Remembering singer KK | Filmfare.com
Krishnakumar Kunnath, affectionately known by his stage name KK around the world, was a versatile singer with romantic songs as his forte. Songs like Khuda jaane, Tu hi meri shab hai, Aankhon mein teri, Zindagi do pal ki, Tu ashiqui hai, Tadap tadap ke, Aawarapan banjarapan made millions of hearts beat faster and stayed in the hearts of the audience forever.
He was born on August 23, 1968. After graduating from Delhi, he started his own rock band. He had to work part-time in the hotel industry in the marketing department to earn a living. As a creative he found the job stifling and some time later left to start working for the advertising industry, where he sang 3500 jingles in 11 different languages. His wife Jyoti, along with his mentor Hariharan, were instrumental in his success. They always encouraged him to try his luck on the reading circuit. Hariharan heard him sing at the Meridian hotel in Delhi and asked him to come to Mumbai and try his hand at singing in movies. It was around this time that Sony music was launched in India and they were looking for a vocalist. They chose KK and came out with an album called Pal which did well. KK then sang for AR Rahman in Sapne (Strawberry aankhein) and some Tamil and Telugu songs as well. He slowly made a name for himself and made himself known in musical circles. He rose to fame when composer Ismail Darbar gifted him Tadap tadap ke de Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
In 1999, he launched his first album entitled Pal. The songs Pal and Yaaron from the album became extremely famous and are even remembered today. In 2008, KK released their second album Humsafar after an eight-year gap. The songs Aasman ke, Dekho na, Yeh kahan mil gaye hum and Rain bhai kaari became popular after its release. The album had 10 tracks of which eight were composed by him.
Apart from movies, KK has also sung for many TV series like Just Mohabbat, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Kuch Jhuki Si Palkein, Hip Hip Hurray, Kkavyanjali and Just Dance. Although he stayed away from reality shows, he was part of Fame Gurukul and Indian Idol junior. He sang extensively for popular shows like Coke Studio, where his rendition of the qawwali hit Chadta suraj with the Sabri brothers became famous. He often sang for MTV Unplugged and Sony Mix as well.
He was born to Malayali parents CS Menon and Kunnath Kanakavalli in Delhi and went to Mount St Mary’s School in Delhi and graduated from Kirori Mal College. He grew up listening to Malayali songs and also Hindi movie songs and used to hum along with them. He used to sing in school and college and was popular due to his naturally gifted voice. He married his childhood sweetheart Jyothy Krishna in 1991. He has a son called Nakul Krishna Kunnath and a daughter Tamara Kunnath from the marriage.
The reluctant singer, who always shunned publicity, was a household name on the show circuit. He has toured extensively across India and abroad and performed to sold out venues. On May 31, he was performing at the Sir Gurudas Mahavidyalaya Festival in Nazrul Mancha, Kolkata and complained of chest pain while returning to the hotel after his performance. He suffered severe cardiac arrest and was rushed to CMRI Hospital in Kolkata from his hotel, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was only 53 years old and is survived by his wife and children.