Sumeet Kumar - The New Kid On The Block
An interview by Dr. Mandar
His round, boyish face and his cute dimpled smile reminds me more of his mother- Leena Chandawarkar, a famous actress in the seventies but Sumeet Kumar's real claim to fame is more through paternal side. He is the late great Kishore Kumar's second son. Following into the footsteps of his father Kishore Kumar and half-brother Amit Kumar, Sumeet has also joined the playback singers' league by singing for soundtracks like Mudda and Naach.
Clad in dark blue denim shirt and faded blue jeans, Sumeet sits besides me on a sofa in the crowded hotel lobby. Amidst the constant hubbub of a particularly noisy group of people waiting for their city-tour bus, we chat about his life in spotlight. He is refreshingly candid and free of any put-on acts. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
How was your experience of making a debut in playback singing?
It was not at all planned. My mother just told me that producer Raju Mawani wanted to listen to my voice and when I went for that test-session, it went on to become a full-fledged recording session for Mudda. More than the actual recording, the media reaction to that event really took me by surprise.
There was a big horde of reporters waiting outside the recording room and everybody was asking me if I would sound like Kishore Kumar! How can a twenty year old sound like Kishore Kumar? Even he himself didn't sound like Kishore Kumar when he was twenty! It was totally crazy media hype as if I had come back to claim and conquer my father's lost empire!
But luckily the song was appreciated and was aired on music channels often. Through that exposure, I got to sing other songs.
What are your memories of your father?
I lost my father at the age of five. Whatever I remember of him is as a fun-loving father pampering me to the hilt with toys and videos. I was a fat child and he used to call me 'Chiballa Bachcha'.
What do you feel about his artistry?
He was a complete artist. Singing, composing, writing lyrics, acting, directing – he did everything with aplomb. The amazing thing about his singing was his ability to sound like the actor he was singing for. You could almost visualize actors like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, when he sang for them.
How was it growing up as Kishore Kumar's son?
I was an over-protected child. My mother would everyday come to my school in the recess to make sure I eat my Tiffin. Those days, I was very shy. Sunidhi Chouhan was my schoolmate and still remains one of my best friends.
In college-days, I got more freedom. I learnt different things like Western classical music on piano and even Western dancing. My mother and my brother made sure that my attitude remained balanced and they never forced any decision upon me.
How is your relationship with your brother Amit Kumar?
He is thirty years elder to me and he is more like a father-figure. I consider him as my idol. Not only his singing but also all his mannerisms constantly remind me of my father- so much so he sounds and behaves like him. I can confide everything in him. He is a Cancerian and very emotional. Even if he is not happy about something I have done; he would tell me in a roundabout way. He is the Go- Get man for me. Mom might deny me something but Bhaiya always indulges me.
As regards your career, what are your goals?
I see myself pursuing a career in creative fields but not necessarily only playback singing. I am taking training to improve my singing. Conceptualizing, directing and editing videos is a passionate hobby and I would like to do something on those lines
Music is in his blood
As son of a legendary star, Sumeet Kumar is well aware of the challenges ahead, but his first recording has left him confident and ecstatic, gathers Rajiv Vijayakar
His father was Indian cinema's greatest all rounder, Kishore Kumar. His mother Leena Chandavarkar almost touched Numero Uno as heroine in the '70s. And in the '80s, his stepbrother Amit Kumar carved his own niche as singer.
And now, Sumeet Kumar has recorded his first ever film song for Saurabh Shukla's Mudda-The Issue, with a confidence and competence that left chief guest Rajesh Khanna awestruck. "I hope that he overtakes his father. That is every father's wish anyway," Khanna said. And music directors Jeet-Pritam (Tere Liye, Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai) confessed that he had added considerably to their composition with his vocal delivery and his innovative and spontaneous modulations.
Sumeet always wanted to keep music as a hobby, and like his father never formally learnt music, though he now trains under Pt. Satyanarayan Mishra. "I am still doing my commerce in college,' reveals Sumeet. 'Dancing is my passion and I am learning that too. I would even do dramatics to bunk my classes, but never thought of taking singing seriously."
Being a legend's son and taking after him was not too easy. Says Sumeet "Right from childhood and my school days, there was this pressure on me to sing because I was my dad's son! I was so shy I would lip-sync even the National Anthem, and the punishment I got was to be made to sing alone!"
