There will never be another Kishore Kumar. Nobody has heard this statement more often than the man who was born with the privilege and the burden of being Kishore Kumar’s son. And yet, in spite of following in his father’s footsteps into the world of music and cinema, Amit Kumar “never wanted to copy my dad. I just wanted to be myself, live life my own way”.
At the first in-person session of Ek Mulakat in 18 months, Amit Kumar regaled the audience at ITC Royal Bengal with music and memories of a golden era. Organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation, in association with Shree Cement Ltd, Ehsaas Women of Kolkata and digital media partner My Kolkata, the evening’s discussion was steered by percussionist Pandit Bickram Ghosh, who revealed that speaking with Amit Kumar was a “fanboy moment” for him, for his songs “had permeated my consciousness when I was in school”.
Bickram Ghosh in conversation with Amit Kumar for Ek Mulakat at ITC Royal BengalAmit Dutta
After a warm welcome by Esha Dutta, Ehsaas Woman of Kolkata, Ghosh started the chat by asking Kumar whether his father’s legacy ever bogged him down.
“A lot of people have told me that had I taken myself and my singing more seriously, I would have been a much greater artist. The fact is that I know I could never be my dad, nor sing like him, but that hasn’t stopped me from making my own identity,” explained Kumar.
Bickram Ghosh and Amit Kumar pose with Ek Mulakat coffee mugsAmit Dutta
Kumar spoke about the relationship he shared with legendary music directors like Rahul Dev Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Madan Mohan. “These are the people who made me and inspired me,” he said. Recalling one interaction with R.D. Burman, he shared, “Pancham da called me and said that he thought the song sounded like a bhajan…. After it became a superhit, Pancham da would still say he did not like it at all.” The song in question? Yaad aa rahi hai from the film Love Story, which Ghosh described as “an anthem for a generation”.
The discussion moved on to the place of melody and lyrics in contemporary music. “Ninety percent of people are essentially unmusical. There will always be trends that take over and last for a few years, but a good melody will never disappear altogether, thanks to the remaining 10 percent.”
L-R: Jaya Seal Ghosh, Esha Dutta, Shaan, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Amit Kumar, Mohua Chatterjee and Bickram Ghosh come together for a group picture following the discussionAmit Dutta
Kumar also answered questions from the audience, including one from Mahalakshmi Iyer, who was in attendance with fellow singer Shaan. Iyer asked Kumar about the biggest lesson his father taught him and whether he had any regrets. “My father always told me that people will keep elevating you in life, but you must always know your worth and quality…. As for regrets, I don’t have any. I’m just glad that I never became serious and yet people accepted me for who I am,” he replied.
Shaan and Bickram Ghosh catch up off-stageAmit Dutta
The evening ended with Kumar performing some of his most popular songs, including Bade achhe lagte hain from Balika Badhu, which had given him his Bollywood break in 1976.