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Early Life of K.L.Saigal

Kundan Lal Saigal more popularly known as K.L.Saigal was born on 11th April in 1904 in Jammu. K.L.Saigal is supposed to be the first superstar in the Bollywood film industry.K.L Saigal ruled the Hindi film industry as Superstar even before Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna gave the entry in the silver screen. K.L. Saigal is considered to be a magic ritual in the Hindi film industry. Many people are still not aware of this great legend and his contributions to the Hindi film industry. Even today for those who are in the film and industry and who are trying to become a hero will never forget this great hero for the charisma and the magic of this superstar is fresh in the minds of all the budding stars. K.L.Saigal has been a great inspiration to other legends like Kishore Kumar and Mukesh who immitated his style and built their careers by following K.L. Saigal. Apart from being an actor K.L.Saigal had been a great playback singer for some of his songs are even hummed today and they are always evergreen. As already mentioned K.L.Saigal was born in Jammu to Amar Chand and Kesar Bhai where his father was a Thasildar and who worked in the court of Raja of Jammu and Kashmir. His mother had a great interest for music and he very religious and pious. Being very devoted to God and religious her mother used to attend many religious gatherings like bhajan, kirtan and shabad where the traditional style of classical Indian Music was exhibited. Whenever she used to attend such functions she was take K.S.Saigal along with her which paved way for sowing the seed of music in him. Saigal started to sing in front of audience even when he was twelve years old. Since his father worked in the court of Kashmir Raja Maharaja Pratap Singh, Saigal got an opportunity to sing in front of the King, who praised Saigal for a bright future. But however his father was very upset when he realized that Saigal stopped his education only to pursue his career in singing.

K.L Saigal started singing from a very young age and his mother used to take him to Sufi-Pir Salman Yousuf of the Yesvi sect. K.S.Saigal was born as the fourth child in the family and his formal schooling was for a very short duration and uneventful. Even as a child he used to act in dramas like Ramlila taking up the role of Sita. Soon he lost interest in studies and took up the job of a railway timekeeper and started to earn money. After sometime he worked for a typewriter company named Remington Typewriter Company as the salesman. Because he was designated the job of salesman he used to travel to different parts of India. During one of his travel on business he came to Lahore where he got in touch with Meharchand Jain. Soon their friendship developed to a great extent and they both moved to Calcutta together and had a mehfil-e-mushaira. It was during this time Saigal was coming up as a singer and his friend Meharchand encouraged him to work towards his goal as a singer. Later at number of incidents in his life Saigal has recalled that he was what because of his friend Meharchand. Also for a brief period Saigal has worked as a hotel manager. Simultaneously his passion for singing was also growing and it become very strong in course of time.


Saigal Career When K.L.Saigal was thirteen years old he realized that his voice was cracking. This made Saigal very annoyed and he maintained silence for a very long period. Seeing Saigal's silence his family members got very worried and they took him to a saint who told Saigal to refine his voice and not leave practicing. For the next three years Saigal strictly followed the advice of the saint and he worked towards his goal with full perseverance. During this time he also got some help from the then great singers like Faiyaaz Khan, Pankaj Mullick and Pahari Sanyal. Saigal was very sharp in picking up other languages and during the period when he lived in Jalandhar he also learnt the language of Punjabi and started singing in the same. The credible part of Saigal was that he was not trained in classical music but instead he cultivated his own style of singing for which he had a lot of fans and followers. He has been an inspiration for many of the singers. Even when he was working as the salesman for the typewriting company he used to sing in his Friends Company and small gatherings and during on one such occasion a sales representative of Hindustan Record Company happened to be present in the crowd. This person recognized and appreciated the talents of his voice and convinced him to sign a contract with the Hindustan Record Company. "Jhulana Jhulao" in Dev Gandhar raga is a major hit which belongs to his early recordings.

During the 1930's a famous musician and a music composer who knew K.L.Saigal introduced him to R.C.Boral in Calcutta who very much appreciated the talents of K.L.Saigal. Saigal was hired by B. N. Sircar's Calcutta-based film studio New Theatres on a contract of Rs. 200 per month. As Saigal was working in the New theatres some of his Punjabi songs composed by Harishchandra Bali was recorded and released by Indian Gramophone Company. In the year 1932 Saigal also acted in three movies namely Mohabbat Ke Ansoo, followed by Subah Ka Sitara and Zinda Laash. But however none of them did well. But still he continued acting and gave performance in the movies Yahudi Ki Ladki, Chandidas, Rooplekha and Karwan-e-Hayaat. However though his movies didn't do well, he sang nearly four bhajan songs for the movie Puran Bhagat which was appreciated by everyone. It is also said from various sources that Lata Mageshkar had a liking to marry Saiga after seeing his performance in Chandidas. It was only after the movie Devadas in 1935 Saigal's acting career was defined. This movie was a box office hit and the story was based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of the same name and directed by P.C. Barua. The songs in the movie Devadas more specifically Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein and Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi, became popular throughout the country. As already mentioned Saigal was very good at picking up languages were he did nearly seven Bengali movies and has sung nearly 30 Bengali songs produced by New Theatres. Rabindranath Tagore first heard Saigal before giving consent for the first time to a non-Bengali singing his songs.

After Saigal got himself associated with the New Theatres he gave a quite number of hits as the lead role which includes Didi (Bengali), President (Hindi) in 1937, Desher Mati (Bengali), Dharti Mata (Hindi) in 1938, Saathi (Bengali), Street Singer (Hindi) in 1938, Dushman (1939), and Zindagi in 1940. K.L.Saigall learnt different kinds of music and mastered especailly Khayal, Bandish, Ghazals, Geets, Bhajans, Hori and Dadra in various Ragas. Saigal rendered his voice to different languages like Hindi, Urdu, Pushto, Punjabi, Bengali and Tamil. He always had the habit of having a peg of Kaali Paanch before he went with recording. It can be even said that the period between 1932 to 1946 as Saigal era for he gave a number of hits like Bhakta Surdas, Tansen, Kurukshetra, Omar Khayyam, Tadbeer, Shahjahan and Parwana and some of his evergreen songs include Diya Jalao Jagmag Jagmag, Rumjhum Rumjhum Chaal Tihari, Baag Laga Doon Sajani, Chah Barbaad Karegi, Ai Dil-e-beqarar Jhoom, Gham Diye Mustaqil and the eternal Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya. Saigal was married in 1935 to Asha Rani and the couple had three children one son named Madan Mohan and two daughters Nina and Bina. With all his immense talents Saigal was slowly getting addcited to alchoal. His addiction went to such a bad extent that he cannot get into any recording before having a couple of drink. This showed deterioration both in his health and work, finally affecting his liver. Saigal knew that he was slowly dying and so he wished to lead the rest of his life with saintly man in Jalandhar. So he went there accompanied by a doctor. But it was all of vain for this legendary man passed away on January 18th 1947 in Jalandhar and he was only 42 years at the time of his death.

To keep K.L.Saigal in the memory alive , the Indian Fm Industry has come up with a number of awards in his name. He reigned the period of 1930 both in singing and as an actor. His contribution to the world of music is innumerable. There are also other facts about Saigal that even the great singer Lata Mangeskar wanted to marry him which didn't happen but still she has a photograph of Saigal in her prayer room and she always wear a ring given by Saigal at the time of recording.