Yodling of Kishoreda 00

Yodeling Of Kishore Kumar

  • Atul Merchant ‘Jatayu’ | merchatul@gmail.com
  • Excerpts from the E-Novella Cinemaghar’

1969 was a year of great significance. Apollo 11 landed on the moon with Armstrong as the first person to step on the moon. The year was significant for Bollywood too.

Rajesh Khanna, father-son Burmans with the Yodeling of Kishore Kumar broke all the Box Office records with Aradhana. The story written by Sachin Bhowmick was based on the 1946 Hollywood film To Each His Own.

Yodling of Kishoreda 1However, just a day before the film was to go on the production floor, Shakti Samanta wanted to abort the project as he realized that the story of Aradhana had a very similar climax to the film Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati also written by Sachin Bhowmick and produced by Surinder Kapoor, the father of Anil Kapoor. Eventually, the story went through some alterations for Aradhna.

Shankar-Jaikishan had great success in An Evening in Paris. But, due to budget constraints, Shaktida opted for SD Burman in this project. After recording two songs, Rafi went on a three-month-long World Tour. RD took the initiative to substitute Rafi with Kishore Kumar, and the rest is history. The song Kora Kaagaz tha yeh man mera was rejected by one and all, but Burmans insisted to keep it.

Other success stories of Rajesh Khanna that year were Ittefaq and Do Raaste. Saira Banu’s trip to London for her chronic health problems stalled the shooting of B.R. Film’s Aadmi Aur Insaan. To keep the troupe busy and to avoid financial loss, as an interim project, Chopras decided to produce Ittefaq, which was a Hindi adaptation of Pravin Joshi‘s directed Gujarati play Dhummas (Fog), which was adapted from the American film Signpost to Murder. Chopras wanted Raj Kumar to play the lead role but that did not work out. Nanda recommended Rajesh Khanna, with whom she was working in The Train. The rest is history.

Lekh Tondon’s Prince was not a flop, but it was time to ‘pack up’ for Shammi Kapoor, whose obesity had crossed tolerable limits. Vyjayanthimala was efficient, but somehow her magic was missing. By then suffering from burnout and over-exploitation of their winning formulas Mohammad Rafi and Shankar-Jaikishan gave mediocre renditions.

Another film of Vyjaynthimala Pyar Hi Pyar too was below par. Vyjayanthimala was already disillusioned post-Amrapali debacle. After the debacle of Ganwaar, she bade goodbye to the film industry, giving an abrupt end to her stunningly brilliant career. Truly, the year ’69 was as the number 69 symbolized made things ‘ultaa sultaa’.

Yodling of Kishoreda 3Pyaar Ka Mausam was otherwise an average film, but for the fact that the film proved to be Mohammad Rafi’s waterloo. Tum bin jaaun kahaan was the song sung by both Rafi and Kishore. Rafi sang the same song twice for the protagonist Shashi Kapoor, once with mandolin and once on piano. Neither Rafi sang badly nor Kishore was any superior, but the yodeling Kishore rendered as the interlude captivated the audience. The actor Bharat Bhushan, once again proved lucky in bagging a hit song.

The recording of Rafi’s version took place before Kishore’s version. The famous Mandolin player Kishore Desai, points out, “Though Pancham’s composition is brilliant, the song’s recording was at a bit too fast a pace. It disallowed much allowance to Rafisaheb to give expressions. I played Mandolin in the interlude in Rafi’s version instead of Kishore Kumar’s Yodeling. As such, there was nothing wrong with Rafi’s singing except that the tempo of the song was too fast to give allowance for the glissandos, the details, and the finishes that Rafisaheb is a master at rendering. It seemed that contrary to his reputation, Pancham was in haste. I personally think that the music director should have put more into the song.  It was not able to curb the haste, which has done a disservice to the song”.  Around the film’s release, Rafi’s version was more popular than Kishore’s. Coupled with Rajesh Khanna, it was Kishore Kumar’s wave, which eventually popularized Kishore’s version, especially for the Yodeling part.


The recording was earlier for Ravi’s version and much later for Kishore’s version.  Kishore Kumar had the luxury of listening and thoroughly studying Rafi’s versions. Imitating the Swiss yodeler Robert Tex Norton and Austrian Jimmy Rogers, Kishore Kumar developed his yodeling for Bollywood. Kishore Kumar’s music directorial debut was with the film Jhumroo. The title song Main Hoon Jhum Jhum Jhumroo is a brazen blend of Robert Tex Norton’s song Big Rock Candy Mountain and Jimmie Rodger’s Blue Yodel).

Yodling of Kishoreda 4Not that Mohd Rafi as a singer was unable to yodel. Back in 1962, in the film Reporter Raju, in the song Gussa fuzool hai, (0:55 to 1:03 and 2:45 to 2:53) Rafi yodeled beautifully. Prior to this, in 1959 in the film Doctor Z, in a duet Hello Sweety Seventeen (1:16 to 1:23 and 3:02 to 3:08) with Asha Bhosle you can hear Rafi’s yodeling. Even before that in 1957 in the film Agra Road, in a duet with Geeta Dutt Unse Rippi Tippi Ho Gayi, Rafi yodeled.

However, the first ever song I remember where yodeling was done, was by Kishore Kumar in Ek Do Teen Char Baagon Mein Aayi Hai Bahar in the film Muqaddar (1950). In those days, Bombay Talkies used to keep salary-paid employees. Music credit given for the film was not to one but to three in order of Khemchand Prakash, Bhola Shreshtha, and James Singh.  

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  • Madan shukla Reply

    Amazing information.. super job swaralaap….

    27 October 2022 at 7:26 am

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