Method in Madness

Method in Madness

A Story by Talal Hussain

A story of a bengali boy who aspires to be the number one singer of the sub-continent but his journey isnt that simple,the biggest obstacle being his comparison to his elder brother.



                            Method in Madness


 “Oh, Kishore is doing well but Ashok was a class apart.” These were the words that had started to haunt Kishore. He always wondered why he was compared to his elder brother Ashok. It was true that Ashok had accomplished a lot at a very young age and Kishore always had best wishes for his brother but Kishore wanted to make his own name, his own identity.

Kishore was born into the Bengali Ganguly family on 4th August,1929 in India. Kishore Abhas Kumar was the youngest of the four siblings, the other being Ashok, Sati devi and Anoop. Kishore’s father was a lawyer and was very close to Kishore. Unlike the conventional lawyers, Mr. Ganguly had a great sense of humor. The whole court, including the accused, would laugh at his spontaneous jokes. Perhaps this is from where Kishore got his great comedy sense. As a kid Kishore would wander around here and there, play in the streets with his sister and with his practical jokes,  would prove to be a source of nuisance for the whole society. But there also was a philosophical aspect of Kishore’s personality. Often he would spend hours besides the railway track and watch the train whistle by. He would bring an old cassette player along with him, which was gifted to him by his late grandmother, and would listen to K.L Saigal’s classical songs.

Kishore chasing the train is his childhood



 After graduating from college, Kishore’s elder brother Ashok moved to Bombay and made an entrance into the Indian film Industry. With his natural style of acting and charming looks, he soon became a prominent figure in the Indian cinema.  At that time there was a tradition that actors used to playback for themselves, so Ashok started singing and he was good at that too. Back at home in Bengal, Kishore felt very proud of his brother. He always had a dream to sing and to entertain people but whenever he tried, he was discouraged by the saying, “You sing well but not as good as Ashok.”

 Kishore was never a good student. He would barely pass his exams. He always said, “Teachers ask me questions that I don’t know so I give them answers that they don’t.”  Sensing the situation Ashok called his younger brother to Bombay and through his contacts, got him some movies. But Kishore never wanted to act, he always wanted to sing, as he considered acting to be fake and superficial. Singing came right from the core of the heart, it was rich and beautiful. He tried everything he could to escape from the film industry. He once came to the sets with his moustache and head half shaved and on questioning told that as he was paid half the advance he was supposed to be paid, so the director will get a Kishore Kumar half of what he was supposed to get. On one occasion when shooting in Bombay he had to park a car at a nearby stop, as the director said action Kishore drove the car and took it to his home town in Bengal only to return after two days. On questioning he told that the Director said action but he never said cut !! 

The biggest irony was that despite all his efforts, Kishore’s movies were doing great at the box office. Now like his elder brother Kishore himself was a star. Finally his dreams came true when he was given a chance to sing and playback for himself. Kishore did not disappoint. Kishore’s freestyle and flamboyant singing rocked the world but there was still an issue. Kishore was only getting comedy movies and his persona was that of a clown who could sing and dance a little. This image led to the downfall of Kishore. No one took him serious. Suddenly his movies started to go down the drain. People who used to be all around Kishore in his glory days where nowhere to be seen. Kishore was all alone, fighting a battle he had already lost.


Kishore in a pensive mood


Kishore was shocked to see the selfish attitude of people. People, whom he had worked with, whom he had entertained, had all forgotten him. His heart was broken. This led Kishore away from people and closer and closer to nature. He remembered as a child when he was upset, he used to sit beside the railway track and listen to the sound of the train’s whistle. That chirping of the birds, that blossoming of the flowers, childhood was so amazing, he said to himself.

News spread out in Bombay that Kishore had lost it. Kishore was getting more and more eccentric. He started to hate people. Did not socialize at all and had a sign board planted in front of his house saying, “Beware of dogs and Kishore. “ All these events were making him firmer and sterner. His voice was getting more and more deep. Kishore was definitely no more a clown.

Then in the early 70’s a new actor was establishing himself at the mainstream cinema. His name was Rajesh Khanna. Rajesh had a very unorthodox style of acting and if there was anyone in the world who could be his voice, it was Kishore Kumar. Kishore sang for Rajesh in the movie Aradhana and what happened next is now a part of history. The skillful acting of Rajesh and the melodious voice of Kishore struck the sub-continent. Indian cinema had never seen such a turnout for a movie ever before. Kishore was number one once again and this supremacy would continue for the next 20 years, till his sudden death on 13th October,1987. Kishore's departure has created such a gap in the indian cinema which no other artist has been able to fill.Now people know Ashok kumar as the brother of the Maestro Kishore. No wonder Kishore was mad but he had a method in madness…

© 2013 Talal Hussain

Author's Note

Talal Hussain
This is only my second writing so please ignore any grammatical errors.. The style of writing is highly influenced by screenplay techniques used by Satyajeet Ray. Hope you people will like it.

