‘My Father was Criticised for Asking Kishore Kumar to Sing’

RBN Web Desk: Auteur Satyajit Ray was criticised by a section of Rabindra Sangeet experts for asking Kishore Kumar to lend his voice to a Rabindranath Tagore composition in Charulata (1964). Speaking to the media recently on the Ray family’s long association with Kishore Kumar, the filmmaker’s son Sandip Ray said, his father was steely in his resolve and went ahead as planned.

Charulata is widely considered to be Ray’s best film in his entire career as a filmmaker. Kishore Kumar had sung ‘Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare’ for Soumitra Chatterjee on screen.

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According to Sandip, Kishore Kumar was very excited when his father called him up and asked to playback for the film. But he was surprised since the track was a Rabindra Sangeet and not a film song in that sense. He even told Ray that there were several brilliant Rabindra Sangeet singers who the filmmaker could ask to sing. Kishore Kumar felt he was far less competent than any of them. But Ray was determined from the beginning to use only Kishore’s voice, and convinced the singer in this regard, Sandip recalled.

The song was recorded in Mumbai (then Bombay) and Kishore Kumar sang for free, something he reportedly never did for any other music director, until for Ray again in Ghare Baire (1984).

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Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare came out beautifully on screen and Kishore was hailed for the song. It’s still considered one of the best Rabindra Sangeet renditions on film that forged everything right—the playback, the minimalist music accompaniment, the on screen performance of the actors, and the editing.

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