If his larger-than-life on-screen persona and that heart-melting voice are testimony enough, Kishore Kumar’s personal life was an equally eventful and vibrant affair. Excluding the innumerable admirers outside the industry, the singer-actor shared his life with four women through wedlock.
Ahead of his 88th birthday on Friday, we look back at the all the important women during his mortal years, before his untimely death in 1987.
Ruma Guha Thakurta
The Padosan actor tied the nuptial knot for the first time in the year 1950 to Satyajit Ray’s niece, who was also the founder of Calcutta Youth Choir.
The couple then became parents to son Amit Kumar in 1952, but some years later, there were alleged clashes regarding Ruma’s career. Despite being a maverick of sorts, Kishore reportedly wanted the singer-actress to turn into a housewife against her wishes.
They finally got divorced in 1958 as Ruma was most notably seen in the 2006 Hollywood film Namesake. Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan is said to be inspired by this real-life love story.
If The West had Marilyn Monroe, Bollywood around the half-way mark in the 20th Century had Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi alias Madhubala. So you can imagine the charm that the Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si singer must have possessed to woo her.
Theirs though was a pretty filmy marriage. Having worked together in films like Jhumroo and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Kishore proposed Mahdubala just when she was planning to go to London for the treatment of her ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart).
For the sake of her parents, Kishore reportedly converted to Islam (Karim Abdul) for a nikaah, but Madhubala was never really accepted into the Kumar household, even after a civil wedding (and even a Hindu wedding) in 1960.
She had to move back to her Bandra house within a month after the marriage as the rising tensions took a toll on her health. The marriage ended with he demise in 1969.
Seven years later in 1976, the Mere Sapnon Ki Rani singer fell in love once again, this time with Shammi Kapoor’s first wife, but the wedlock lasted only two years.
Bollywood actress Geeta Bali’s niece Yogeeta is said to have fallen for Mithun Chakraborty on the sets of his film Khwab, to whom she later got married.
Kishore refused to lend his voice to any of Mithun’s films as a result and in a way helped music director Bappi Lahiri cement his singing credentials having crooned most of these tracks that went on to become superhit songs.
In an interview, Kishore Kumar even referred to this wedding as a ‘joke’ and blamed Yogeeta’s casual attitude as a reason for it falling apart.
There were various accounts of Kishore’s last romance, but Leena herself revealed the story behind the blossoming of this love story in a 2012 interview.
After her first marriage — arranged with Siddarth Bandodkar (son of the first Chief Minister of Goa, Dayanand Bandodkar) — ended in her husband’s accidental death, she was left widowed at a young age of 25.
But Kishore started pursuing her in 1979, when she began reading scripts for the movie Pyar Ajnabi Hai. It took a while for her to fall for him, but the 21-year age difference still proved too much for the approval of the Anhonee actress’ father.
Kishore ultimately visited the family’s house in Dharwad and patiently convinced his future father-in-law for a green light by singing many songs in their courtyard.
The couple then remained married for seven years and even gave birth to a son Sumit, before Kishore’s death in 1987.