HiFi Legends Tale – "Mahanayak" Uttam Kumar: Rare Musical Encounters with Bengal Superstar

anirban420

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Uttam Kumar, the most popular Bengali film actor of all times, is a name known to many even outside Bengal and Bengalese. He has performed in a variety of roles in films and has been the heart and soul of Bengalese till date even several decades after his death. His outstanding role plays are exemplary.


uttam.jpg

He was multi-talented, endeavoured beyond acting in production, music composition and even singing. I am sharing below two such incidents of his singing talent.

It was on a cultural staged program of that time, eminent singer Debabrata Biswas was allotted to perform after the performance by another renowned singer Suchitra Mitra. Both were famous Rabindrasangeet Artistes of Bengal. To everyone's surprise, Uttam Kumar, who was also present on the stage, grabbed the microphone and literally sang a Rabindrasangeet (Tumi Kemon Kore Gaan Karo Hey Guni) by himself, stunning everyone around. Although he was not a singer by profession, he did have a strong forte in Rabindrasangeet, and the performance on the stage echoed the same. Only four recordings of him singing are widely available till date. All of them are considered rare. Here is the fifth recording, which is the rarest among all of them and also his last known recording.



We have also been fortunate to have seen Uttam Kumar as a music composer. He composed one song named "Jai Chole Jai/ Amay Khujona Tumi/ Bondhu Bhul Bujhona" in the film "Kaal Tumi Aleya" (1969) sung by renowned singer Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. During the recording of the song, everything went well in the studio. After the recording session was over, Hemanta was found in a very serious mood. Uttam Kumar went to him and enquired whether to a person of Hemanta's calibre and stature if he did not like the composition considering this is not Uttam Kumar's area of expertise.
Hemanta's response was subtle yet significant - "No, that is not the matter. I am concerned that you are on a path to take my job away" ... a short silence prevailed followed by the two legends breaking out in laughter, good old days of the golden period of Bengali Film industry.

Here is the song "Jai Chole Jai" from the film "Kaal Tumi Aleya" (1969).



FM @haisaikat helped me to make this thread.
Information Courtesy: Mr Ashok Kumar Bhattacharya & Mr Saptarshi Bhattacharya
Picture Courtesy: Internet
 

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Nitin K

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Thanks for sharing Anirban. He was a very Charismatic actor like Rajesh Khanna. In the film Amanush, he was superb. Too bad he died early & deprived his fans a lot of his films. He seems to have a resemblance with the actor Biswajeet. Was not aware of his singing prowess which came as a surprise, sounds similar to the legendary Hemant Kumar.
 

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Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra

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Hello
Anirban
Thanks for your nice write up. Really Uttam Kumar was a genius and apart from acting he took interest in music as well. Somewhere I read that he once taught some students music in his early days before coming to the industry. It is told that Gouridevi, his wife was once his disciple. However, his songs are less in number. Besides, Biswajit , another film artist was also a singer. So far I can remember , he had some songs recorded on vinyls(EP). Asitboron, a nice artist in the era of Uttam Kumar was a Tablaplayer working at Calcutta radio center in 50's. Both Uttam Kumar and Biswajit had good voice but Suchitra Sen though very good actress could not impress us with her voice. Yes, she had sung 1-2songs but they were not as good and attractive as her acting. Do you know that Vijaya Ray, wife of Satyajit Ray was an artist ? She sang many Tagore songs and according to Sandeep Ray she helped her husband a lot while Ray made his movies. She taught even Kishore Kumar how to sing Rabindrasangeet for the movie Ghorebaire. Thanks again for your nice endeavour.
Regards
 
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