KUNDAN LAL SAIGAL Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Kundan Lal (K.L.) Saigal (April 11, 1904 - January 18, 1947) was an Indian actor and singer who is considered the first big superstar of Bollywood, the Hindi film industry centred in Mumbai.


Early life and career at new theatres
Saigal was born in Jammu, in the present-day Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. His ancestors came from the city of Jalandhar in Punjab. As a child, he occassionally played Sita in the Jammu Ramlila, the play that tells the story of the Hindu god Rama. He received his initial musical training from a Sufi saint named Salman Yussuf; he would later use this musical training to master the art of singing the ghazal form of Urdu poetry.


Saigal dropped out of school and worked as a railway timekeeper and then as a typewriter salesman before being hired by the Calcutta-based New Theatres by the studio head, B.N. Sircar. At New Theatres, his singing style was influenced by the studio’s top music directors, such as R.C. Boral, Pankaj Mullick, and Timir Baran. As an actor, his first film was Mohabbat Ke Aansoo (1932), but it wasn’t until Chandidas in 1934 that he became a bonafide star in Hindi cinema. As a youngster, India’s “melody queen” herself, Lata Mangeshkar, is alleged to have said that she wanted to marry K.L. Saigal after seeing his performance in Chandidas.


In 1935, Saigal played the role that would come to define his acting career: that of the drunken title character in Devdas based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel by the same name, directed by P.C. Barua. His songs in the film, Balam Aaye Baso Mere Man Mein and Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi, became feverishly popular throughout the country. Saigal’s association with New Theatres continued to bear fruit in subsequent films that became all the rage, such as Didi (Bengali)/President (Hindi) in 1937, Saathi (Bengali)/Street Singer (Hindi) in 1938, and Zindagi in 1940. In Street Singer, Saigal rendered the song Babul Mora live in front of the camera, even though playback was becoming the preferred method of singing songs in movies.