "Maana Janaab Ne Pukara Nahin" from Paying Guest, "Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke" from Nau Do Gyarah (1957), "Ai Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa" from Funtoosh, and "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si" and "Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka" from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). Asha Bhosle and Kumar performed duets composed by Burman including "Chhod Do Aanchal" from Paying Guest (1957), "Ankhon Mein Kya Ji" from Nau Do Gyarah (1957), "Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka" and "Paanch Rupaiya Baara Aana" from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi(1958) and "Arre Yaar Meri Tum Bhi Ho Gajab" from Teen Deviyan (1965).
Kishore Kumar married four times. His first wife was Bengali singer and actress Ruma Guha Thakurta aka Ruma Ghosh. Their marriage lasted from 1950 to 1958. His second wife was actress Madhubala, who had worked with him on many films including his home production Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Jhumroo (1961). When Kumar proposed to her, Madhubala was sick and was planning to go to London for treatment. She had a ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart), and he was married to Ruma. After his divorce, the couple had a civil wedding in 1960 and Kishore Kumar converted to Islam and reportedly changed his name to Karim Abdul. His parents refused to attend. The couple also had a Hindu ceremony to please Kumar's parents, but Madhubala was never truly accepted as his wife. Within a month of her wedding she moved back to her bungalow in Bandra because of tension in the Kumar household. They remained married but under great strain for the remainder of Madhubala's life. Their marriage ended with Madhubala's death on 23 February 1969.
Kumar's third marriage was to Yogeeta Bali, and lasted from 1976 to 4 August 1978. Kishore was married to Leena Chandavarkar from 1980 until his death. He had two sons, Amit Kumar with Ruma, and Sumit Kumar with Leena Chandavarkar.
A true singing star, Kumar will be remembered in the country as long as music runs in its veins.