It is often seen that a superstar parent creates a lot of pressure on his children to do equally well, particularly if they are in the same field of work. If not the parent, there are others including the media, which invariably makes these comparisons. We have seen such evaluations between Raj Kapoor and Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev, between Amitabh Bachchan and son Abhishek among others.
Amit Kumar, son of the legendary Kishore Kumar — whose birth anniversary was this past Sunday, says he never felt that pressure. “It was never an issue,” he states. In a telephonic interview, Kumar junior takes up questions on this aspect of star parents, his personal experience, music in his times and more. Excerpts:
Your father Mr. Kishore Kumar was considered a legend in the music industry. Did that ever create any pressure for you to always perform better?
No, I never felt any pressure to perform better all the time. I would say that all the music directors of that time supported me, helped me, to perform well in each of my songs, they all encouraged me. My father was a giant. In front of him, it was difficult to make an image. But he was too encouraging but was never the buttering type with music directors, he did not like that. He though gave me a platform but never requested anyone to give me a chance.
You worked with your father in movies and also as a singer. How was the experience of working with him professionally?
I have seen him working and professionally, he was very serious. Before the take, he would be all gala, have fun, crack jokes but as soon as the take would happen, like any other great artiste, he would be all serious. I used to get very nervous in front of the camera. I was not a seasoned actor, he would come and help me. He always wanted me to be a good actor but that was never my forte. In music, he always used to encourage me, he would teach me and tell me about my “sur”, whether I was singing it the right way, and he would help me understand my mistakes and correct them.
Apart from the Bollywood songs and regional filmi songs, being a Bengali, have you ever explored the classical forms like Rabindra Sangeet?
I have not done it yet but I might be recording it by next year. It is a very different genre. It is one of the most prestigious genres, its audience is of a different type. In Bengal, it is the most famous form of music, my father did it in the 1980s and it became very famous.
You have worked for more than two decades and have worked with all the top music directors of that time. Amongst all, who was the only one close to you, with whom did you share a bond?
Pancham da (R.D. Burman) undoubtedly was the one, he was the best, was extra special to me. Though I would like to add that they were all very good. I worked with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Bappi Lahiri, Kalyanji Anandji. They all helped me with music and along with my father they were always there to support me.
After the death of R.D Burman, you withdrew from the music industry. What’s your take on the music industry of today?
If I say as an audience, then I would say it is not good, harmony is totally gone. It is not like before. Today, somehow, they are not being able to do justice to melody. Also, the audience has changed because of technology that we love so much. Yes, it has done some good but comparatively, it has done more harm than good to music. Earlier, the recordings were analogue, the feel of that analogue, the hardware, it is gone. Now everything has become monotonous. It is now all materialistic. I wonder what will happen in future. The most justified example would be piracy of music. These days, people hardly buy a CD and rather opt for downloading which is quick and free of cost.