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Friday, May 29, 2020

Kishore Kumar’s letter to Satyajit Ray is the latest find in filmmaker’s closet

Apart from Kishore Kumar's letter, Satyajit Ray's son and filmmaker Sandip Ray unearthed unseen negatives from the sets of the auteur's films, and letters from stalwarts such as Akira Kurosawa and Richard Attenborough.

By: PTI | Kolkatta | Updated: May 6, 2020 12:03:05 pm
satyajit ray with kishore kumar In Kishore Kumar’s letter to Satyajit Ray, the singer mentioned that he would not be able to fly down to Calcutta to sing for the veteran filmmaker’s film Charulata. The song was recorded later in Mumbai. (Express archive photo)

A letter written to Satyajit Ray by Kishore Kumar way back in 1963 has been found at the auteur’s Bishop Lefroy Road house by his son Sandip Ray, a well- known filmmaker himself.

The letter, made available to the media, was written by the legendary singer, explaining to Ray why he won’t be able to come down to Kolkata from Mumbai at that point in time for recording a song for the iconic film Charulata — which was based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Nest).

Addressing Satyajit Ray as Manik mama, Kishore Kumar had said, “I would deem it a great pleasure to sing in your film under your direction. You have asked me to come down in Calcutta, but I am afraid I shall not be able to make myself free in the near future, because I shall be shooting almost every day of this month (November 1963).

“Moreover my mother is very sick since she returned from Haridwar, about a week back. At present, it will not be wise on my part to leave her alone according to doctor’s advice.”

Inviting Satyajit Ray and his wife over to Mumbai, Kishore Kumar had further said in the letter — shared with media persons by son Amit Kumar — he would make all arrangements to ensure that the song is recorded there without any hassle.

“It would be very convenient for me if you would kindly take the trouble of coming down to Bombay with Monkumashi (Ray’s wife Bijoya Ray) and stay at my place and record the song any time during 26th to 30th of this month. I believe you won’t have any difficulty.

“If you approve of the proposal, I shall make all arrangements for recording at a very reasonable rate (re: musicians and recording) and by any chance if you cannot approve of the proposal, I shall really feel sorry, but in any case I shall adjust myself whatever might be the situation,” the king of melody had said in the letter dated November 4, 1963.

Amit Kumar, his son and a playback singer, during a virtual press meet on Monday, said Satyajit Ray had probably agreed to fly down to Mumbai in December that year and the song was eventually recorded.

He also said that the two families were distantly related.

“I rang up my cousin Sandip Ray, who was looking for ways to beat lockdown blues. He was searching the boxes lying in his father’s room, when he came across this unique memorabilia among other things,” Amit Kumar said, adding that he was glad that he could share it with common people.

The song “Ami chini go chini”, a rabindrasangeet, features veteran actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukhopadhyay, the two leads of Charulata.

Sandip Ray said the lockdown discoveries from the master filmmaker’s closet are of great archival value. Among other things, he has unearthed unseen negatives from the sets of the auteur’s films, and letters from stalwarts such as Akira Kurosawa and Richard Attenborough.

“We are hopeful there will be many more surprises,” he added.

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