He was termed eccentric by a segment of the film fraternity. Kishore Kumar had taken the music industry by storm. Such was his influence that the uncrowned king of Hindi playback singing Mohammed Rafi faced competition for the first time in his illustrious career.
She was the second fiddle to her legendary sister. Once asked who’s better Lata or Asha? Gulzar the eminent poet, filmmaker and screenwriter replied Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to step on the moon. David Scott, his pilot was the second. But both should be credited for going to the moon. Same goes for the Mangeshkar siblings. Lata was elder and senior. Asha Bhosle was a junior.
When both these geniuses were combined, they waved sheer magic. Even when C. Ramachandra had separately composed EENA MEENA DEEKA for both the male and female versions for the Kishore starrer, he had opted for Asha to belt out the female version. But the first person to give due credit for the success of the duo would be the phenomenal Sachin Dev Burman. Dada always had an ear for soothing voice. Coupled by trouble with the senior sister, Burman Dada opted for the junior sibling. HAAL KAISA HAI JANNAB KA, CHHOD DO ANCHAL, ANKHON MEIN KYA JEE all were runaway hits. Kishoreda himself didn’t have a successful run during the 60s as a playback singer. But the 70s changed drastically for him with a revolution of stardom in the form of Rajesh Khanna aka Kaka. Giving the Kishore-Kaka duo some fruitful company was Rahul Dev Burman aka Pancham son of Burmandada.
Kaka’s chemistry with Kishore propelled other actors to favour Kishore as well over other singers. The list of immortal gems by the Kishore Asha Pancham are endless- BHALI BHALI SI EK SURAT, ACHI NAHI SANAM, NEEND CHURAKE RAATON MEIN, HUM TUM GUMSUM, EK MAIN AUR EK TU, NAHI NAHI ABHI NAHI, JEEVAN KE HAR MOR PAR, JEENA KYA AJI PYAR BINA, MAIN TUM SE KYA KAHOOO, JABSE TUMKO DEKHA, HUMKO TOH YARA TERI YARI, KAREGA ZAMANA KYA ETC. There are many more. But my personal favourite is the movie Yaadon Ki Baraat where it seemed that both are competing each other with diamonds like LEKAR HUM, OH MERI SONI, DIL MIL GAYE, AAP KE KAMRE MEIN KOI. Rishi Kapoor-Nitu Singh, the reel cum real couple had most of their songs by Kishore Asha.
Well, not just the Burmans, Shanker Jaikishen had used this duo’s voice for their last venture with RK Films, when the new generation Randhir Kapoor took over as a leading actor with his would-be wife Babita. Remember AAP YAHAN AYEE KIS LIYE? Laxmikant Pyarelal the staunch Lata loyalist have recorded DILLAGI NE DI HAWA, MAR GAYE MUJHE TERI JUDAI, EK HASINA THI etc. with the duo. Kalyanji Anandji also utilized this duo for TUM MILE, KAB SE BICHHDE, etc. Rajesh Roshan scored SUNIYE KAHIYE or us to listen and feel mesmerized.
Bappi da hugely patronized them for his flicks. TAKI O TAKI, TOHFA TOHFA, UI AMMA UI AMMA, DHOOP MEIN NIKLA NA KARO, LADKA AKELA etc. all staggering hits. Till today no other duo could even exert even half influence as this pair.