Kailash Kher is an Indian playback singer and music composer, he sang songs with a music style influenced by Indian folk music and Sufi music. He was inspired by the classical musicians Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and the Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Kailash Kumar Kher
Kher at the 61st Filmfare Awards South, 2014
|Born||Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India|
|Associated acts||Paresh Kamath|
Kher received the Padma Shri award in 2017 from the Indian government. He has also received two Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer: one for the Bollywood movie Fanaa (2006) and one for the Telugu film Mirchi (2013), along with several other nominations.
Early life and struggle
Kher was born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. His parents, Mehar Chand and Chandrakanta Kher were both from Meerut. Kher's father was an amateur musician whose performances of traditional folk songs were a regular household event. Kher's first brush with music came in his childhood. Brought up in a musical atmosphere, from his school days, he was enchanted and fascinated by music and used to listen to his father's Indian folks songs all day. Even as a four-year-old, Kher displayed natural musical talent and would often impress friends and family by belting out songs with his prematurely powerful voice.
At the age of 14, Kher left home in search of a guru or an institution to further his musical training, and he embarked on years of classical and folk music study. According to him, "it was because I wanted to pursue my passion for music. It required me to stay in isolation". He also attended music classes and would teach students for just ₹150 per session to maintain himself, taking care of all his personal expenses from lodging to food, plus his education and musical expenses. Although he couldn't find the right guru or a school, Kher started learning music by listening to it. He listened to Indian classical singers like Pandit Kumar Gandharv, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Gokulotsav Maharaj, and later even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, and their contemporaries.
He then experimented with a family friend's Indian handicraft export business until 1999. However, when the business collapsed, he became depressed and even attempted suicide in early 1999. He went to Singapore and Thailand, and stayed there for six months.
In 2001, Kher left Delhi for Mumbai, the center of India's highly competitive music industry, as a professional singer. For a while, Kher struggled, living in cheap hostels and doing whatever musical work he could find to make ends meet.
When he moved to Mumbai, he already had a few friends there who were connected to the film industry. He was recommended to musician Ram Sampath, who was looking for a new voice for a jingle for Nakshatra diamonds. Kher would later recall the jingle as one which did not bring instant recognition but fetched him ₹5000, which he needed desperately at the time "just to survive".
Kher's foray continued with him singing jingles for TV and radio commercials, receiving critical acclaim for his unique style of singing. He sang in commercials for big brands such as Coca-Cola, Citibank, Pepsi, IPL and Honda Motor Cycles.
Playback singing and regional singing
Kailash had to struggle to get a chance in Bollywood. He got opportunity to sing a song for the movie Andaaz. In this movie his song "Rabba Ishq Na Hove" became much popular. His song "Allah ke Bande" from the obscure movie Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II became very popular and this song made him a popular singing star in Bollywood.
He sang a number of the songs in the Bollywood film Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he had a cameo appearance. His another famous song is "O Sikander" from Corporate. The song "Teri Deewani" from the album of the same name by his band Kailasa and the song "Ya Rabba" from the movie Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love had record sales.
A. R. Rahman commented-
Kher has a uniquely soulful, raw and high-pitched voice. He sang a number of the songs in the Bollywood flick Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he also had a cameo appearance. His other Bollywood appearances include the movie, Corporate in the song 'O Sikander'.
I remember how I first heard of him. I had asked Mehboob, our lyricist, for a new voice that is earthy and strong, and he said, I have just the person for you. That voice can only be that of Kailash!' And he sent Kailash to meet me. The moment I heard him, I knew that here was a voice that was so wonderful, and which had its own unique space.... I want to say that Kailash Kher's voice has something that had been lacking a lot – it had pure soul! Allah Ke Bande is one of my all time favorite songs.
Vocals and music style
Kher has a raw, soulful, fresh, high-pitched and sharp voice. Unlike others , he mainly sings Ghazal, Sufi, Qawwali, folk and other devotional songs. He has been greatly influenced by the classical singers including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi etc.
He can sing in a wide vocal range from high to low-pitched songs. His songs have been famous for their unique, soulful music and classical lyrics. Kher is the only singer in India, who often includes a classical lyrics and folk language in his solo albums and films. Most of his film or non-film albums include romantic tracks with a touch of classical music, lyrics and traditional languages.
