KK and Two Left Feet
Soon after ‘Pyaar Ke pal’ and ‘Aapki dua’ had become second language for an entire generation, I read about KK’s “two left feet”.
In an interview that appeared in a national daily, the interviewer had asked if we’ll get to see KK dance. To that, the singer had responded he had “two left feet”, and thus, dancing would be a bit of a problem. My ignorant mind thought he had two actual left feet, and I ran to my Mother yelling, “Mummy! Mummy! KK has two left feet!!” Mumma had more important work to do than to indulge me, and we left it at that. I would then try and observe KK in his videos to see if what he said in that interview was actually true. It was only years later that I realized what it meant to have two left feet.
KK has always been a different kind of special.
KK lived in Yamuna Apartments, Alaknanda, where I grew up; where I spent 13 unforgettable years. I would always hear stories of KK (he had moved out by the time we moved in), how he was extremely popular, how he was determined to make it as a singer, and eventually saw that he had become a household name. My only claim to fame with KK, or what we call ‘flex’ — one that I’ve oft-repeated — is that we kids in Yamuna knew KK’s father. Significantly, Menon Uncle knew us. Whenever we bumped into him on his evening walks, Uncle would always greet us with the widest smile. I’m sure even KK would’ve met us with such warmth.
When the Nagesh Kukunoor-directed Rockford released in 1999, we would see KK in the song ‘Yaaron, dosti badi hi haseen hai’, which was out before the official release of the movie. He would be wearing block colour shirts in the video, and I’m convinced that inspired UTV to come up with their block colour credits.
Agar mile Khudaa tou, poochhunga khudaya
Jism mujhe deke mitti ka, sheeshe ka dil kyun banaaya
When KK belted out this gut-wrenching number, it was too good to have been filmed on the person who featured in the movie. Honestly, nobody could’ve done justice to the pain in KK’s voice. A classmate sang it once in school. I thought her rendition was nice. But my seasoned and classical music trained friend told me, “She’s singing from her nose. Listen properly. And now notice how KK had sung.” She taught me to identify the great.
Growing up, and well into my adulthood, KK was always around. When he sang the playful title track of Just Mohabbat, my friends and I would sing ad nauseam, “Don’t darofy, simply karofy, just mohabbat… just mohabbat!” When he crooned “Gaaenge hum, apne dilon ka taraana”, it became our anthem for our entire adolescence. When he rendered “Tere saath saath aisa, koi noor aaya hai,” I hope he knew that it was his voice that brought joy to our lives.
“Pyaar mein hi dhoondhte hain,
Pyaar se hi poojte hain tujhe,
Tera chehra roshni hai,
Tu mohabbat, tu aashiqui hai”
I often find myself weeping for people I’ve never ever met. But then, these are people who’ve been an inseparable part of my life, and whose body of work is so impressive, I can’t help but mourn their permanent absence.
My Dearest KK, two left feet or not, you’ve made us mortals dance to each of your tunes, and I’m certain that will never ever change. Your songs are the pyaar ke pal we yearn for, your songs are the raazdaar we need, your songs and indeed you, define mohabbat and aashiqui.
I hope you’re in the best place right now, where Menon Uncle beams when he sees you, and with his unconditional love, enquires, “Ente mone?”