Amit Kumar Ganguly is in the news for the hit, typically Mumbaiyya number, Dil mein baji guitar (Apna Sapna Money Money), played at least 20 times a day on every radio station.
He lives in a modest apartment at Thakur Village, Kandivli, with his wife and two daughters. His drawing room is dominated by a large collage of the photographs of his father.
Before he jets off to the US for an eightshow concert tour for a month, with his brother Sumit, the 54-year-old singer chats with me on a pleasant Thursday morning:
You have finally comeback.
I’m grateful to Pritam Chakravarthy for this. Pritam gave me a hit after a long dry spell. It was a high-pitched song, but that didn’t worry me. I never thought it would do well because I didn’t find it extraordinary. I was in America when I got a message that Dil mein baji guitar was doing very well.
How come there are two versions of the song?
(Laughs) The song has two versions – the other one’s by Mika Singh. I really don’t know the mystery behind this. When I bought the CD, I was very happy that my version hadn’t been dropped. Probably, Mika’s version was for Anupam Kher or Shreyas Talpade. I’m fine by this.
On hindsight, do you think you lost your way somewhere?
Once, there was sympathy for me, after my father passed away I was offered all the songs. My father would have been approached for if he were alive. Then, towards the mid 1990s my father’s clones cluttered the scene.
I was never a diplomat. I’ve always appreciated punctuality which I’m sorry to say was, lacking in the composers of the 1990s. I’ve walked out of recordings because composers arrived late. That got me a bad name.
My shows in India and overseas kept me going through. The period between 1994 – 2000 was the worst patch in my career. I think my daughter Muktika’s birth three years ago brought me luck. Life’s looking up now.
Do you think networking is rampant in the film industry today?
Too rampant. I don’t socialise much, but you don’t need to be a genius to know this. I see rivals hugging each other at parties as if they were long lost buddies. It’s strange how people bitch about others behind their back and praise them on their face when they need work. Chamchagiri works.
How are things between you and your stepmother Leena Chandavarkar and Sumit?
Perfect. Sumit and she come to my house very often. I go to their place quite often. We all are a joint family, but we don’t stay under the same roof. They stay at Carter Road. Hopefully we shall soon live together again. Leenaji, is a very talented lyricist. I’m 30 years older than Sumit. My daughters call Leenaji Bow Wow Dadi because she loves dogs.
Are you in touch with your mother Ruma Guha?
Of course, I am. She’s in Kolkata. She’s 73. She was very young when I was born. I’ve been close to her. She recently suffered a heart attack. She’s stable now. I talk to her once a day, every day She recently got a building for the Calcutta Youth Choir. She’s been working for that since decades.
Wasn’t there a property hitch back home in Khandwa?
No. Who told you this? This is absolute misinformation. There was no property hitch there. I had to transfer some property to Arjun Ganguly one of my cousins, which was his. I was only the guardian.
Whom do you miss today?
I miss Baba. Once, my father kicked an interior designer out of the house. He was trying to act smart. Baba had a weird plan for the interiors of the house, the designer was so upset that he never returned.
One career mistake you wish you could rectify.
I could be a little more diplomatic. No one waits for anyone in showbiz. I wish I’d realised that getting engrossed with an album dedicated to my father was getting me a bad name. I wasn’t around to prove it wrong. It was said I’d given up singing for others.
I wish to release an album of my father’s 10 unheard melodies. There’s also an album with Leenaji which has been unreleased since three years. We went from one music company to another. One company even said that the album was too melodious. I also have to get my plans for the Juhu bungalow. I’m singing for Viju Shah’s next project. And I’ve been doing some Bangla films too.