He has given music score's for numerous movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Sacred Evil, Sangini, Desi Kattey etc. He has also penned lyrics in few movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Kaal and Traffic signal .
By 2014, he had sung in more than 20 Indian languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Bengali, Sindhi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Konkani, Rajasthani etc. for Indian films and more than 500 songs for the Hindi film industry and recorded more than one thousand radio and television advertising jingles.
He has also ventured into the Kannada film industry. His hits from Kannada films include the songs "Hale Patre" from the movie Junglee and "Ekka Raaja Raani" from the movie Jackie.
He has composed and sung the title track of Star Plus's serial Diya Aur Baati Hum along with Shubha Mudgal. He has also sung the title track of Colors serial "Udaan" along with the anthem for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the national campaign for cleaning India.
The band's first album, Kailasa, released in March 2006, went on to revive the Indian pop music market. The album was an immediate smash hit.
Their second album, Jhoomo Re, released in May 2007, went on to be an equally smash hit. With songs like "Saiyaan" and "Agad Bamm" touching the right chords with Indian as well as international audiences.
He released his fourth album, Rangeele, which was released by his owned company Kailasa Records in January 2012. This album was widely acclaimed amongst the fans of Kailasa, and was critically acclaimed worldwide.
Kher has also sung a non-filmy Nepali pop song such as "Phool Ko Thunga" and "Bolnai parcha bhanne K cha ra" from the album called Only Love in 2011.
2016 marks the return of Kailash Kher with his brand-new melodies, Ishq Anokha. This album, sel-produced and distributed by SaReGaMa was a chart buster shortly after its launch. Ishq Anokha comprises eight fresh numbers as 'Ishq Anokha', 'O Jogi', 'Meharbani Teri', 'Berukhiyaan', 'Vaari Vaari', 'Guru Ghantal', 'Turiya Turiya' and an electro version of the track 'Vaari Vaari'. The album had to be launched thrice, in 3 different metropolitan cities, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Performances and international concerts
He has not only performed for the south east Asian diaspora, but also for international audiences in festivals and venues such as GlobalFest at New York's Webster Hall, Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Stern Grove Festival (San Francisco), Celebrate Brooklyn, Santa Monica Pier Festival (LA), Fillmore Center (San Francisco), Hollywood Bowl (LA), Hammersmith Apollo (London), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Massey Hall (Toronto).
In 2007, he participated in a concert tour in North America entitled "The Incredibles", also starring Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam and Kunal Ganjawala. In March 2011, Kailasa performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of the Maximum India festival. Kailash Kher performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Television and reality shows
He has appeared in various television shows, including Wind of Change (Bangladesh) (Gaan Bangla), Saregamapa Li'l Champs (Zee TV), Mission Ustaad (9X), Indian Idol 4 (Sony), IPL Rockstar (Colors) and Rock On (MTV). In 2009, Kher appeared in Indian Idol 4 as a judge along with Javed Akhtar, Sonali Bendre and Anu Malik.
In 2013, Kher collaborated with singer Shreya Ghoshal for the first time for a mission titled 'The Project Resound: Upgrade your Ears', in which Kher wrote, composed, and invited Shreya to sing along a song named "Naina Chaar". This online initiative by Sony Music India, aimed to make people aware of the rising technological advancement in the field of music, which may make it difficult to distinguish between noise and music. The project also promoted the use of Sony headphones.
In a series of sting operations carried out by Cobrapost code-named Operation Karaoke, Kailash Kher has been named as one of many celebrities who can be seen agreeing to promote the agenda of parties on social media platforms in exchange for money, on camera.
Kher was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during Indian Me Too movement 2018.
Music for social causes
He lend his voice to the Clean India Mission theme song, ' Swachha Bharat Ka Irada Kar Liya Humne', which is lyriced Prasoon Joshi. Taking forward the Clean India Mission, Mr. Kher visited several places in PM's parliamentary constituency drawing praise from Narendra Modi.
He also composed the song "Ambar Tak Yehi Naam Gunjega" for Anna Hazare anti corruption movement, and sang it in Ramlila Maidan during Anna Hazare protest.
