K L Saigal's biography to be re-released
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, January 18, 2010

The national-award winning biography of Bollywood's legendary singer Kundan Lal Saigal will be re-released in a paperback edition on his 63rd death anniversary today.

Titled Kundan, it has been penned by Sharad Dutt, a former director of the Delhi Doordarshan Kendra.

First released in hardbound on Saigal's birth centenary in 2004, the 2005 national award winning book in a paperback edition by Penguin will be unveiled by former information and broadcasting minister Vasant Sathe at the Films Division Auditorium here.

A documentary on Saigal entitled Saigal aye, baso more man mein, directed by Dutt, will also be screened at the function. The film was released with the book in 2004.

Recounting Saigal's contribution to music, Dutt says he has slammed "most of the rumours and incorrect facts about Saigal" in the book.

"The book puts an end to all the rumours about Saigal. I've tried my best to do that. When I was researching for the book and the documentary simultaneously that I started in 1997, I realised there was not even a single correct fact about him in circulation," Dutt told IANS.

"Take for example the correct date of his birth is April 4, 1904 and not April 11, as both are available. Then the reason of his death was diabetes as opposed to those floating in the industry. This research work of almost eight years is practically a correct work on his life," he added.

Dutt also informed that Saigal was "the first singer to bring (Mirza) Ghalib's poems on record".

"He was the superstar of new cinema. By the time Devdas was released in 1935, he was already a household name. He was the singer of the century and every singer from Mukesh to Kishore Kumar have been inspired by him," said Dutt.

Some of Saigal's all time hits are Jab dil hi toot gaya, Ek bangla bane nyara, Dukhake din aab bitat nahin, Duniyamen hun duniyaka talabgaar nahin hun and So ja rajkumari so ja.

Saigal was born in Jammu, where his father was a tehsildar at the court of the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. He took to music in the 1930s after the Kolkata-based film studio New Theatres, owned by B.N. Sircar, hired him. Before that, he worked as a salesman at Remington Typewriters there.

Having received his grounding in Indian classical music from Ustad Fayyaz Khan, Saigal was afraid of his father who was against his singing. The multilingual artist thus started singing in his initial movies under the name of Saigal Kashmiri.

Apart from Dutt, also expected at the event are Sircar's son Dalip and Saigal's grandson Rabinder Chopra.