Kishore Kumar loved to see himself as a patron of the arts and would often say that Satyajit Ray’s critically acclaimed Pather Panchali would not have been made without his help.
This is just one of the interesting anecdotes filmmaker Shoojit Sircar chanced upon while researching for his biopic on the legendary singer-actor-director.
Do any of Kishore Kumar’s fans know he had partly financed Satyajit Ray’s career-making Pather Panchali? A fact Kishore Kumar never tired of reminding Ray about whenever they bumped into each other in Kolkata, said Sircar.
“Kishore Kumar never stopped preening about this fact to close friends, ‘Do you know India’s greatest film ‘Pather Panchali’ could’ve never been made if it wasn’t for me’? He loved to see himself as a patron of the fine arts. In fact, some of the films that Kishore Kumar directed, like Door Gagan Ki Chaon Mein, reflected the sensitivities of Ray,” Shoojit told me years ago when he wanted to make a bio-pic on tthe versatile virtuoso.
Shoojit who was busy scripting the biopic,was overjoyed that the legendary singer-actor’s family shared their experiences and memories with him, but said he would love some inputs from Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle too.
Anxious to meet the singing geniuses, Sircar said: “I’ve read so many of Lata-ji’s and Asha-ji’s observations on Kishore-da. They’d be invaluable in giving shape to the biopic.”
Unfortunately, meeting the sisters, who have sung innumerable songs with Kishore Kumar, is not that easy for a director who’s just one-film old.
“But fortunately for me, the Ganguly family – wife Leena Chandavarkar-ji, sons Amit and Sumeet Kumar – have opened their hearts and homes to me. I don’t know why. Partly because I’m Bengali. They’ve shared their rarest of experiences with Kishore-da, and unreleased songs and rare footage from his films,” said Sircar right after directing his first film Yahan.
Thanks to the unconditional support of the Ganguly family, Sircar’s biopic would reflect the unknown side of the multi-faceted Kishore Kumar.
“We’ve seen enough of the eccentric side. Now we’ll see the sensitive side of the man who sang numbers as deeply moving as Chingari koi bhadke and Mere naina sawan bhadow and who patronised Satyajit Ray’s cinema,” Sircar had said.
Asked about the casting, the director said he was amused and perturbed by the names doing the rounds in the media.
“Please, it’s not Aamir (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan) or Hrithik Roshan playing Kishore Kumar. I don’t know where they got these names from. I’ll first complete the script before I even think of whom to cast. For all we know, we may cast a complete newcomer,” he said.
Sadly Shoojit ‘s proposed biopic on Kishore Kumar met the same fate as Anurag Basu’s proposed bio-pic.