indian cinema heritage foundation

Amit Kumar Ganguly


Playback singer, actor, and music composer Amit Kumar Ganguly is winner of the Filmfare Award for Best Singer for Yaad aa rahi hai from Love Story (1981) and was nominated for popular songs such as Yeh zameen gaa rahi hai, Ek do teen, Tirchhi topiwale and Kaisa lagta hai. Eldest son of the renowned singer-actor Kishore Kumar and singer-actress Ruma Guha Thakurta, he was cast as a child by his father in two films that the latter produced, namely Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964) in which Kishore sang Aa chalke tujhe mein leke chaloon to his young son, and in Door Ka Raahi (1971). At the age of 21 he sang professionally for the first time for an outside production, rendering Hosh mein hum kahan, for the film Darwaza (1978), while his first released song was Main bhi akela hoon from Zindagi Aur Toofan (1974). Kumar went on to render umpteen popular songs including 370 compositions of R D Burman. Amit Kumar has also sung for Bengali, Bhojpuri, Odia, Assamese, Marathi and Konkani language films. He also launched his own music production company, Kumar Brothers Music. Largely withdrawing from playback singing in the mid-90s, he concentrated on live orchestra shows, and also appears as judge on music reality shows. 

Amit Kumar Ganguly was born 3 July, 1952. The child of singer parents, his talent and interest became apparent at an early age, when he sang at Durga Pooja festivals in Calcutta. Moving to Bombay, he went on to be cast in two films that his father, Kishore Kumar produced. Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein saw him feature as Kishore Kumar’s son, to whom he sang Aa chalke tujhe, mean leke chaloon on screen, while Door Ka Raahi had a teenaged Amit Kumar sing Main ik panchi matwaala re; however, the song was finally edited out. 

In 1973, when he was 21, he sang professionally for the first time for an outside composition. The song was Hosh mein hum kahan, composed by Sapan Jagmohan for Darwaza (1978). His first released song, however, was Main bhi akela hoon from the film Zindagi Aur Toofan (1974). He went on to render duets with his father such as Haseeno ke chakkar mein from Deewangee (1975), Nazar lage na saathiyo from Des Pardes (1978) and Sun chache bol from Badthi Ka Naam Dadhi (1974). He became widely popular after he sang Bade achchhe lagte hain composed by R D Burman for Balika Badhu (1976). His successful collaboration with Burman saw Amit Kumar record approximately 170 Hindi RD compositions. 

The 70s also saw him sing popular songs such as Aati rahengi baharein in Kasme Vaade (1978), as well as render playback for films such as Aandhi (1975), Deewanagi (1976), Parvarish (1977), Duniya Meri Jeb Mein (1978), Chor Ke Ghar Chor (1978), Khatta Meetha (1978), Des Pardes (1978), Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978), Humare Tumhare (1979), Baton Baton Mein (1979), Gol Maal (1979), and Aap Ke Deewane (1980). 

The following decade saw Amit Kumar sing all the songs for Love Story (1981), as he also picked up the Filmfare Award for the song Yaad aa rahi hai, a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. He went on to render playback for Rajesh Khanna in his films such as Fiffty Fiffty (1981), Aakhir Kyon? (1985), Ghar Ka Chirag (1985), Jai Shiv Shankar (1990), Swarg (1990) and Sautela Bhai (1996). Other films he sang for include Qurbani (1980), Main Qatil Hun (1984), Shradhanjali (1981), Jawani (1984), Tridev (1989), and Chaalbaaz (1989).

Considered the second-most preferred male playback singer in Hindi films in the 80s—after his father, Kishore Kumar—Amit Kumar became the voice of then-upcoming heroes such as Kumar Gaurav, Karan Shah, and Anil Kapoor. He rendered popular duets too, such as Pehle pehle pyar ki and Yeh tujhe kya hua with Asha Bhosle, Kehdo ke tum ho meri with Anuradha Paudwal, and Yeh kismat hai kya kisne dekha yahan with Alka Yagnik

The 90s saw Amit Kumar render popular songs for hit films such as Hum (1990), Baaghi: A Rebel for Love (1990), Ghayal (1990), Sailaab (1990), Aaj Ka Arjun (1990), Khel (1992), Vishwatma (1992), Judaai (1997), and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998).

Sharing a special working relationship with music director R D Burman, he also regularly sang for Bappi Lahiri, Anand-Milind, Ram Laxman, Shiv-Hari, Jatin-Lalit, and Anu Malik. He lent his voice to a range of actors such as Vinod Khanna, Sanjay Dutt, Govinda, Sunny Deol, Salman Khan and others. 

Post the demise of R D Burman, Amit Kumar gradually withdrew from the industry, declining singing offers as he believed the quality of music had deteriorated badly. Singing sporadically for films, he rendered songs for Raju Chacha (2000), Apna Sapna Money Money (2006), Kandahar (2010), Dulha Mil Gaya (2010), Himmatwala (2013), and Club Dancer (2016).

Following Kishore Kumar’s death in 1987, Amit Kumar and his half-brother Sumit Kumar released a non-film music album Dui Kishore as a tribute to their father. 

From 1996 onwards, he instead focused more on live stage performances held across the world. He also composed and released several music albums, such as Pyaar Toh Bas Pyaar Hai, Dam Dama Dam, Sagarika, Jaanam, Forever Blue, and Baba Mere.

Besides appearing in films directed and starring his father, such as Shabhash Daddy (1979) and Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi (1982), in 1989, he last appeared in Kishore Kumar’s incomplete film Mamta Ki Chhaon Mein, which starred himself, his stepmother Leena Chandavarkar and Rajesh Khanna. Post Kishore Kumar’s death in 1987, he took over as director, completing the film which released in 1989. He also acted in a Bengali film Gayak (1987), in which he played a struggling singer. He also rendered many songs for the film composed by Rabin Banerjee. 

In the television space he lent his voice for the Doordarshan serials Chunauti and Campus, also singing for the television film Janam (1985), as well as the title tracks for the Hindi-dubbed version of Disney's Duck Tales and Bob the Builder. Kumar was also one of the judges on the singing competition TV show K for Kishore in 2008, wherein singers recreated the feel of his father’s songs, as well as Indian Idol 12. 

Married to Reema Ganguly, he and daughter Muktika Kumar sang together in the album Baba Mere in 2015.

  • Filmography (1)


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