Death is the beginning of the end, which brings new possibilities unknown to the living. Krishnakumar Kunnath, whose stage name was KK, died after a live performance in Kolkata. The 90s kids today are reliving the moment they fell in love with KK. There are rockstars, and pop artists around the world who created their own fan base, the fans would die for them. It was something else with KK. His fans wouldn’t die for him, maybe not even worship him in a manner, but Krishnakumar Kunnath helped a generation live when they were tired of living.
Our discussion today is merely a sincere effort of thanksgiving to the man who will be remembered for his contribution to the field of art. An artist dies, and the world remembers his works. This is the greatness an artist can create. An artist of his stature has created a universe of his own, where he could recreate time into a never-ending loop, where romance could be a summation of pain and joy. Today, let’s revisit the memory lane from the very beginning when KK happened to us.
Although A.R. Rahman first introduced KK to the world of playback singing, before that he sang 3,500 jingles in 11 different languages. KK’s Bollywood debut is one of the most smashing one to date. Little did we know that his leap from ‘Tadap Tadap’ in 1999 would introduce us to the magic that would keep us intact for more than two decades. We all knew that there was someone who was different from the other orthodox singers of that period.
When we talk about that period, we must mention a few names like Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Adnan Sami, and, of course, Atif Aslam. Creating a brand of his own amidst the names that are mentioned here, we can already assume how tough the job was. Even so, KK released his second album in the year 2008, which is actually 8 years after he released his first album. A gap this long can bring big names down, but his name came up stronger than ever.
2008 was the year when the magic of KK spread through the lanes eternally. From this time, the songs like ‘Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai’, ‘Zara Sa’, ‘Aankhon Mein Teri’, ‘Zindagi Do Pal Ki’, etc. These songs were not some random songs like today, that you listen to on YouTube and then forget about. These songs lived with us, every moment while texting our lovers, arguing with them, breaking up with them, every time an emotional turmoil popped up, we went on listening to KK.
Why do we love him so much? Why is KK loved mostly by the 90s kids? Well, let me tell you something. If you are a 90s kid, you know how hard it was to download your favorite song. You would wait for your dad to come home from work. In a middle class family, only dads had access to the internet all day, and the funniest part was, most of the time he didn’t even know about it. So, when dad used to return from work, we grabbed his phone, turned on the internet, and started downloading the songs we heard all day on the television.
90s kids had a fear of a unique kind, which, of course, modern-day kids cannot relate to. We literally had to think about data. But, after all these hassles, when you get your SD card filled with the songs, and in an afternoon filled with boredom, your ears are filled with ‘Dil Kyun Yeh Mera Shor Kare’, and then a 90s kid will validate his hard work as the incentive was always worth the effort.
The phenomenon was witnessed in the year 2008, when the 90s kids were hitting their puberty. If you take a 14-year-old, his urge to know the opposite sex grows stronger than ever, and right at that point, a melodious voice sings in your ear, “Aankhon Mein Teri Azab Si Adaayein He”. That boy is looking at a girl for the first time, the song playing inside his head. He is picturing Shah Rukh Khan getting hammered by the glimpse of Deepika Padukone, and to add onto the drama, it is heavily raining outside. Now tell me, how can that kid ever forget that moment?
This is what KK brought to us, to the 90s kids. Whenever we felt alone, there was this guy, tearing through the barriers of despair and right in the middle of the heart stabbing with his voice. That stab relieved so much pain, so much empathy that it can not be described through words. KK was the damnation to our doomsday, the Michelangelo to our Moses.
As Papon said after hearing about the demise of this great man, his songs will live with us forever. There are great singers, but there are also singers who move something inside the listeners as well. Krishnakumar Kunnath was someone who showed us how to live our lives to the fullest. The compassion he could bring through his performance was something beyond circumstantial. Some artists live long, and some live through their works, but KK will live through a whole generation. And that is not easily attainable.
In 1999, ‘Pal’ was released. It was KK’s first album. ‘Pal’ means a “moment”. What was KK’s best ‘pal’ in his journey so far? In many interviews, he said music was his lifeline. Well, he left the stage, leaving a great ‘pal’ for those audiences who witnessed the last ever performance by KK. It was an honor not only for the 90s kids but whoever loved this man the way he should be loved.
There will be a pain in knowing that the man isn’t there anymore, but still a hint of joy will remain whenever we remember him through his legacy, his songs. There are times when remembering is much more blissful than knowing. Thank you, Krishnakumar Kunnath, for leaving behind the Patronus charm forever.
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