The Maverick Genius
Ashwini Deshpande
KISHORE KUMAR: THE ULTIMATE BIOGRAPHY by Anirudha Bhattacharjee HarperCollins India, 2022, 555 pp., ₹ 699.00
March 2023, volume 47, No 3

The only reason Kishore Kumar might not be counted among the global all-time great artists would be on account of the region of his birth. Had he been born into the Anglo-Saxon world, his incomparable talent and unique career would have placed him right at the top of  the talent list, with dedicated retrospectives, books, papers, and an assured place in film studies/popular music courses.

Kishore Kumar’s skill set was extraordinarily diverse and his output prolific. He wasn’t a niche actor inhabiting only esoteric or intellectual corridors. His films/roles were sharp, funny and widely popular, his singing talent prodigious and his music unforgettable, spanning the full range of human emotions. He entertained audiences with an unparalleled diversity of roles and form, making him one of a kind. Actor, director, singer and song writer, who could be comic, serious or somber, making his listeners and audiences laugh uncontrollably or cry. His personal life generated equivalent interest as his talent did, with hilarious stories of his wit and crazy antics, overactive rumour mills churning out gossip about his four marriages, including to the ethereal and stunningly gorgeous Madhubala, and accounts of his political courage as he refused to be subservient to the very powerful ruling establishment during the Emergency.

Continue reading this review