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Featured Review

I love it. I can't help but wonder with all of the pictures, could this be a true story? You are a true story teller. At times the flow was stopped when you time skipped to progress the story but it is overshadowed by the great skill you have! I can understand the sibling rivalry at the beginning and a lot of people connect with that, you really made me root for Kishore! I was really glad when he got a happy ending. Awesome Job! :D

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Talal Hussain

8 Years Ago

Thank you so much Imara...Yes its a true story...Glad you liked it :-)

8 Years Ago

Wow! I am going to go find his music now :)

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Good story. I love a happy ending !!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Wow Bro!
This piece is too good to just be a 'second writing!'
The chronological lining of events in your work is appkaudable..with flashbacks here and there act as salt to an already salacious meal.
Keep it up!
Ever forward with the pen!

Posted 8 Years Ago

An interesting, enjoyable read

Posted 8 Years Ago

I live in Vancouver, Canada and have a little bit of a connection to Bollywood style films. They even had their awards ceremony here this year. This is a beautiful tale, of two brothers both successful, albeit with an inevitable reversal of levels of fame. There are some really, messy parts in the text that are a little hard to follow(flow) but it doesn't effect the overall message. One example is this portion, "He once came to the sets with his moustache and head half shaved and on questioning told that as he was paid half the advance he was supposed to be paid, so the director will get a Kishore Kumar half of what he was supposed to get." I think it could be cut up, to make this more clear. Something like, "One day he came to the set with half his head and mustache shaved bare. When the studio questioned him why he had done this, he replied, "If I am only getting paid half the advance I was promised, then the studio shall get half a Kishore." Also, while reading, I came upon this and was a bit confused, "At that time there was a tradition that actors used to playback for themselves, so Ashok started singing and he was good at that too." The action to, "playback for themselves" is foreign, or inappropriately stated. What does this mean? Apart from any of these criticisms, I really like your tale, and it even has a great moral, of if you want something bad enough, and you try, you just might succeed. Or also, don't believe what others tell you, believe in yourself. Good write.

Posted 8 Years Ago

An exciting very well-written story, I enjoyed reading it!

Posted 8 Years Ago

I loved it too! Fascinating reading and very well written. What a wonderful story and what true legends these two brothers were.

I am simply fascinated with India, such a vibrant and remarkable place. I would love to travel there one day!

Keep writing my dost, you are a very good writer! Top marks.

Thank you for submitting this to my contest.

Helena :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is excellent Talal...a terrific write...I may have made the last sentence a little more dramatic, fro example...No wonder Kishore was angry (people get angry , dogs get mad)...but there was always a method to his madness. What I really liked about this write was the imagery I felt throughout...Each paragraph was concise, explicit and extremely descriptive and led flawlessly and seamlessly into the next.
I kept thinking, while reading that this might be an intro or the first chapter of the book, you know like "This is the story of those two brothers...or...this is a book of two men who changing the landscape of Cinema....or something likt that...Anyway...You packaged the story and tied it up nicely as an informative, colorful short story....which is so hard to do. Kudos Talal.
However, and I'm a strong believer in this Talal, and I'm sure you want honesty...
I don't care if this is your 1st write or 100th write...It is your work and you are posting it for all to read...why do we have to excuse or ignore any errors. Every computer I know has spell and grammar check, so there really is no reason to have any of those kind of mistakes. It's like the Judge telling the Jury to disregard those last remarks.
Personally, I didn't see many, but you really shouldn't ask us to ignore something you can fix. This is kind of a pet peeve of mind....not the mistakes, we all make mistakes, but asking me to ignore them....I can't.
Now that that's off my chest....I loved the write Talal.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Hi this was an enjoyable read, thank you.
Grammar totally OK.... some idioms, however, are not constructed correctly.
Like Kishore himself his madness was unique. This is true for everyone who is eccentric, nutty, crackers, loopy or odd-ball.... to this end ....... and to the end of your interesting piece.... Kishore should have method in his madness not a method in madness.
I am listening to KK as I write this... thank you for introducing him to me.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A very good piece of write. I loved how you tied the ending of this story with the title of piece. Very good flow, continue writing you are quite good. ^-^

Posted 8 Years Ago

This is a legendary story of a great musician. Really well written mate, good job!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Talal Hussain

8 Years Ago

Thanks...he really is a legend :-)

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60 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on April 24, 2013
Last Updated on April 26, 2013
Tags: short story, inspirational, cinema, singing, music, personality, life, india


Talal Hussain
Talal Hussain

Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

I am a 22 yr old medical student..though not a traditional writer, I write what i feel with words coming from my heart...i think if words are given the right path they can penetrate deeper than sword... more..


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