K L Saigal's Last Days Of Life

In December 1941, Saigal moved to Bombay to work with Ranjit Movietone. Here he acted and sung in a number of hit films. His voice, music and songs took him to even greater heights. Bhakt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943) were huge hits during this period. The latter film is still remembered for Saigal's amazing performance of the song Diya Jalao in Raga Deepak; in the same movie, he also sang a wonderful song "Sapta Suran,Tin .. Gaa-o Saba Guni Jan" - which is about music, and is a special treat for all the lovers of music. In 1944, he returned to New Theatres to complete Meri Behen. This film contained such Saigal gems as Do Naina Matware and Ae Qatib-e-Taqdeer Mujhe Itna Bata De.

By this time, alcohol had become a predominant factor in Saigal's life. His dependence on alcohol and begun affecting his work and his health. It was said that he could only record a song after having being fortified with liquor. He survived ten years of drinking, however, his alcoholism was too advanced for even a single attempt at abstinence, and Saigal died in his ancestral city of Jalandhar on January 18, 1947, at the age of 42. However, before his death, he was able to churn out three more hits under the baton of Naushad for the film Shahjehan (1946). These are Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, Ae Dil-e-Beqaraar Jhoom, and of course, the immortal Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya. He released his last film, Parwana, in 1947. Saigal was survived by his wife Asha Rani (whom he married in 1935) and three children, one son and two daughters, who are, Madan Mohan, Nina (born 1937) and Bina (born 1941).

In a career of fifteen years, Saigal acted in 36 feature films - 28 in Hindi/Urdu, 7 in Bengali, and 1 in Tamil. In addition, he acted in a short comedy Hindi/Urdu film, Dulari Bibi (3 reels), released in 1933. After Saigal's death, based on the life and times of K.L. Saigal, B.N. Sircar released a documentary film called Amar Saigal in 1955. In the film, G. Mungheri performed the title role of Saigal. The film contained 19 songs lifted from Saigal's films. In all, Saigal rendered 185 songs which includes 142 film songs and 43 non-film songs. In the film songs category, there are 110 in Hindi/Urdu, 30 in Bengali and 2 in Tamil. In the non-film category, there are 37 in Hindi/Urdu, and 2 each in Bengali, Punjabi and Persian. His non-film songs comprise of Bhajans, Ghazals and Hori. He has rendered the creations of legendary poets such as Ghalib, Zauq, Seemab and others.

Saigal's distinctive singing voice was so melodious and popular that he was idolized by the first generation of post-independence Bollywood playback singers, including Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, and Kishore Kumar. Even today, the name K.L. Saigal conjures up images of the great Indian singing film star of the 1930s and 1940s with the unmatched golden voice.