Finally he accepted producer Raju Mavani's offer to sing because he thought he needed to break out of the shell. "My biggest fear was always the fact that I would not make the grade," he says. "Raju Mavani offered me the song after hearing me sing at a Kishore Kumar Award function, but on the day of my first song, I asked him, 'You have called the entire press and are giving interviews, but will I be able to record?' Being the son of such a great father is a very big challenge and the tendency to be compared to my father will always be there."
Sumeet does have some memories of his father, who died when he was just five. But it is Amit who has been his guiding factor. As for mom, he has always been close to her.
Now the results of the recording have left Sumeet ecstatic: "All the feedback has been positive!" he grins happily. "The joy of hearing my own voice on tape cannot be described! To get such an opportunity without any hard work is amazing and humbling. It is a special feeling."
Sumeet is game for a playback career, now that offers are coming, though he is keeping his other options open. A second solo has already been taped for his debut film. Adding to his musical interest is the realisation that he can even compose, for Sumeet, who describes himself as a "simple, straight singer," is also adept at playing the keyboard.
Edited by Chalavanth - 14 years ago
Rocks the Stage in Atlanta
He is a handsomer version of his father, but Amit, the son of legendary singer Kishore Kumar, has inherited his father's stage presence, his acting capabilities and his sense of rhythm. On 10th December the stellar singer rocked Center stage in a concert presented by Mark Premji and Klub Klassic. Accompanying him were baby brother, 24 year old Sumeet, Kishore Kumar's son from actress Leena Chandravarkar
Amit's younger brother Sumeet is now in his early twenties. He is a trained classical pianist, and has already sung songs for films. He has a sweet, velvety voice with a great range and while he was a bit nervous as he made his debut on the stage in Atlanta his rendition of Chala jata hoon kisi ki Dhun me and koi lauta de mere beetey huey din was absolutely marvelous. Later Sumeet teamed up with Sadhana Sargam(Jaane jaan dhoondhta phir raha from Jawani Diwani) and then Amit Kumar for some duets, (hawa ke saath saath was especially good as was babu samjho ishahrey and eena meena deeka).
Sumeet follows in Kishore Kumar's footsteps
KOLKATA: Papa kehte theh beta acting karega, but this 21-year-old lad from the Ganguly stable may have something else on his mind.
Sumeet Kumar, Kishore Kumar's youngest son, has made his entry into the world of playback singing.
"I have got my first break in Saurabh Shukla's Mudda , but I still haven't made up my mind, on any particular career." Without any formal training in any kind of music, singing was not much of a problem for Sumeet, who still feels that he may go into acting.
"I know there will be a lot of pressure on me once I take up singing as a career. People will initially say that Kishoreda's youngest son has arrived and it's a big thing. I am prepared to take that kind of pressure."
"After getting his first break, Sumeet is now very serious. He is a wonderful pianist and is a keyboard freak. Comparing anybody to Kishoreji will be very foolish. Sumeet is too young and has a very tender voice. He has got the initial break, but I would like him to be fully prepared before he takes the plunge. His voice is different and it does not match with either Kishoreji or Amit," said Sumeet's mother Leena Chandravarkar.
"Things fell into shape after Sumeet performed at the Kishore Kumar Awards function in Mumbai last year. He enthralled everybody with Kishoreda's Chala jata hoon .
"Soon we were approached by Raju Mawani for Mudda. Saurabh Shukla, the director, also took keen interest in Sumeet," she said.
"I have sung two songs for Mudda and now I have started getting offers but let's see. Mummy, of course, wants me to complete my graduation (in commerce) first."
Any fond memories of his illustrious father?
"Not really. I was just five when papa passed away. I was too young to understand the genius called Kishore Kumar. I have infact learnt the greatness of the man from the masses. Now I know what I missed. I of course remember his favourite seat at home and how he cherished his cup of tea. I also remember how papa used to tell me: "beta tu actor banega. And last but not least, I remember one of his favourite numbers he used to hum: Kabhi alvida na kehna .
NOTHING SEEMED to contain the excitement of Leena Chandavarkar when she described the marked similarity that her son Sumit has to his father, flamboyant singer and entertainer of yesteryear, Kishore Kumar. The youngest son of Kishoreda, twenty-one-year-old Sumit, had his singing debut in Saurabh Shukla's "Mudda — The Issue", and the family hopes that with the young man's entry, yodelling too, a technique that Kishore specialised in, will once again be heard in film music. Kishore's first wife, Ruma Guha Thakurta and son Amit were also heard singing the praises of the family's ladla beta. So, waiting for oodles of yodel?
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