Kundan Lal Saigal or K L Saigal, which is popularly known as Saigalsaab only is considered as the first superstar of India. He was the idol for many first generation Indian singers like Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, and Mukesh. He was the popular singer and actor of 1930s in India.
Saigal was born on 11th April, 1904 in Nawa Shahar, Kashmir, British India. His ancestors belong to Jalandhar in Punjab. Saigalsaab was forth amongst five siblings. Saigal did little schooling. He didn't complete his schooling. He left school and occupied into earning money by working as a railway timekeeper.
He later enrolled himself as a typewriter salesman for a typewriter company Remington. The company was allowing him to travel across India for work. While touring for a company he came to Lahore and found a good friend in Meharchand Jain. Meharchand encouraged Sailgal's singing talent each time. He advised him to take it as his career. Saigal later admitted that whatever he became was because of friend Meharchand's encouragement and support. With time Saigal love for music went on increasing.
A big thing came to his way when B.N. Sircar roped in him for his film studio New Theatres. New Theatres was a Culcutta based film studio, where he met to composer R.C. Boral. R.C. Boral liked his singing and he got employed into New Theatres for salary of 200 Rupees per month.
Saigal made his debut as an actor with the Urdu film Mohabbat Ke Ansoo in 1932. The same year he appeared in two other films Subah Ka Sitara and Zinda Laash. But the films didn't give him recognition. Saigal get identity with his four Bhajans in film Puran Bhagat in 1933. The songs made sensation in India and brought Saigal into spotlight. Since then Saigal never turned back and went on giving hits.
Saigal later did films Rooplekha, Yahudi Ki Ladki, and Chandidas. His role in film Chandidas received much critical acclaim. Followed by it he gave another hit with P.C. Barua's novel based film Devdas in 1935. The film was based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel titled same as Devdas. He played the role of drunken Devdas in the film, which received much praise for Saigal. Also the songs he sung in the film 'Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi' and 'Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein' became hit numbers.
Saigal in his life acted in 36 movies including Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Tamil film. Besides Hindi, Urdu and Bengali, he also had sung in Punjabi and Persian languages. While along with film songs, he also has rendered his voice for some non-film albums including Ghazals, Bhajans, and Hori. The ace Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was first hesitating to give his songs for a non-Bengali singer Saigal. But Saigal sung the Bengali songs very well and become a beloved of all Bengalis. Saigal had worked in 7 Bengali films in association with New Theatres. His list of Bengali films includes Didi (1937), Saathi (1938), and Zindagi (1940). What moved audiences most about these films were his songs. It's like treasure for Indian music industry.
In 1941, Saigal traveled to Mumbai to work for company Ranjit Movietone. Along with new company he also gave big hits with his voice and acting skills. His hit films includes Bhakt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943). A song 'Diya Jalao' from film Tansen was one of his gems. While in 1944, he went back to Calcutta to complete New Theatres Meri Behen. The films also had hit songs like 'Ae Qatib-e-Taqdeer Mujhe Itna Bata De' and 'Do Naina Matware'.
By the time, his life get influenced by alcohol. Later he was used to record the song only after having some alcohol. The superstar died on January 18, 1947 in his ancestor's city Jalandhar. He died of by the age of 42 only. His last film was Parwana in 1947.
After his death B.N. Sircar done a documentary on his life in 1955 called- Amar Saigal.
Kundan Lal Saigal - Hit Films