Unfortunately, I had to be the one to give the tragic news of singer KK’s sudden death to Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB). The singer crooned his most famous Hindi song ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’ for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Just awake, SLB is jolted wide by the news alert. “How could KK just collapse and die like this? Are you sure? What a talent! What a singer! His voice had the throw of a pro. I remember when composer Ismail Durbar came to me with the song Tadap tadap ke it was in KK’s voice.
He continued, “Normally scratch recordings (sample recordings) are done in temporary voices. But when I heard the song my first response was, ‘Oh my God! What a voice? Who’s this? Where did you find him?’ Ismail said it was the voice of a singer named KK and he had heard him sing the song Chhod aaye hum woh galiyan for Vishal Bhardwaj. I told Ismail that I loved the song Tadap tadak ke. But the voice must remain. I couldn’t imagine anyone else singing Tadap tadap ke.”
SLB says Tadap tadap ke has acquired an anthemic resonance over the years. “KK was a complete singer. His range and voice throw was outstanding. He could have been much more successful than he was. But he preferred to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. He was very particular about what he sang.
SLB’s next experience with KK was Devdas. “He sang only some alaaps in Devdas. But in my film Guzaarish when I became a full-fledged music composer for the first time, I wanted him to sing a number of songs. I think KK sang three of my most cherished compositions Daayen baayen, Jaane kisske khwab and the title song Guzaarish. Of all these, I cherish Jaane kisske khwab the most. It is a special composition for me, made even more special by KK’s singing.”
SLB shares an interesting observation from the recordings of Guzaarish. “KK insisted on sitting on a chair to sing the songs of Guzaarish. Normally singers stand and record their songs. But KK insisted on singing seated. His reason was simple: ‘The hero(Hrithik Roshan) is a paraplegic, he will sing the songs from a seated position, and so will I.’ That was the level of his dedication. He shouldn’t have gone so soon.”