GREATEST SINGERS OF INDIA

Amit Kumar

 Amit Kumar (born 3 July, 1954) is the elder son of the late all-rounder (composer, singer, lyricist, film maker, writer, actor), Kishore Kumar. His mother Ruma Guha Thakurta is a top Bengali actress and founder and lead singer of Calcutta Youth Choir. His uncle Ashok Kumar, came to Bombay in the 1930s to pursue an acting career in the silent movies and the early talkies. His other uncle, late Anup Kumar was an actor too.He decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. Though (like his father) he did not train in Indian classical music, he did his riyaaz in the form of singing practice, mainly of his father’s songs.A child prodigy, he was singing and acting in his father's films while kids his age were still sucking thumbs! He cut his teeth watching the antics of his hugely successful comedian father, the one and only Kishore Kumar. Acting in his father's films and singing along with him on stage, has given Amit a confidence found in few of his peers.Though he did not train in classical (like his dad) music, he did his riyaaz in the form of singing practice, mainly of his father’s songs. For the last ten years, he has been grooming under Pandit. Satyanarayan Sharma.Amit’s first recording was Main Panchi Matwala Re for his father in Door Ka Rahi (1971). But his first major adult song (he was 11 when Door Ka Rahi was recorded in 1965) was R. D. Burman’s Bade Ache Lagte Hain (Balika Badhu). He had recorded earlier for MISA (Madan Mohan) and for a Rajesh Khanna film with music by Salil Choudhary, but these films never took off.

Amit Kumar enjoyed greater success during the 80's and initial 90's, becoming the signature voice for actors like Kumar Gaurav, Anil Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and other actors. He shared an excellent rapport with R.D Burman producing songs including 'Bade Achche Lagte Hai','Kya Hua Ik Baat Par', 'Maang Loonga Mai Tujhe Taqdeer Se', 'Ye Zameen Ga Rahi Hai', 'Roz Roz Aankhon Tale', and 'Jaaneman Jaanejigar', and a number of his songs appeared in various Bollywood films. Media drew comparisons between Amit Kumar and his father, Great Kishore Da, creating a possibly higher bar of expectation for Amit's talent than a normal young singer with lesser pedigree. Even so, the name recognition aided Amit in developing his own singing style and increasing his own notoriety.His first releases were Aandhi, Mounto, Zindagi Aur Toofan and Anokha in 1975. He had a stint as a child star in "Door Gagan Ki Chaon Mein" as a mute boy acting along side dad Kishore Kumar in this 1964 off-beat movie.He obviously decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

 
Kishore wanted Amit to be a singer, which is why Amit came to Mumbai at 18, and his father introduced him at a special show called Daddy Kishore Son Amit.It was in 1975, that these songs were realeased including the ‘qawwali’ with Mohammad Rafi and Bhupendra, ‘Salaam Kijiye Aali Janaab Aaye Hain’ (Aandhi/R. D. Burman, four songs in Jai Kumar Parte’s flop film for Vijay Anand, Jaan Haazir Hai (of which ‘Arey Meri Chammak Challo’ and ‘Hum Na Rahenge proved popular) and some insignificant songs in Kalyanji - Anandji’s Mounto and Anokha and Laxmikant - Pyarelal’s Zindagi Aur Toofan.
 
In the 70’s, Amit’s progress was very slow as the great singers were all going strong. Yet, he did to sing in films like Laxmikant - Pyarelal’s Aap Beeti, Parvarish and Prem Vivah, Kalyanji - Anandji’s Ganga Ki Saugandh, R. D. Burman’s Kasma Vaade, Gol Maal and Salaam Memsaab, Ravindra Jain’s Deewange, Rajesh Roshan’s Khatta Meetha, Des Pardes, Ek Hi Raasta, Duniya Meri Jeb Main and Baton Baton Mein among others.
 
