Google today, celebrates India’s first superstar, KL Saigal also known as Kundanlal Saigal’s 114th birth anniversary with a doodle. Saigal was born on April 11, 1904 in Jammu. The doodle shows the legendary man singing in the backdrop of a pre-independence era. He acted in films at a time when the movie industry was based in Kolkata. His style of singing is said to have inspired legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, and Mukesh before they made their mark in the film industry with their signature styles.
KL Saigal left an unforgettable mark in the early days of Indian cinema, establishing himself as one of the first true Bollywood superstars with 36 films spanning three languages over fifteen years. Singing 185 songs over his career, Saigal’s distinct vocal style helped establish his legacy as an inspirational figure for many stars that came after him.
His big break came in 1932 when he was cast in three movies by the film studio New Theatres. The very next year, the songs he sang in the film Puran Bhagat (1933) grew wildly popular in India, breaking him to the mainstream. New Theatres churned out Saigal-led hits through 1940, when he moved to Mumbai to work with Ranjit Movietone. After successful movies like Bhukt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943), Saigal returned to New Theatres for his final films. His final film Parwana (1947) was released post his death.
The superstar passed away at the age of 42 on January 18, 1947, at his ancestral city of Jalandhar. Following his death, in 1955, BN Sircar released a documentary film based on the life of KL Saigal, Amar Saigal.
Today’s doodle is designed by Vidhya Nagarajan, showing Saigal’s illustrious career with a portrait of the singer doing what he does best.