'KK had an emotional bandwidth which echoed all the seasons of the heart.'
Mahesh Bhatt and KK were a hit jodi.
Their collaboration produced several chartbusters in films like Gangster, Rog, Woh Lamhe, Jism, Jism 2, Jannat, Tum Mile, Sadak 2.
Today, the pain of loss, so unexpected and unforeseen, is rooted in a deep understanding of the man and singer.
"KK had an emotional bandwidth which echoed all the seasons of the heart. He could be frivolous, romantic and anguished. He could go into the depths, talk about the wonder and magic of life," Bhattsaab tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya.
In a small landscape, when a big person passes away, it is tragic.
And KK was big... He was large...
You can't restrict a talent like him to a particular banner or a particular project.
He touched the polarities of emotion, from the angst-ridden tunes of Awarapan Banjarapan, which he sang for Pooja's (producer-daughter Pooja Bhatt) Jism to Maine Dil Se Kaha in Rog, which was Irrfan Khan's foray as a hero in Hindi cinema.
The last time I worked with KK was in Sadak 2.
Ironically, when I learnt that he had passed away, my memory flashed back to that recording with Jeet Gannguli and the lyrics of Shukriya.
'Milna bichadna, aana jaana,
Tai hai sab kuch pehle se,
Pyaar bhare pal baand ke rakh le,
Baaki sab kuch rehne de,
Kuch nahin hath aayega yahan,
Phir bhi aye zindagi tera shukriya
Alvida rehna tu khush sada
Shayad miloon na main kal ki subah.'
It is strange, I've been recording for my audio book, and when I entered the studio today, the absence of KK from this planet was deeply felt.
KK had an emotional bandwidth which echoed all the seasons of the heart.
He could be frivolous, romantic and anguished.
He could go into the depths, talk about the wonder and magic of life.
And this came from a rare ability to look at that aspect of life, which entertainers don't normally like to confront.
But if you don't understand this part of human experience, you can't possibly sing like him.
You might get the tune and words right, but you won't be able to put yourself into the song unless you have lived it.
He was responsible for Emraan Hashmi's phenomenal success in the early years of this century.
Emraan's rise couldn't be possible without KK's extraordinary songs.
Any superstar, whether it was Rajesh Khanna in the '70s or Shah Rukh Khan in the '90s, have had the formidable support of great music. And great music needs a great singer, it needs a great voice.
Maine dil se kaha at dawn
I got the news of KK's loss at the break of dawn. And strangely it came from the slums of Dharavi.
A social worker, who lives there, sent me a clip of KK's face with the soundtrack of Maine dil se kaha, dhoond laana khushi nasamjh laya ghum, to yeh ghum hi sahi with the message, 'KK is no more, but his voice haunts us.'
That was how the news was conveyed to me, even before the sun rose.
Ironically, the person who sang the song, and the one on whom it was picturised (Irrfan Khan), are both no more.
I will never forget how KK staggered us during the recording of Awarapan, banjarapan, ek khala hai seene mein, har dam, har pal bechaini hai, kaun bhala hai seene mein.
He infused new life into these words brilliantly penned by Sayeed Quadri.
Of course, it was an extraordinary tune, composed by M M Kreem.
But a song only becomes memorable through the actor's body and is routed through the emotional realms of a singer.
Was he good enough?
Awarapan Banjarapan was a long song, and the angst of John Abraham's character Kabir Lal -- a good-looking, desirable man with a battered soul -- was articulated brilliantly by KK.
Such relentless commitment to give every bit of himself to a song!
Yet, whenever he finished a song and heard his own track, he would ask if it had achieved the mark the director or music director had aspired for.
Was he good enough?
KK was not in awe of his own talent. He was more interested in how much more he could pull out of himself.
That's what made him exceptional and his journey unforgettable.