Awards and nominations
Film awards and other honours
|2004||Star Screen Awards||Best Male Playback||Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2||"Allah Ke Bande"||Won|
|Star Guild Awards||Best Male Playback Singer||Nominated|
|2007||Filmfare Awards||Best Male Playback Singer||Fanaa||"Chand Sifarish"||Won|
|2010||GiMA Award||Gima Award for Best Popular Music Album||Chaandan Mein||Solo Album||Won|
|Indian Television Academy Awards||Best Title Song||Tere Liye||"Tere Liye"||Won|
|Indian Telly Awards||Won|
|2011||Zee Rishtey Awards||Favourite Guru-Shisya||Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs||N/A||Nominated|
|2011||Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Kannada||Best Male Playback Singer||Jackie||"Ekka Raja Rani"||Nominated|
|2012||Indian Telly Award||Best Title Singer for a TV Show||Diya Aur Baati Hum||Title Song||Won|
|2013||Nandi Awards||Nandi Award for Best Male Playback Singer||Mirchi||"Pandagala Digivachchavu"||Won|
|2014||Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Telugu||Best Male Playback Singer||Mirchi||"Pandagala Digivacchavu"||Won|
|2015||Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Kannada||Best Male Playback Singer||Un Samayal Arayil||"Ee Janumave Ahaa"||Nominated|
|2011||Nepal Tourism Year Goodwill Ambassdor 2011||Overall Contribution||Won|
|2015||Yash Bharti Award||Excellence in folk and classical music||Won|
|2017||Padma Shri – Fourth Highest Indian National Honour||Art-Music||Won|
|2019||SIIMA Award for Best Male Playback Singer||Bharat Ane Nenu||Nominated|
|2003||Andaaz||"Rabba Ishq Naa Hove"||Nadeem-Shravan||Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik, Sapna Mukherjee|
|2018||Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava||"yeda poyinado"||S. Thaman||Telugu|
|2.0||"Nanhi si jaan"||A.R. Rahman||Hindi|
|The Villain||"Tick Tick Tick"||Arjun Janya||Kannada|
|Bharat Ane Nenu||"Vachaadayyo Saami"||Devi Sri Prasad||Telugu|
|2017||Poster Boys||"Noor E Khuda"||Tanishk Bagchi||Hindi|
|2017||Mersal||"Aalaporaan Tamizhan"||A. R. Rahman||Tamil|
|2017||Baahubali: The Conclusion||"Jay Jaykara"||M.M. Keeravani||Hindi|
|2016||Shivaay||"Tere Naal Ishqa"||Mithoon||Hindi|
|2016||Housefull 3||"Fake Ishq"||Tanishq Bagchi and Abhishek||Hindi|
|2015||Dum Laga Ke Haisha||"Dum Laga Ke Haisha"||Anu Malik||Hindi|
|2015||Baahubali||"Kaun Hai Woh", "Jal Rahin Hain", "Moochile Theeyumaay"||M.M. Keeravani||Hindi, Tamil|
|2015||Muddu Manase||"Neev Kelabardu"||Vineeth Raj Menon||Kannada|
|2015||Gopala Gopala||"Enduko Enduko"||Anoop Rubens||Telugu|
|2014||Un Samayal Arayil||"Indha porappu than"||Ilayaraja||Tamil|
|2014||Aambala||"Madras to Madurai||Hiphop Tamizha||Tamil|
|2014||Galipatam||"Yeh Allah"||Bheems Ceciroleo||Telugu|
|2014||Desi Kattey||"Daagh De"||Himself||Hindi|
|2014||Arundhati||"Joy Joy Ma"||Jeet Ganguly, Saluri Koteswara Rao||Bengali|
|2014||Lakshmi||"Hai Reham Hai Karam"||Tapas Relia||Hindi|
|2014||Kahin Hai Mera Pyar||"Allah Tala"||Ravindra Jain||Hindi|
|2014||Rang Rasiya||"Anhad Naad"||Sandesh Sandilya||Hindi|
