Kishore Kumar, an interview from 1985

We’re back in a retro mood. There are these rare spaces in each week, when existential questions are put aside without any effort. There’s this interview that Pritish Nandy did with Kishore Kumar that’s a complete gem. It’s a little long but worth every minute spent on it. Kishore Kumar’s incredible comic-tragic genius isn’t limited to the amazing energy that he pours into each song. There’s something so wonderful about the way he appears to summon moods to every note. A little snippet from the interview

KK: Then, there was this interior decorator-a suited, booted fellow who came to see me in a three-piece woollen, Saville Row suit in the thick of summer- and began to lecture me about aesthetics, design, visual sense and all that. After listening to him for about half an hour and trying to figure out what he was saying through his peculiar American accent, I told him that I wanted something very simple for my living room. Just water-several feet deep- and little boats floating around, instead of large sofas. I told him that the centrepiece should be anchored down so that the tea service could be placed on it and all of us could row up to it in our boats and take sips from our cups. But the boats should be properly balanced, I said, otherwise we might whizz past each other and conversation would be difficult.

He looked a bit alarmed but that alarm gave way to sheer horror when I began to describe the wall decor. I told him that I wanted live crows hanging from the walls instead of paintings-since I liked nature so much. And, instead of fans, we could have monkeys farting from the ceiling. That’s when he slowly backed out from the room with a strange look in his eyes. The last I saw of him was him running out of the front gate, at a pace that would have put an electric train to shame. What’s crazy about having a living room like that, you tell me? If he can wear a woollen, three-piece suit in the height of summer, why can’t I hang live crows on my walls?

It’s an incredible interview. It’s more like a free wheeling conversation. There is such delicious irreverence and lucidity. I cleaned up the file a bit and here it is as download. [Kishore Kumar Interview.txt – Right click, Save as]

And how can I not link to a song while I am at it. Here’s a wonderful song by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar – Aap Ki Aankhon Mein Kuch.

12 Comments

Filed under Borrowed Words, History and Monuments, Music, Film and Art

12 Responses to Kishore Kumar, an interview from 1985

  1. Many thanks for the transcript.
    My friend still has a copy of this Illustrated Weekly (August 1987, the month of Kishore Kumar’s birthday – one of the things that will count towards Pritish Nandy’s salvation). The Man on the cover, grinning at a skull on which he had perched his thick-framed glasses.
    He died that October.

    J.A.P.

  2. Have grown up loving his songs. Sigh. What songs. What a voice.

  3. Thank you. Thank you so much for posting this.

  4. Thanks Neha. But my heart belongs to Rafi.

  5. He is absolutely the best of the best. I simply adore his voice. Thanks for sharing this,he indeed was unique. And this song happens to be one of my favorites:)

  6. Thanks for the interview, and the song, yes. Amongst the many that I’ve only heard, but never seen.

  7. dipali

    wonderful post!

  8. km

    My favorite interview ever. And KK did this interview (presumably) without dropping acid.

    Thank ‘ee.

    //Did someone say their heart belonged to Rafi? Can we please have a flame-war on your blog, Neha? Pleeease?

  9. Neha,
    Thanks for the interview link, though the interview sounds so weird I’m beginning to doubt it’s authenticity.

    ‘aap ki aankhon mein kuch’ is one of those naughty romantic numbers that i like.

  10. ada, ithu etho indhi pola…..

  11. km and Lali: I demand that you guys have a flame war right here!

    Chimera: That’s what I thought when I first read it. But it’s real alright!