“People around me have always used to say that I have been lucky. Being a playback artist in cinema at my early youth, getting the opportunity to work alongside legendary music maestros like Subir Nandi-R D Burman-Runa Laila-Alam Khan-Sabina Yasmin-Syed Abdul Hadi and more, winning National Awards at very early stages of my career - all these things acknowledge the fact that I have been indeed very lucky. However, the mutual sense of satisfaction between music director and film director at the recording studio after completing a song - that amuses me more, than winning fame and awards.”
An iconic voice with the success of receiving Bangladesh National Film Award for being the Best Male Playback Singer for eight times, still a record unbroken in the country. A man with fewer words and more heart-touching, melodious and technically resonant scores in Bangla cinema which crowned his legacy as the ‘King of Playback’. An artist with aesthetics who has been loved by almost everyone in his beloved motherland for singing tracks like ‘Jiboner Golpo, Achhe Baki Olpo’, ‘Amar Buker Moddhe Khane’, ‘Dak Diyachhen Doyal Amare’, ‘Hayre Manush Rongin Fanush’, ‘Amar Shara Deho Kheyo Go Mati’, ‘Amar Babar Mukhe Prothom Jedin Shunechilam Gaan’, ‘Bhengeche Pinjor Meleche Dana’, ‘Bhalobese Gelam Shudhu’, ‘Shobai To Bhalobasha Chae’ and more. An Andrew Kishore, is absolutely someone - who is and ever will forever be irreplaceable in Bangladesh.
Ever since the news broke out of his departure on July 6, 2020, at the age of 64 - the entire nation felt the shockwave of losing a very dearest voice of its own. Rightfully earned the crown as the ‘King of Playback’ with singing 15,000 songs in his legendary career - Andrew Kishore had always been a devoted and extremely professional singer who successfully connected his audiences with the lyrics and cinematic visions projected on the reels. After his long, tiring battle with cancer from months - the beloved Andrew Kishore came back to his motherland on June 11 as part of fulfilling his last wish - to be laid in his motherland for the eternal rest.
Upon hearing the news of his demise, many celebrities and peers expressed their heartiest condolences and reminisced fond memories of him. He worked with superstars from generation to generation in the film industry - from voicing Anwar Hossain in ‘Hayre Manush, Rongin Fanush’ to voicing Dhallywood’s most successful actor in recent times, Shakib Khan - Kishore worked with everyone at the same yet profound pace. Thus, all superstars from all spheres shared their thoughts and memories with the legendary singer upon hearing his saddest news for the Bangladeshi music industry in recent times.
Shakib Khan, Dhallywood’ most celebrated superstar in recent years who worked with Kishore in most of his movies, wrote on his verified Facebook page - “Bangladesh just has lost another legendary voice, with the death of our ‘King of Playback’ Andrew Kishore. This is such irreparable damage and loss for the country. Stay blessed wherever you are, the master voice of romantic songs. I am deeply sad and devastated.” Legendary actress Subarna Mostafa, who worked with Kishore in films like ‘Noyoner Alo’ in which Kishore sang ‘Amar Buker Moddhekhane’, wrote - "Goodbye Andrew Kishore, 'The king of playback'. Rest in peace dada... We will meet again… It is just a matter of time."
One of Kishore’s most intimate friends till his last days and one of the most acclaimed television content creators of Bangladesh, Hanif Sanket is known for his immensely popular magazine programme ‘Ittyadi’ - and was very close to Kishore in both his active and critical days. He was the one who brought back Andrew Kishore on television in 1999, after 15 years of hiatus from television to perform for ‘Ittyadi’ - the same show where Kishore appeared in his last-ever televised performance. Hanif Sanket could not resist but remembered his friend over professional relationship on his Facebook post, upon hearing the sad news - “Andrew Kishore is no more, and I never imagined that I have to write this about my dearest friend this soon. His last words are still buzzing on my ears - “pray for me, dear friend - so that I can survive this unbearable pain”. Soon after that, his situation started to get worsen and I was frequently contacting his family in Rajshahi to know his updates. This is a heartbreaking day in the history of our music industry and I am devastated - I never thought you would leave us this soon, my friend. I pray for Kishore’s eternal peace.”
