Tech giant Google on Wednesday celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of legendary singer-actor K.L. Saigal with a doodle. Born on April 11, 1904 in Jammu, Kundanlal Saigal was considered the first superstar of the Hindi film industry.
In fact, he dropped out of school and held many odd jobs. He was a timekeeper, salesman and manager. It was only when New Theatres, the film studio cast him in three movies, that he got his first big break in 1932.
In the next year, he began to sing songs, beginning with the film Puran Bhagat. The movie bought KL Saigal into the film industry's mainstream. New Theatres, seeing KL Saigal's increasing popularity, created many films till 1940, which was when he moved to Mumbai to work with Ranjit Movietone. He worked on the movies Bhakt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943).
He sang 200 film and non-film songs that continue to enthrall generations of music lovers even today.
Saigal’s style of singing and power of expression took film music to then-unprecedented heights. His songs, Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya, Ek Bangla Bane Nyara, Hum Apna Unhe Bana Na Sake, Do Naina Matwale Tihare, Main Kya Janoon Kya Jadu Hai, Katibe Taqdeer continue to feature on music lovers’ playlist.
After venturing into films during 1931-32, Saigal became the most popular actor-singer for Indian films between 1935 and 1947. Having entered films at the dawn of the talkie era, he acted in 36 feature films – 28 in Hindi, seven in Bengali, and one in Tamil – in the fifteen years of his career. His films such as President, My Sister, Zindagi, Chandidas, Bhakta Surdas, Tansen and others became hits.
The celebrated artist, who died at an early age of 42 in the year 1947, later on became an inspiration for his illustrious predecessors including Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, and Mukesh.
Today’s doodle, designed by Vidhya Nagarajan, shows KL Saigal singing with the background of Kolkata, where the Hindi film industry or Bollywood was based initially.