|2013||Bombay Talkies||"Bombay Talkies (Duet Version)"||Amit Trivedi||Hindi|
|2013||Mirchi||"Pandagala digi vachavu"||Devi Sri Prasad||Telugu|
|2012||Chingari||"Baare Baare"||V. Harikrishna||Kannada|
|2012||Nuvva Nena||"Vayyari Blackberry"||Bheems Ceciroleo||Telugu|
|2012||Kya Super Kool Hain Hum||"Shirt Da Button"||Meet Bros Anjjan||Hindi|
|2012||The Real Life of Mandi||Hindi|
|2012||Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya||"Fan Bann Gayi"||Sachin-Jigar||Hindi|
|2012||Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai||"The Title Song"||Anu Malik||Hindi|
|2011||Rajanna||"Karakuraathi Gundello"||M.M. Keeravani||Telugu|
|2011||Love Mein Ghum||"Sohniye Yaadan"||Ravi Bal||Urdu|
|2011||Bombay March 12||Malayalam|
|2012||Sidlingu||"Chombo chombu"||Anoop Seelin||Kannada|
|2012||Thoo Nan Makla||"Aarakshaka"||Kannada|
|2010||Jackie||"Ekka Raaja Raani, Nanna kaiyolage"||V. Harikrishna||Kannada|
|2010||Krishnan Love Story||"Mosa maadalende neenu bandeyaa"||Kannada|
|2010||Naanu Nanna Kanasu||Ondu Maamara||Hamsalekha||Kannada|
|2010||Paathshaala||Aye khuda||Hanif Sheikh||Hindi|
|2010||Love Sex aur Dhokha||"Tu Gandi", "Tainu TV Per Wekhya", "Naa Batati Tu", "Love Sex aur Dhokha", "Tauba Tauba (Remix)"||Sneha Khanwalkar||Hindi|
|2010||Karthik Calling Karthik||"Kaisi Hai Yeh Udashi Chayi"||Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy||Hindi|
|2010||Phas Gaye Re Obama||"Sara Pyaar Hai Bekaar"||Manish J. Tipu||Hindi|
|2009||Live From Stern Grove Festival: 2009||"Tauba Tauba"||English|
|2009||Couples Retreat||"Salvadore"||A.R. Rahman||English|
|2009||Parichaya||"O Nanna Olave"||Kannada|
|2009||Aakashamantha||"Chinnamma Kalyanam", "Okanoka Vurilo"||Vidyasagar||Telugu|
|2009||Junglee||"Hale Patre Hale Kabbuna"||V. Harikrishna||Kannada|
|2009||Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani||"Tu Jaane Naa (Unplugged Version)"||Pritam||Hindi|
|2009||Chandni Chowk to China||"S.I.D.H.U., Chak Lein De"||Himself||Hindi|
|2009||Radio||"Damadji Angana Hai Padhare"||Himesh Reshammiya||Hindi|
|2008||Abhiyum Naanum||"Ore Oru Oarrilae"||Vidyasagar||Tamil|
|2008||Wafa: A Deadly Love Story||"Tu Hai Shola"||Ravi Pawar, Sayed Ahmed||Hindi|
|2008||Thodi Life Thoda Magic||"Tune Kahi Aur Maine Maani"||Hindi|
|2007||"Chnada Kane Chanda, Chanda"||Kannada|
|2007||"Jana O Jana, Sajni"||Kannada|
|2007||Preethi Yake Bhoomi Melidhe||Kannada|
|2008||Kurukshetra||"Chalo Chalo Jawan"||Siddharth Vipin||Malayalam|
|2008||Dhaam Dhoom||"Uyyaalalo Uyyaalalo"||Harris Jayaraj||Tamil|
|2008||Kathanayakudu||"Ra Ra Ra Ramayanna"||G.V. Prakash Kumar||Telugu|
|2008||Bheemaa||"Rangu Rangamma"||Harris Jayaraj||Tamil|
|2008||1920||"Tujhe Main Pyaar Karu"||Adnan Sami||Hindi|
|2007||Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love||"Ya Rabba"||Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy||Hindi|
|2007||Bal Ganesha||"Shiv Shankar Kaa Damroo Baje"||Hindi|
|2007||Aaja Nachle||"Show Me Your Jalwa"||Salim-Sulaiman||Hindi|
|2007||"Humne Jeena Seekh Liya"||Hindi|
|2007||Manorama Six Feet Under||"Dhundla jo Samaa Bandh"||Jayesh Gandhi, Raiomond Mirza||Hindi|
