It is the 114th birth anniversary of legendary singer-actor KL Saigal. The legend is in fact, considered as the "first superstar" of the Hindi film industry.
It is the 114th birth anniversary of legendary singer-actor KL Saigal. The music maestro was born on 11 April, 1904 in Jammu to Amarchand Saigal and Kesarbai Saigal. His father was a tehsildar at the court of king of Jammu and Kashmir. The legend is in fact, considered as the “first superstar” of the Hindi film industry. Saigal appeared in 36 films and sang more than 180 songs in his illustrious career of 15 years. From the 36 films, 28 were in Hindi, seven in Bengali, and one in Tamil. His songs included ghazals, film and non-film songs in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil and Persian. He gained this stature despite not being a trained musician.
Saigal occasionally used to play the role of Sita during Ramlila in Jammu when he was a child. In 1930’s, he was introduced to RC Boral by music director Harishchandra Bali. He then got a job in BN Sircar’s film studio New Theatres on a contract of Rs. 200 per month. While working there he came in contact with contemporaries like KC Dey, Pahari Sanyal and Pankaj Mullick. Saigal proved his mettle when the when the film industry was based in Kolkata.
In 1932, he did his first film as an actor in Mohabbat Ke Ansoo. But, his first super hit film was Devdas that came in 1935. Based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel, his melodious voice and charismatic performance established him as a talented actor in the Hindi film industry. His role as the drunken lover in the PC Barua directorial defined his solid acting. The songs from the movie- “Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi” and “Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein” gained much popularity in the country. Apart from these, KL Saigal also starred in films like Subah Ka Sitara and Zinda Lash.
In 1941, he moved to Bombay, where he acted and sang for a number of successful movies including Bhakt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943). He is still remembered for his songs, Diya Jalao, Sapta Suran among others. Saigal had married Asha Rani in 1935 and had three children. But, after moving to Mumbai, Saigal resorted to alcohol and that took a toll on his health. The legendary actor died at the young age of 42 in 1947.