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Bhagalpur better known as Anga Pradesh in ancient time, remained tall in culture, literature and arrogance till modern times. The fertile soil of Bhagalpur always inspired many stalwarts (native of this land) as it used to stimulate the scenes of creativities into their minds.
Noted Bollywood’s versatile actor-cum-singer Kishore Kumar who had his deep connection to this ancient silk city, was not exception. Kishore who spent major part of his childhood days at Bhagalpur inherited the aristocracy, style of living and rich culture from Raj Bati, the place of Raja Siv Chandra Benerjee and the maternal uncle’s house of Kishore. Gouri Devi , mother of Askok, Kishore and Anup Kumar was the daughter of Kumar Satish Chandra who happened to be the only child of Raja Siv Chandra Benerjee.
According to former HOD of psychology, Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU), Dr Ratna Mukherjee (daughter of former Bollywood music director,Late Arun Kumar was the cousin of Ashok, Kishore and Anup) till 1940 the Kumar brothers used to visit Bhagalpur with their mother Gouri Devi on every summer vacations. Ashok Kumar had the opportunity to share the stage (at a drama played by his maternal uncles at Durga Charan primary school) first time in his life during his childhood days. Kishore, had a very bad voice due to some problem at his throat at his tender age. But during Bhagalpur stay once, he had some injury and used to weep continuously. Nonstop weeping helped him to recover his voice at Bhagalpur.
Not only that, Kishore remained very witty and naughty through out his life. He inherited this quality someone from the family of his maternal uncle at Bhagalpur, old timers claimed here. Many said here that his romantic nature was also gifted from the environment of Bhagalpur, especially his maternal uncles and others members at Raj Bati, Bhagalpur.
Like many others Kishore also highly influenced from Bhagalpur. “Once we were at Bombey (Mumbai) and Kishore uncle after returning from some his shooting, disclosed that he emitted his elder Mama (maternal uncle), Shanu Babu of Bhagalpur in a role which was casted on Kishore in the film Podhorason,”. According to her when Podhorasan was released everybody became surprised to observed how Kishore emitted Shanu Babu with excellence in the role.
“The role of Kishore uncle in that film was very brilliant and people appreciated his role more than veteran actor Sunil Dutt who was the hero in that film,” Dr Mukherjee acclaimed adding that Kishore loved Bhagalpur very much.
Echoing Dr Mukherjee, Tapan Chatterjee a resident at Bhagalpur recalled Kishore last visited this city on 1974 when his elder maternal uncle, Shanu Babu fell sick. He also participated at a live show organized by his nephew, Jolly Da. “He used to visit some old shops like an old sweet shop at Manik Sarkar chawk on a bicycle. Wearing a silk Lungi and Kurta, he cleverly managed to avoid the crowd which assembled outside the sweet shop of Fagu Sha and without wasting time Kishore paddled back to Raj Bati just to get rid of the crowd,” Chatterjee recalled.
Unfortunately, the historical Raj Bati where Ashok, Kishore and Anup Kumar spent their childhoods, demolished some year back after local people purchased it. There was no effort for conservation of the house at that time, said Prakesh Mandal, a resident of Bhagalpur. Many like Prakesh demanded for a museum here for the great artist brothers.
More unfortunately, people gradually started forgetting Kishore and his memories at Bhagalpur. It is Sanjeev Dubey, a lover of Kishore Kumar here who like every year organizes a musical evening today to remember the great Indian cine artiest. “Kishore was unique , no one could take his place. We every year celebrate his birth anniversary today just to remember the great arties and also for giving a massage among the new generations here about the legacy of Bhagalpur which has the capacity to produce many stalwarts like Kishore,” pointed out Dubey who is also a good singer to play Kishore’s songs.