It’s been a month after the sad demise of the Bollywood singer, K K. I published a small post on 1st June, but he deserved a full post. I finished all the pre-planned posts before I got to today’s post.
Born on 23rd August 1968 in Delhi, K K belonged to a Malayalam family. His full name was Krishnakumar Kunnath. He completed his entire education (he was a commerce graduate) in Delhi. Before he joined singing career, he worked as a marketing executive.
He came to Mumbai in 1994 to pursue a career in Hindi films. He got associated with A R Rahman in the 90s, where he sang for a Telugu movie, Kadhal Desum in 1996. The film was dubbed in Hindi and released in 1996 as Duniya Dilwalon Ki. It was his first break as a playback singer. In the same year, he sang for Gulzar’s ‘Maachis’. The song was Chhod Aaye Hum Woh Galiyan with co-singers, Suresh Wadkar, Hariharan and Vinod Sehgal. The song was very popular, but K K wasn’t noticed particularly. The opening lines of the song in high octave were sung by K K.
His next song was also for A R Rahman for the Tamil film, Minsara Kanavu. The film was also released in Hindi as Sapnay (1997). The song was, Strawberry Aankhen with Kavita Paudwal.
His first major break in Hindi films was for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The song is still counted among the top 3 popular songs of K K.
Tadap Tadap Ke Is Dil Se – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) / Ismail Darbar – Mehboob
The high octave lines of K K in this one were so touchy and impactful. The pathos the song creates is unparalleled. No wonder the song became an instant hit and K K became popular. The song still maintains its appeal and is very popular.
In the same year, Sony music came out with K K’s album, Pal, which was a smashing hit across the country. The company wanted to launch a new talent and they chose K K. The album had 8 songs penned by Mehoob, arranged and composed by Leslie Lewis. I’ve already added the most popular song, Pyar Ke Pal in my last post. Today I’ll highlight the second most popular song of the album.
Yaaron Dosti Badi Hi Haseen Hai – Pal (1999) / Leslie Lewis – Mehboob
K K got acquainted with the lyricist Mehboob, when he worked with A R Rahman. He wrote all the songs for the album. The song was later incorporated in the film, Rockford.
The song, Tadap Tadap Ke Is Dil Se, perhaps made him a popular choice for a betrayed / cheated lover. He portrayed the intense emotions of a hero who faces betrayal. I’ll add some of my favourites that fall under this category,
Ae Dil Dil Ki Duniya Mein – Yaadein (2001) with Sneha Pant / Anu Malik – Anand Bakshi
The song was a bit popular during its release. It could be a forgotten song but I used to like it and still like it. K K’s part is really high octave, almost screaming. The contrast between Sneha’s thin voice and K K’s voice is a highlight of the song.
Sach Kah Raha Hai Deewana – RHTDM (2001) / Harris Jairaj – Sameer
All the songs of RHTDM were extremely popular and some of the songs still are popular. K K’s rendition is really heart touching.
Awarapan Banjarapan – Jism (2003) / M M Kreem – Sayeed Qadri
A song along the same lines, but sung with a soft voice. The song has a good tune and good orchestration too. But the appeal of the song equally belongs to KK.
While he is remembered more frequently for these intense songs, I also remember him for a few dance numbers. Here though the emotions are exactly opposite, that of happiness, exuberance, and carefree attitude, K K used to be at home. Let me add a few of my favourite dance numbers sung by him. While compiling his popular songs, somehow his dance numbers are missed. But I couldn’t miss my favourites.
Bardasht Nahi Kar Sakta – Humraaz (2002) with Sunidhi Chauhan / Himesh Reshammiya – Sudhakar Sharma
The film wasn’t much of a substance except for its songs. The dance number was a favourite and I wanted to add it to today’s list.
Ek Nazar Mein Bhi Pyar Hota Hai – Taxi No 9211 (2006) with Sunidhi Chauhan / Vishal Shekhar – Vishal Dadlani
Very catchy and rhythmic song. In both these songs, Sunidhi Chauhan gives a good support.
Here I must mention a couple of my favourite dance numbers, both of which are incidentally trios, sung under the baton of Shankar Ehsan Loy.
The next song on my list is not strictly a dance number, though it’s jazzy, catchy and foot tapping. The song was very popular during its release and I guess, it’s still very popular.
Tu Aashiqui Hai – Jhankar Beats (2003) with Chorus / Vishal Shekhar – Vishal Dadlani
A song, melodious as well as has a good rhythm.
K K was a favourite with the composer, Pritam Chakraborty. And over the years, his association with other composers also became popular. Let’s listen to assorted songs. In the majority of these songs, K K has sung in high octave. And most of the songs, barring a couple of songs, are background songs. No one lip syncs to it.
