Some Lesser Known Facts About K L Saigal
- Did K. L. Saigal drink alcohol?: Yes
- K. L. Saigal formerly belonged to Jalandhar, Punjab but he was born and brought up in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- His mother was a religious lady and often took him to religious events, where he could learn some sense of piety, after listening to Bhajans, Kirtans, and Shabads.
- At the age of twelve, he has recited a ‘Meera Bhajan’ at the court of Maharaja, Pratap Singh, of Jammu and Kashmir. Later, when his father came to know about this, he got very disappointed as he wanted his son to focus on studies instead of singing.
- After getting approached by his guru, Parashuram Nagar, Saigal’s father allowed him to play the role of Sita in the local Ramleela Function of Jammu.
- At a very young age, he dropped out of his school and started working as Railway timekeeper to earn some money for himself.
- After few years, he left his job as a Railway timekeeper and went to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, to work as a theatre artist at the Amateur Dramatics Club- The Gaiety Theatre.
- Along with being a theatre artist, he also worked as a salesman at the Remington Typewriter Company in Shimla, but after few years, due to some reason, he left that job and moved to Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he worked as a saree salesman.
- In the early 1930s, he got associated with a person named Mehrchand Jain, with whom he moved to Calcutta and started performing in various mehfil-e-mushaira as a nascent singer.
- His native music director, Harishchandra Bali, introduced him to Rai Chand Boral, the Music Director & Composer of the New Theater and to B. N. Sircar, Owner of the New Theater at Calcutta.
- After several recommendations from Boral, B. N. Sircar hired Saigal in his film studio at a contract of 200 rupees (INR) per month.
- His first three films- Mohabbat Ke Aansoo (1932), Zinda Lash (1932), and Subah Ka Sitara (1932) were not brought any success at his cart and proved to have flopped.
- His fourth film- Puran Bhagat (1933) proved to be a massive hit, and four bhajans, which were sung by him, have won the hearts of the audience.
- It was a saying that it was because of K L Saigal, that Ghazals of the famous poet, Mirza Ghalib, were revived in the era of early 1930s.
- Once, Lata Mangeshkar said that she had left with the two unfulfilled wishes of her life. One was singing a song with Saigal and other was singing for the legendary actor, Dilip Kumar.
- Many singers such as Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, and many others have started there singing career by imitating the voice of K L Saigal and later developed his own style of singing. Here is the song, which was originally sung by Mukesh but sounds like Saigal’s voice.
- As a youngster, Lata Mangeshkar was alleged to have said that she wanted to marry K.L. Saigal after seeing his performance in the film Chandidas (1934).
- In the year 1935, he played the most promising role of his acting career in the film ‘Devdas’, in which he played the lead role and brought huge intensity to his character. One of his songs from the film ‘Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein’ became the popular song throughout the country.
- Instead of being a Non- Bengali person, he learnt to speak Bangla as any Bengali would have spoken and acted in several Bengali films such as ‘Jeeban Maran’, ‘Didi’, ‘Parichay’, and many more.
- After listening to his songs, the fabled writer, Rabindra Nath Tagore, considered him as a first-ever non-Bengali singer to sing his songs. Here is the video of Rabindrasangeet, ‘Diner Seshe Ghumerd,’ sung by K L Saigal.
- After gaining success in the Bengali Cinema, he moved to Mumbai to work with Ranjit Movietone and acted in films- Bhakta Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943).
- In the year 1944, he worked in the film My Sister, and his song ‘Do Naina Matware’ and ‘Ae Qatib-e-Taqdeer Mujhe Itna Bata De’ again spread the magic of his voice in all over the country.
- Once, his grandson had mentioned that Saigal was not that much addicted to alcohol as people at that time used to rumour about it. In fact, he started drinking alcohol, because someone suggested him to try it as a medicine to get healed from his backache and sore feet.
- Some of his greatest songs ‘Ek Bangla Bane Nyara’ (1937), ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya’ (1947), ‘Gham Diye Mustaqil’ (1946), and ‘So Ja Rajkumari’ are still popular among music lovers and young generation.
- After completing his last film, Parvana (1946), he wanted to go away from the film industry and wanted to get settled at his ancestral place Jalandhar, Punjab. On 18 January 1947, after suffering from chronic illness, this first superstar of the film industry and a distinctive actor left this world. Here is the video, which tells us about the entire journey of his life.
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