Couldn't follow Rabindra Sangeet before, more confident now: Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar, who completes 50 years in the music industry in 2015, was in Kolkata recently to launch his first Rabindra Sangeet album and also performed at a concert to pay tribute to legendary Bengali musicians. Kumar spoke to HT City.music Updated: Apr 30, 2015 19:20 IST
Amit Kumar made his debut as a singer in 1976 and since then has given innumerable hits. However, it took almost 40 years for the singer to cut his first Rabindra Sangeet album. The singer, who once considered the perfect voice to fill the void created by the death of his legendary father, Kishore Kumar, isn't heard singing much for films these days. The reason, says Kumar, was the sudden death of music composer-singer RD Burman, which left him shocked and he eventually decided to withdraw himself from the industry completely. The versatile singer, who completes 50 years in the music industry in 2015, was in Kolkata recently to launch his first Rabindra Sangeet album and also performed at a concert to pay tribute to legendary Bengali musicians. Kumar spoke to HT City. Excerpts:
What took you so long to come up with a Rabindra Sangeet album?
Why not now? Honestly, 30 years ago, I wasn't interested in coming up with an album. I kept getting offers for cutting an album but somehow, I never gave it a serious thought. (Pauses) Maybe, I wasn't that confident at that time. I believe, without knowing Tagore, one should never jump into his field. I have grown up on Tagore songs but I always felt that I was the odd one out. It never worked with me. I couldn't understand even a bit of it. Even in school (Patha Bhavan) when we had to sing Rabindra Sangeet as part of our morning prayer, I remember lip-syncing for which I was even caught once and punished. (Breaks into a laugh) As I grew up, I slowly started reading Tagore's novels. I began with Shesher Kabita and then started watching films based on his works. That transition made a difference in my life and I kept thinking of coming up with a Rabindra Sangeet album but didn't happen for years. I have always believed in destiny and now at 62, I finally did it.
Have you sung the song in the traditional way or have you given a contemporary feel to them?
It's very difficult to understand the songs of Rabindranath Tagore. They have an inner meaning and I am still in the process of learning. The title track, Ebar Amay Dakle Dure, is a very philosophical song. My favourite number from the album is Gram Chara Oi Ranga Matir Poth. I have tried to give a different shade to each song but all the songs revolve around death.
What is the status of the film that you planned to make on your father? Even Anurag Basu plans to make a biopic on Kishore Kumar.
I don't know. It's still a question mark. I personally think that there should not be a film made on him because it's very difficult to make a film based on a character like my father. (Laughs) It won't be easy to portray my father's character.
There has also been news of a film having a few unreleased songs of Kishore Kumar. What's the status of that film?
(Cuts in) In fact, there are four songs and, I am not going to release it till the film gets finalised. (Laughs out loud)
Today, people prefer downloading music. Won't that affect the sale of you album?
It is going to be difficult but I have a feeling that the music label (Sagarika) is going to mint money. (Laughs) I don't know how but I am very sure about it. As far as downloading music is concerned, I consider it as a human error. You can't help it. You can go to a restaurant and spend R 3,000 but you can't buy an Amit Kumar album? Am I that bad a singer?
You hardly sing these days. What do you think about the present music scenario?
I have been away from this industry for years now and I have realised that I can survive without it. I am doing just fine. I will be releasing an album on my father's birthday (August 4). It will have six songs and my nine-year-old daughter Muktika, will make her singing debut. I have composed all the songs and have titled the album, Baba Mere.
Any plans of work with your brother Sumeet Kumar?
Sumeet is looking after our company, Kumar Brothers Music, which is his brainchild. It's an online company where we are uploading up our compositions in order to reach out to our fans.