The popular songs included ‘Aji Suniye Zaraa Rukiye’ (Parvarish), ‘Aati Rahengi Baharen’ (Kasme Vaade), ‘Nazar Lage Na Sathiyon’ (Des Pardes, ‘Dekh Mausam Keh Raha Hai’ (Duniya Meri Jeb Main) and ‘Uthe Sab Ke Kadam’ ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch’ (Baton Baton Mein).He began the eighties on a high note with his Qurbani chart - topper, ‘Laila O Laila’ and the Hum Paanch LP duet, ‘Kaa Janu Main Sajaniya’. And in that year, he got his major breakthrough - Love Story, with super - hit numbers like ‘Yaad Aa Rahi Hai’ and ‘Dekho Maine Dekha Hai’. He also won the FilmFare award for these songs.
 
Having developed a style distinct from his father’s, yet with a degree of similarity, Amit Kumar continued to get hit numbers in the 80’s - his busiest decade as a singer. The major hits included ‘Jaaneman Jaan - e - Jigar’ (Ghazab), ‘Dushman Na Kare’ (Akhir Kyon?), ‘Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hai’ (Teri Kasam), ‘Main Hoon Haseena’ (Poonam), and very soon Amit Kumar entered the top league of singers, with Rafi and Mukesh no longer around, and Mahendra Kapoor and Manna Dey on a decline.R. D. Burman gave him major songs, albeit less successful than Love Story, like Romance, Teri Kasam, Lovers and Jawaani (‘Tu Rootha To Main Ro Doonga Sanam'). Amit sang under a vast array of composers like Usha Khanna, Shankar (Jaikishan), Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Bappi Lahiri, Anand - Milind and others. Various stars for whom he had given voice includes Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev Kapoor, Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Raj Babbar, Vinod Mehra, Govinda, Jackie Shroff and of course Amitabh Bachchan in these two decades.He soon hit it big with "Ek Do Teen" from Tezaab in 1988. He had subsequent hits like "Oye Oye" from Tridev in 1989 and others until 1991 when he began to fade away resulting in an invasion of the music world by Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and later, by Abhijeet. After a brief hiatus, Amit returned to singing with albums like "MAD" and "Dam Dama Dam" with crazy songs which are his trademark.
 
After his father’s death in 1987, some music directors did try to give him Kishore - esque songs, but Amit did not want to end up as his father’s clone. Amit ended the decade in a blaze of glory with two chart - topping hits, Tezaab (‘Ek Do Teen’) and ‘Keh Do Ki Tum Ho Meri’) and Tridev (‘Tirchi Topiwale’).During late 80's and initial 90's he delivered hits with composers such as Rajesh Roshan, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Anand Milind, Jatin Lalit, and Ram Laxman. These included 'Kabse Kare Hai Tera Intezar', 'Kehdo Ke Tum Ho Meri', 'Mai Jis Din Bhula', 'Pehla Pehla Pyar Hai', 'Tip Tip Tip Barish', 'Tere Liye Saari Umar Jaagu', 'Aankho Mein Band Kar Loo', 'Jao Tum Chahe Jahan', and 'Sooney Shaam Saverey'.Mid 90's saw rise of other singers like Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan. During this phase Amit Kumar share of popular musical hits decreased as composers drifted towards other singers.
 
Currently Amit Kumar performs international stage shows highlighting his father's and his own songs.He recently sang a song in the bollywood movie"Apna Sapna Money Money" titled "Dil Mein Baji Guitar".In the 90’s, he had hit songs in Ghayal, Hum, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, Khel, Vishwatma, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Gurudev, Indrajeet, Judaai and other films, but now he barely gets a few songs every year and no solos. His latest songs have been for Dillagi, Hum Tumpe Marte Hain and Beti No.1. He mainly does shows and Bengali albums, and none of his Hindi albums - including the brilliant Mad, which he sang and composed - proved hits.Amit has done concerts in every part of the world singing his own hits along with hits of his father. Not just in the Hindi film industry, but even in the Bengali film industry. Amit Kumar is a name to reckon with. He has gigantic hits to his credit. His non-filmi albums like 'Mad' have shown that he is an ace composer and an innovative singer just like his father.

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