Kumar Bishwajit, another legendary playback singer of the country who performed with Kishore on many occasions, wrote on Facebook - “Gifted singers like Andrew Kishore does not come frequently in this world. His departure is just an unimaginable loss for our industry that cannot be repaired ever again. I personally lost not only a colleague but a brother who cared for me. I sincerely cherish the utmost peace of his soul and deep condolence to his family.” Another eminent singer from the same generation, Tapan Chowdhury wrote in his Facebook post - “Kishore da departed. We share thousands of memories together. Hope you will remain in eternal peace in the afterlife, dada.”
From Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and almost every other political leaders, to noted film and television directors, actors, music artists, band artists of past and present generations and people from all spheres - everyone expressed their utmost condolence and shared fond memories of the legendary singer since receiving the news of his demise. Politicians, eminent personalities have expressed their deepest condolence regarding this legendary singer in their statements. Nobel Laureate and Chairman of Grameen Communications Dr Muhammad Yunus expressed deep shock and sorrow, with describing him as the industry’s most decorated singer and a great talent. “He was an extremely humble person who happened to believe that his biggest achievement was love from people, more than his awards.” This actually shows how he touched everyone’s soul through his blissfully melodic voice.
Born to Khitish Chandra Baroi and Minu Baroi on November 4, 1955 at Rajshahi in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), Kishore had two siblings - Dr. Shikha Biswas and Peter Swapon Kumar Baroi. A Christian by birth, Kishore completed his Master of Commerce in Management from Rajshahi University in 1977. At the age of six, Kishore started taking music lessons from Abdul Aziz Bachchu, who was the chief music director of Rajshahi Betar at that time - and Kishore got his break via participating in a talent hunt project organized in Dhaka by Shahidul Islam, the then director of the Transcription Service of Bangladesh Betar. Recognizing his talent, Bangladesh Betar (formerly known as Radio Bangladesh) enlisted Kishore as a singer in categories of modern, folk, patriotic, Nazrul, and Tagore songs.
As a promising playback singer, Andrew Kishore debuted with the film ‘Mail Train (1977)’. His first playback song was ‘Ochinpurer Rajkumari Nei Je Tar Keu’, composed by Saley Alam Khan. He earned critical acclaim for the song ‘Ek Chor Jay Chole’ composed by Alam Khan in ‘Protigga’ (1979) - after which, Kishore never had to look back in his successful music career. This has been reflected in later years for sure - as he won Bangladesh National Film Award eight times as the ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ for ‘Boro Bhalo Lok Chhilo’ (1982), ‘Surrender’ (1987), ‘Khotipuron’ (1989), ‘Padma Meghna Jamuna’ (1991), ‘Kabul’ (1996), ‘Aaj Gaye Holud’ (2000), ‘Saajghor’ (2007) and ‘Ki Jadu Korila’ (2008); alongside five prestigious Bachsas Awards and three Meril-Prothom Alo Awards, just to name a few.
Being a prolific singer with a versatile career, Andrew Kishore also tried to inspire new generation singers through platforms like ‘Bangladeshi Idol’ as a judge, or as an inspiring promoter behind talents like Momin Biswas - his longtime acquaintance who stood beside him from his entire journey and battle with cancer till his last days. Noted singers like Sabina Yasmin, Syed Abdul Hadi and others have desperately tried to assist Kishore fighting his battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but destiny nixed all the efforts, thus the singer had to bid farewell to his family, friends and billions of devoted fans. From decades, Andrew Kishore delivered his absolute best for the Bangladeshi music industry where he cemented his legacy - and nation will remember him as one of the greatest of all times.