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AMIT KUMAR (born in 1952) is one of Bollywood’s leading playback singers and actors. As a child, he acted in films that were directed by and starred his late father, Kishore Kumar. Amit Kumar performs international stage shows highlighting his father’s and his own songs.
His mother, Ruma Guha Thakurta, is a top Bengali actress and founder of the Calcutta Youth Choir. At a young age, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. Acting in his father’s films and singing along with him on stage gave Amit a confidence found in few of his peers. 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. For the last ten years, he has been grooming under Pandit Satyanarayan Sharma.
Kumar’s first recording, made when he was 11, was “Main Panchi Matwala Re” for his father in Door Ka Rahi (1971). His first major adult song was R. D. Burman’s “Bade Ache Lagte Hain (Balika Badhu).” He enjoyed success during the ’80s and early ’90s, becoming the signature voice for actors like Kumar Gaurav, Anil Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan. He also shared an excellent rapport with Burman, producing songs including “Kya Hua Ik Baat Par” and “Jaaneman Jaanejigar,” and a number of his songs appeared in various Bollywood films.
Kumar’s career in the ’80s began on a high note with his Qurbani chart-topper “Laila O Laila” and the Hum Paanch duet “Kaa Janu Main Sajaniya.” In 1981, he made a major breakthrough in Love Story, with hit numbers like “Yaad Aa Rahi Hai” and “Dekho Maine Dekha Hai,” also winning the FilmFare award for these songs. Having developed a style distinct from his father’s, yet with a degree of similarity, Kumar continued to record hit numbers in the 80s – his busiest decade as a singer. Soon after, Kumar entered the top league of singers. Burman gave him major movies, like Romance, Teri Kasam, Lovers, and Jawaani (“Tu Rootha To Main Ro Doonga Sanam”). He sang under a vast array of composers, such as Usha Khanna, Shankar (Jaikishan), Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Bappi Lahiri, and Anand-Milind. He recorded voices for various stars, including 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 Amitabh Bachchan.
In 1988, Kumar hit it big with “Ek Do Teen” from Tezaab. He had subsequent hits like “Oye Oye” from Tridev in 1989. After a brief hiatus, Kumar returned to singing with albums like Mad and Dam Dama Dam. 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.
For the most part, Kumar performs live shows and records Bengali albums. His non-film albums, like his Hindi album Mad, have shown that he is an ace composer and an innovative singer, just like his father. Most recently, he sang “Dil Mein Baji Guitar” in the Bollywood movie Apna Sapna Money Money (2006).