Amit Kumar Fan Club and Cine Central Calcutta with the collaboration of Nandan hosted a Kishore Kumar Film Festival from August 6 to 8 at Nandan II as a celebratory tribute to Kishore Kumar on his 81st birth anniversary. The festival had curated a happy mix of films of Kishore Kumar that were screened to a packed theatre for two shows that ran for three days. The films shown were Ektuku Chhoan Laagey (Bengali), Bandi, Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (Buy Movie), Naukri and Padosan. The surprise package was Zindagi Ek Safar, a documentary on the great actor-singer filled with interviews spanning three generations of actors, music directors, clips of song recordings, conversations Kishore Kumar had with Lata Mangeshkar, clips from his films, photographs from the family album and so on.

Kishore Kumar Film Festival Card in Kolkata
Kishore Kumar Film Festival Card in Kolkata

Zindagi Ek Safar has been directed by Sandip Ray and compered by Ameen Sayani. Ray made the film in 1988, a year following the demise of Kishore Kumar. It was a video cassette edition. When video cassettes were replaced by CD and VCD technology, he worked on the film again adding inputs by contemporary actors, music directors, playback singers and directors who pay tributes to the most successful singer-actor-comedian Indian cinema has ever known. The VCD version produced by Moserbaer will be released in October this year.

Bandi (1957), directed by Satyen Bose, stars Ashok Kumar and Kishore Kumar as brothers who split when the older brother Shankar (Ashok Kumar) becomes a ghar jamai in a very rich family. Kishore Kumar played the meatier role and drew audience sympathy while Ashok Kumar’s character had negative shades. The music scored by Hemant Kumar was wonderful specially chup hoja ameeron ki ye sone ki ghadi hai rendered by Kihsore Kumar. The same film had a fun number that goes – ek roz hamaari bhi daal galegi. The film was a flop but is one of the few films that show a man as a surrogate father who brings up his older brother’s baby. Ektuku Chhoan Lage (1965) directed by Kamal Majumdar was a love triangle co-starring Biswajeet and Azra (Mumbai) and music by Hemant Kumar. Bimal Roy’s Naukri (1954) featured Kishore Kumar in a serious role of a young man running from pillar to post in search of a job. Naukri was a flop though he was still growing and his madcap image was still to be recognised widely.

Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964) was one of his last films produced by him. It marked the debut of son Amit Kumar, then a little boy. Kishore Kumar directed the film himself and commanded many departments in the film. Supriya Chowdhury played the romantic interest. The song rahi tu mat ruk jaana sung by Kishore Kumar himself is an outstanding number. He composed the music himself and there are two other great songs –  koi lauta de mere beetey hue din and the all-time classic – aa chalke tujhe composed in a mood of hope. Padosan (1968) directed by Jyoti Swaroop with music by R.D. Burman, carries the biggest and the funniest song and its picturisation in the history of Hindi cinema. Meri saamne waali khidki mein is a duet of Kishore Kumar and Manna De in their finest elements. Kishore Kumar’s brief cameo as Bhola (Sunil Dutt)’s friend-cum-guru Guru Vidyapati was hilarious. Another Manna De-Kishore duet goes ek chatur naar karke shringar. The solo sung by Kishore Kehna Hai is immortalized by his voice. The film is based on a Bengali story called Pasher Bari (Neighbour) authored by Arun Chowdhury first made into a Bengali film in 1952 which was also a big hit. Some networks have listed this film as one of the Top 25 Must-See Bollywood films.

by Shoma A. Chatterji

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