KK Leaves Us With ‘Pal’ To Remember

| Updated: 01 June, 2022 9:55 am IST

BENGALURU: Renowned playback singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK and who had mesmerised people with a range of songs over the last two decades, passed away on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack. The 53-year-old was in Kolkata for a two-day concert.

‘Early rise’
Born in Delhi in 1968, KK sang more than 3,500 jingles before breaking into Bollywood. The year 1999 was the turning point for him. Sony Music, which had recently been launched in India, was looking for a new singer who can topline a solo album. Eventually, KK was selected to front the solo album ‘Pal’ which became a rage among the youngsters, and songs such as ‘Yaaron’ and ‘Pal’ acquired cult status. No college festival or gala was complete without these youthful compositions being played umpteen times.

In the same year, he crooned ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’, a song from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s superhit ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, with such incendiary intensity that it is still regarded as one of the best melancholic songs ever. In a movie album awash with a host of memorable songs, ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’ is the most enduring one.

This song also marked him out for his versatility; someone who can sink his teeth into a breezy ‘Yaaron’ and a doleful ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’ – two totally divergent renditions – and pull them off with absolute ease.

‘A medley of melodies and memories’
After 1999, there was no looking back for KK as music directors and producers made a beeline to sign him. In the next 10 years, he belted out a clutch of coruscating numbers which still echo in the musical climes.

‘Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana’ from ‘Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein’, ‘O Humdum Suniyo Re’ from ‘Saathiya’, ‘Bardaasht’ from ‘Humraaz’, ‘Awaarapan Banjarapan’ from ‘Jism’, ‘Door Se Paas’ from ‘Musafir’, ‘Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai’ from ‘Gangster’, ‘Khuda Jaane’ from ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ and ‘Aankhon Mein Teri’ from ‘Om Shanti Om’ – to name a few – not only won glowing accolades from discerning critics but also topped the music charts and became hugely popular among hoi polloi.

‘Rapacious range’
KK entered Bollywood at a time when Udit Narayan and Kumar Sanu had been ruling the roost for a decade, and Sonu Nigam was the new phenomenon. Each one of them – Udit, Sanu and Sonu – had a distinct voice which was easily recognisable in every song. They all were suited for particular types of songs and were revelling in their niches.

Throughout his career, the media – which is ever ready to slot singers and actors – could not fix KK into a specific mould because of his outstanding range. KK sang romantic tracks such as ‘Khuda Jaane’, ‘Soniye’ and ‘Aankhon Mein Teri’ with equal flourish and finesse as he warbled pulsating, high-octane numbers like ‘Bardaasht’, ‘Dus Bahane’ and ‘Door Se Paas’. It’s almost hard to believe that one singer has sung such diametrically different ditties.

After ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’, he also lent his voice to ‘Awaarapan Banjarapan’ and evinced that no one can whip up a melancholic mood better than him among his contemporaries.

Perhaps Udit, Sanu and Sonu have been commercially more successful than him, but it is a one-horse race when the discussion is about range and versatility. KK’s genius lied in the fact that he could masterfully modulate his voice like a chameleon according to the mood and genre of the song.

‘Fruitful collaborations’
In the 90s, producers were usually inclined to use a particular singer for a particular actor. While SP Balasubrahmanyam became the voice of Salman Khan in his early days and rendered most of the songs picturised on him, Abhijeet was called the singing prototype of Shah Rukh Khan. But because of his protean-like quality, KK’s voice didn’t become the calling card of any particular actor.

He lent his voice to almost all notable stars of his time, be it Salman, SRK, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, John Abraham, Emran Hashmi or Ranbir Kapoor.

Though he worked with all prominent music composers, his best work came with Vishal-Shekhar and Pritam. His association with Vishal-Shekhar started in 1999 with ‘Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’ and together they conjured up magic in ‘Jhankaar Beats’, ‘Om Shanti Om’ and ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’. With ‘Pritam’, he collaborated on ‘Dhoom’, ‘Gangster’, ‘Life In A… Metro’, ‘Race’ and ‘Jannat’.

He also did some bang-up work with Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik and Vishal Bhardwaj.

‘The last word’
The songs of KK struck a chord with people from all generations. While he could spellbind the youth with ‘Yaaron’, his voice also had the heft to entrance more pensive and seminal listeners with ‘Awaarapan Banjarapan’ and ‘O Meri Jaan’. His voice could convey a gamut of emotions, be it romance, nostalgia or despondency. Truly, a singer of all seasons and emotions.

ALSO READ: Did Overcrowded Venue Lead To KK’s Death?

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