|2007||Delhii Heights||Rabbi Shergill||Hindi|
|2007||1971||"Kaal Ke Antim Palon Tak", "Sada Bhangra Paun Nu"||Akash Sagar||Hindi|
|2007||Tumaku Paruni Ta Bhuli||"Na Na Nare Jibana Dau Sadhena"||Kailash kher||Odia|
|2006||With Luv... Tumhaara||Hindi|
|2006||Keerthi Chakra||"Khuda Se Mannath"||Joshua Sridhar||Malayalam|
|2006||Krishna||"Krishna Kaal"||Bapi-Tutul, Rajendra Shiv||Hindi|
|2006||Corporate||"O Sikander"||Shamir Tandon||Hindi|
|2006||Khosla Ka Ghosla||"Chak De Phattey!"||Dhruv Dhalla||Hindi|
|2006||Veyil||"Veyilodu Velaiyadi"||G.V. Prakash Kumar||Tamil|
|2006||Sajni||"Jaana O Jaana"||A.R. Rahman||Kannada|
|2006||Aap Ki Khatir||"Meethi Meethi Batan"||Himesh Reshammiya||Hindi|
|2006||Alag||"Apun kee Toli Bindaasht Boli"||Aadesh Shrivastava||Hindi|
|2006||Zinda||"Chal Rahi Hai Saasein"||Vishal-Shekhar||Hindi|
|2005||Dosti||"Ishq Naa Ishq Ho"||Nadeem-Shravan||Hindi|
|2005||Ek Ajnabee||"Barf Khushi Hai"||Vishal-Shekhar||Hindi|
|2005||Kyon Ki||"Jhatka Maare"||Himesh Reshammiya||Hindi|
|2005||Hanuman||"The Title song"||Tapas Relia||Hindi|
|2005||Barsaat||"Saajan Saajan Saajan"||Nadeem-Shravan||Hindi|
|2005||Mangal Pandey: The Rising||"Mangal Mangal", "Al Maddath Maula", "Takey Takey"||A.R. Rahman||Hindi|
|2005||Sarkar||"Govinda", "Mujhe Jo Sahi Lagta Hai", "Sam Dam Bhed", "Shaher Shaher Ke Hazaar Sawal"||Bapi-Tutul||Hindi|
|2005||Silsiilay||"Meri Chaandi Tu"||Himesh Reshammiya||Hindi|
|2005||Kaal||"Aakhiyaan Teriya Ve"||Salim-Sulaiman||Hindi|
|2005||Waqt: The Race Against Time||"Toot Gaya Dil"||Anu Malik||Hindi|
|2005||Tango Charlie||"Akkad Te Bakkad Te"||Anand Raj Anand, Anu Malik||Hindi|
|2005||Kisna: The Warrior Poet||"Gaa Tu Aisi Dhun Mein Gaa"||Ismail Darbar||Hindi|
|2005||Vaada||"Ud Ud Jaaye"||Himesh Reshammiya||Hindi|
|2004||Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo||"Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo", "Kurti Mal Mal Di"||Anu Malik||Hindi|
|2004||Swades||"Yun Hi Chala Chal Raahi"||A.R. Rahman||Hindi|
|2004||Deewaar||"Piya Bawri"||Aadesh Shrivastav||Hindi|
|2004||Khakee||"Mere Maula"||Ram Sampath||Hindi|
|2003||Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II||"Allah Ke Bande"||Vishal-Shekhar||Hindi|
Moochile - Bahubali, Ore oru oorile - Abium nanum
|2014||Comedy Nights with Kapil||Special appearance in the occasion of holi celebrations||Colors|
|2005||Kaal||"Aankhiyaan Teriya Ve"|
|2007||Traffic Signal||All Songs|
|2009||Chandni Chowk To China||"S.I.D.H.U., Chak Lein De"|
|2005||Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!|
|2006||Sacred Evil - A True Story|
|2007||Fool N Final|
|2007||Good Boy Bad Boy|
|2009||Chandni Chowk To China|
|2009||Sangini- Perfect Bride|
|2009||Aa Dekhen Zara|
|2009||Dil Bole Hadippa|
Solo albums and compilations
|2007||Jhoomo Re||With "Saiyaan" receiving critical acclaim as his best song ever|
|2009||Chaandan Mein||GiMA Award for Best Popular Album|
|Yatra: The Nomadic Souls|
|2011||Only Love||Nepali Album|
|2013||Naina Chaar||Collaboration with Shreya Ghoshal|
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