The first couple of songs have a similar mood,
Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai – Gangster (2006) / Pritam Chakraborty – Sayeed Qadri
Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai – Woh Lamhe (2006) / Pritam Chakraborty – Neelesh Misra
While Vishal Shekhar chose other singers for all the other songs, they rightly chose K K for this song with intense emotions. K K’s only song from the movie, and the most popular too. It was the first song of the movie that was promoted on the television.
Aankhon Mein Teri Ajab Si – Om Shanti Om (2007) / Vishal Shekhar – Vishal Dadlani
Laga Chunari Mein Daag was a Yash Raj production’s much hyped film, which was unfortunately a box office disaster despite having a good starcast. K K sung for Kunal Kapoor and this catchy, peppy number unfortunately went unnoticed. The excellent chemistry between Konkona Sen and Kunal Kapoor further makes it enjoyable. So here’s the lesser explored song by K K,
Ek Teekhi Teekhi Si – Laga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) with Shreya Ghoshal / Shantanu Moitra – Swanand Kirkire
His first album, Pal, was a hit, but it took him almost 9 years to come up with his next album, Humsafar, which was released in 2008. The songs were composed by K K himself, while he also wrote English lyrics for a few songs. The Hindi lyrics were contributed by Mehboob. The album had 10 songs in total including a couple of songs from his earlier album, Pal. It was a mixed bag of songs covering various styles, but it belonged to the pop-rock genre. K K’s son, Nakul also sang for the album. While choosing the song for today’s list, I tried to go for a different sounding one. A fusion of Bengali folk and rock. What an experience listening to the song! As K K himself was the composer, he could freely compose as per his wish and sounds much more carefree.
Raina Bhai Kaari Kaari – Humsafar (2008) / K K
K K was nominated for the best male playback singer award several times, and he won the Screen award for the song, Khuda Jane Ke Main Fida Hoon.
Khuda Jaane Ke Main Fida Hoon – Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) with Shilpa Rao / Vishal Shekhar – Anvita Dutt Guptan
Another song with intense emotions and the voice suits the song and Ranbir Kapoor so well. Shilpa Rao has an unconventional voice and perfectly suits the occasion.
K K continued his journey with various composers. Let me add a few of my favourites from the late 2000s and 2010s and the current decade.
Alvida – Life in a Metro (2007) / Pritam Chakraborty – Amitabh Verma
Life in a Metro was a thought provoking film and the song runs in the background as the story unfolds on the screen.
Zara Si Dil Mein De Jagah – Jannat (2008) / Pritam Chakraborty – Sayeed Qadri
The song has a tinge of Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai, and incidentally both the songs have Imran Hashmi.
Zindagi Do Pal Ki – Kites (2010) / Rajesh Roshan – Nasir Faraz
What a refreshing melody it is!
And if you want to limit K K to romantic songs and dance numbers, let’s have a couple of surprises! Here we go ….
Tu Jo Mila – Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) / Pritam Chakraborty – Kausar Munir
Should I say anything about the song!
Kal Ki Hi Baat Hai – Chhichhore (2019) / Pritam Chakraborty – Amitabh Bhattacharya
My list would have been incomplete without this soulful song. What a great pathos and what a tide of emotions the song brings with it. All of us can so easily relate to it.
K K recorded his last song for the film, Sherdil. The song was written by the veteran lyricist, Gulzar and the song was released posthumously. The song has interesting lyrics and the tune and orchestration is different too.
Dhoop Pani Bahne De – Sherdil (2022) with Rituraj / Shantanu Moitra – Gulzar
Before I end,
- K K never had a formal training in singing, but his expressive voice would convey any emotion very easily and effectively
- K K sang for a number of popular songs for Tamil and Telugu films. Would you ever forget Appadi Podu? Let you be a Tamilian or not!
- He also sang for Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam films and for a couple of Bengali films.
- He sang more than 3000 jingles in various languages before joining films
- His most popular associations were with the composers, Anu Malik, Pritam Chakraborty, Vishal Shekhar and Himesh Reshammiya, though he sang for all the prominent composers
- For the majority of the movies, he sang just one or two songs, yet he could make his presence felt. His song would be the most popular song of that movie
- On 31st May 2022, he was uncomfortable while he was singing in a concert at Kolkata. Soon after the concert was over, he reached his hotel to collapse. He was declared dead when he was taken to hospital.
He was survived by his wife Jyoti, son Nakul and a daughter.
K K would be remembered for his lovely songs. His perfect expressions, excellent voice quality and his dedication all resulted in making all the songs memorable. These are a few of my favourites by K K. Please share yours!
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.