It’s the 114th birth anniversary of KL Saigal on April 11. Born on this day in 1904, Kundanlal Saigal gifted Bollywood, and India, a unique style of singing that is still unmatched. Search engine Google on Wednesday dedicated a doodle to the legendary actor-singer who can be safely called the first superstar of Hindi film industry.
In his short career spanning 15-odd years, Saigal sang around 200 songs, for both film and non-film genres, besides acting in 36 feature films. While most of his films were Hindi (28), he did seven Bengali and Tamil film too. Saigal has sung a number of Bengali songs too, including Rabindrasangeet.
The doodle has been designed by Vidhya Nagarajan, and it shows KL Saigal singing with a background of the 1930s studio ambience.
Born in Jammu to a family of modest means, he had no formal music education. A school dropout, Saigal did several odd jobs as he continued to pursue singing.
Saigal got his break in 1932, when Kolkata-based film studio New Theatres cast him for three films. The talkie era had just started. He quickly became the most popular actor-singer in Indian films. Saigal moved to Mumbai later and worked with Ranjit Movietone, before returning to New Theatres in his last few years.
The popular artiste passed away in 1947, at the age of 42.
“President”, “My Sister”, “Bhakta Surdas” and “Tansen” are some of his most popular films.
His songs “Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya”, “Ek Bangla Bane Nyara” and “Do Naina Matwale Tihare”, besides “Main Kya Janoon Kya Jadu Hai” that he sang with Lata Mangeshkar, are still hummed by old-timers and liked by all.
A number of legendary yesteryear singers, including Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi, had said they considered KL Saigal their inspiration.