Saturday, June 29, 2002

For him, life is all about sensitive relationships
Aditi Tandon

Amit Kumar --- Photo by Pankaj Sharma
Amit Kumar — Photo by Pankaj Sharma

MORE than the musical legacy of Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar has inherited the emotional tangles left behind by his father. After witnessing the separation of his mother Ruma Guha from Kishore Kumar when he was just three years old, Amit was a witness to many a romantic escapade of his father — from Madhubala and Yogita Bali to Leena Chandravarkar. Strangely, however, he could never detest his father on this count. On the contrary, he came to respect the women in his father’s life. To the extent that to date he addresses Leena Chandravarkar, the last wife of his father, as "mama".

Amit admits, "I can never forget how Papa used to cancel all his recordings whenever I would go visiting or how fondly he created the film Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein for me. I have always respected him despite everything and anything." As Amit learnt to understand and analyse life through the music his father left behind for him, he also learnt to find meaning in relationships that develop and flourish despite blood bonds.


It was this understanding of human ties which, perhaps, gave Amit Kumar the courage to maintain his dignity when there was talk about his "ambiguous" relationship with Leena Chandravarkar, a young woman who, by default, acquired the status of Amit Kumar’s mother. Life was not easy for Amit after Kishore Kumar death in 1987. He says, "Confusions multiplied at emotional and financial levels. Soon after the death of my father problems emerged one after another. That was when the credibility of relationships was put to acid test."

Even as Amit Kumar was trapped in the Income Tax net on account of some "unsettled tax liabilities" of his father, all relatives began to withdraw instead of advancing any monetary help. "Leena was very young then. In fact, she is just three years older than I am. Anyone who witnessed the integrity of her character at that time would have respected her forever. When everyone else had deserted us, Leena was the only anchor we had. She was an outsider, so to say, but what she did for us was something which even family members would hesitate to do. She gave us monetary and emotional support, something which we needed desperately at that point of time," adds the singer. From that day onwards, Amit has depended on Leena’s advice for many important decisions in life. Age never came between the two of them. "It was a bond nourished with affection. She is the person who has held the family together till date." So Leena was Amit’s advisor, his friend during times of need and more than anything else, she was the centre of his musical offerings. She would listen to him, compose lyrics for him and help him realise his dreams, even when he was faced with the challenge of recreating Kishore Kumar’s legacy. Amit is now singing and making music in his own style. And for this he gives the credit to Leena. In three of his forthcoming albums, she is his lyricist. "In all probability, she will write all my lyrics. It makes sense because she understands all my moods. I just have to hit a tune and she can fill it with words. I trust her with my musical offerings." Showing scant concern for the world, Amit says, "Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein was all about sensitive relationships. I am not bothered about what people have to say. I am happy being responsible to myself and my family." Amit has better jobs at hand now — caring for his would-be wife Reema and preparing the ground for the launch of Sumit Kumar, his brother and Leena’s son.