Article Hindi

10 essential tracks of singer Amit Kumar

On his 65th birthday (3 July), we revisit ten songs that marked the rise of Kishore Kumar's son in the Hindi music industry.

Sonal Pandya

Amit Kumar’s first recorded song, ‘Main Ek Panchhi Matwala Re’, from his father Kishore Kumar’s film Door Ka Rahi (1971) had to be dropped from the movie as it did not fit the situation. The young man was just 19 then. His next few songs suffered the same fate as those films were shelved. But with Shakti Samanta’s Balika Badhu (1976), Amit Kumar finally had his first hit, thus setting off in the footsteps of his legendary singer father. Here are 10 notable songs from his nearly four-decade career in the Hindi film music industry.

1. ‘Bade Achche Lagte Hain’ – Balika Badhu (1976)

Sounding very much like a younger version of Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar finally came to the notice of listeners of Hindi film music with this song, ‘Bade Achche Lagte Hain’, penned by Anand Bakshi. Music composer RD Burman, a long-time collaborator with Kishore Kumar, gave Amit his breakthrough number which reached number 26 on the Binaca Geetmala list in 1977. The number was picturized on the film's young stars, Sachin and Rajni Sharma.

2. ‘Aati Rahengi Baharen’ – Kasme Vaade (1978)

In this duet from Ramesh Behl’s film Kasme Vaade, Amit Kumar sang for actor Randhir Kapoor while his father Kishore Kumar sang for Amitabh Bachchan and Asha Bhosle for Rakhee. The celebratory song, written by Gulshan Bawra, had a second, sadder version later in the film; Amit Kumar sang that one solo. Once again, RD Burman was the composer behind this popular album and Amit Kumar got the chance to hold his own alongside veteran singers.

3. ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’ – Baton Baton Mein (1979)

For the minimal soundtrack, with lyrics by Amit Khanna, of Basu Chatterji’s charming feature film Baton Baton Mein, composer Rajesh Roshan used Amit Kumar’s voice in two songs. One was the toe-tapping ‘Uthe Sabke Kadam’ with Lata Mangeshkar and the other, a melodious duet, ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’ with Asha Bhosle. Both tunes were inspired by others. The first was taken from the nursery rhyme ‘Polly Wolly Doodle’ while the latter was taken from the American marching song from the Civil War, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’.

4. ‘Teri Yaad Aa Rahi Hai’ – Love Story (1981)

Amit Kumar continued his partnership with RD Burman when the composer used him as the voice of actor Kumar Gaurav for five of the six songs on this album. Rahul Rawail’s Love Story (1981) introduced Kumar Gaurav and Vijayta Pandit to the industry and the film’s popularity established Amit Kumar as the actor’s voice. He also won his first Filmfare award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song penned by Anand Bakshi.

5. ‘Yeh Zameen Gaa Rahi Hai’ – Teri Kasam (1982)

During the 1980s, Amit Kumar frequently sang for Kumar Gaurav, including all the six songs of Teri Kasam (1982). The music was composed by RD Burman and the lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi. The song, ‘Yeh Zameen Gaa Rahi Hai’, earned Amit Kumar his second nomination at the Filmfare awards, but father Kishore Kumar won the award for the song ‘Pag Ghunghroo Bandh’ from Namak Halaal (1982).

6. 'Keh Do Ke Tum Ho Meri Warna' – Tezaab (1988)

The duet, 'Keh Do Ke Tum Ho Meri Warna', sung by Amit Kumar and Anuradha Paudwal for N Chandra’s Tezaab (1988), is the moment where Anil Kapoor’s Munna and Madhuri Dixit’s Mohini finally declare their feelings for each other. Amit Kumar also sang ‘Ek Do Teen’ on the soundtrack composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, but it was Alka Yagnik’s version starring Dixit that grew famous. The lyrics of the soundtrack were written by Javed Akhtar.

7. ‘Tirchi Topiwale’ – Tridev (1989)

In 1989, the Anand Bakshi-penned ‘Tirchi Topiwale’, which began with the now-iconic call ‘Oye Oye’, became a popular hit for singers Amit Kumar and Sapna Mukherjee in Rajiv Rai’s Tridev (1989). Sapna Mukherjee even won the Filmfare award for Best Female Playback Singer for this song. Amit Kumar was nominated for the corresponding male award but lost out to SP Balasubrahmanyam for Maine Pyar Kiya’s ‘Dil Deewana’. The songs in Tridev were composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, but the music was also largely influenced by Kalyanji’s son Viju Shah, who was the music arranger on the film.

8. ‘Kaisa Lagta Hai’ – Baaghi (1990)

For Baaghi (1990), Amit Kumar and Anuradha Paudwal were once again paired for the romantic duet ‘Kaisa Lagta Hai’, written by Sameer with a musical score by Anand-Milind. The album became popular that year with ‘Kaisa Lagta Hai’ being a hit. Amit Kumar was nominated for a Filmfare award yet again, but the musical hit Aashiqui (1990) swept through the music category that year. Baaghi, which introduced the actress Nagma, was based on an idea by lead actor Salman Khan.

9. ‘Sanam Mere Sanam’ – Hum (1991)

The multi-starrer Hum (1991), directed by Mukul Anand, was a big success for Amitabh Bachchan before he ‘retired’ from films for five years. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, featured hits like ‘Jumma Chumma’ and ‘Sanam Mere Sanam’. The latter was a duet sung by Amit Kumar and Alka Yagnik and picturized on the young couple of the film, Govinda and Shilpa Shirodkar.

10. ‘Deewana Dil Deewana’ – Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994)

Amit Kumar also sang for Shah Rukh Khan in one of the earlier films from the superstar's career, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994). Directed by Kundan Shah, the film cast Shah Rukh Khan, Deepak Tijori and Suchitra Krishnamurthy in a love triangle. In this memorable song, a duet with Udit Narayan, with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, both heroes make their way to greet the girl of their dreams, Anna (Suchitra Krishnamurthy), at the railway station. The music for Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa was composed by Jatin-Lalit.