Obituary: Rest in peace, KK... You will always live in the hearts of innumerable fans across India and the globe

Robin RoyUpdated: Thursday, June 02, 2022, 12:12 AM IST
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Pic: Twitter/NeilNMukesh

Performers never die. Their ‘pal’ stays forever. They live through their works, and this will forever be true for Krishnakumar Kunnath, born in New Delhi to C S Menon and Kunnath Kanakavalli on August 23, 1968. A Malayali by birth, KK never had formal music training but was always game to sing in various languages even though he was not acquainted with them. Hence like a true performer, he will be living in the hearts of innumerable fans across India and the globe!

Apart from Hindi, KK sang in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati. His melodious and gifted voice became a household name in the 90s as his music had touched upon the facets of youthfulness, love and heartbreaks and contemporariness. Very soon, KK’s velvet voice hypnotised the hearts of millions of youngsters as they could relate to his work. It seemed he spoke about them, for them... to them.

Hugely influenced by the legendary Kishore Kumar and RD Burman, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams and Led Zeppelin, it was in 1994 that he took a chance and submitted a demo tape to Leslie Lewis, Ranjit Barot and Louis Banks.

It was the legendary AR Rahman who had introduced him as a playback singer with the hit number Kalluri saaley and Hello Dr. from Kadir’s Kadhal Desam and then Strawberry kannae from the musical flick ‘Minsara Kanavu’.

After a brief vocal stint in Gulzar’s Maachis with the famous number… Chhod aaye hum, finally in 1999, KK became a sensation with the song Tadap tadap ke from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

This year was the turning point in his career as he brought out his debut solo album titled Pal with Leslie Lewis, who scored the stunning music. It was literally KK’s ‘pal’ when every contemporary music lover would always remember the title track Pal and Yaaron, which perhaps musically had the essence and the meaning of friendship and closeness.

KK’s mellifluous voice left listeners gasping for more. His songs were drenched in so much emotion that his numbers almost became the anthems at school and colleges’ farewell gatherings.

He next renditions were Jab bhi koi haseena for Hera Pheri and by 2001, KK had Jhanak jhanak baaje (Farz), Mil jaye khazana (Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar) and Aaja gufaon mein’ (Aks). Then came Dola re (Devdas) and Bardaasht (Humraaz).

In 1999, KK was so popular that he appeared for the Josh of India song in support of Team India during that year’s Cricket World Cup. In a span of almost close to three decades, KK sang more than 500 songs in Hindi and more than 200 songs in Telugu, Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam. He had also received awards, including two Screen Awards.

KK’s songs usually spoke of romance; that’s why his works will, forever, be young and close to the heart. His renditions were also upbeat, groovy, youthful, and soulful. On Tuesday night, even when the end came, and life pulled the plug on him, he was doing what he loved most... Singing. May his soul rest in peace.

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