Memories of an Artiste


Her other significant movies are Ray’s Ganashatru (1989), Sinha’s Wheel Chair (1994) and Mira Nair’s The Namesake in which she played the role of Irrfan’s mother. What’s most interesting is that she introduced dance in choir performances. She later married writer-director Arup Guha Thakurta and moved to Kolkata. Ruma Guha Thakurta with her first husband Kishore Kumar. Around the same time, she was also learning dance from the legendary dancer Uday Shankar. Ruma Guha Thakurta with Kumar and son Amit. (Photo: Express archive)
Ruma, who tied the knot with Kishore Kumar in the early ’50s, and was the mother of playback singer Amit Kumar. In an old television interview, Ruma had said that the idea of a choir came from Chowdhury, who was then basking in the accolades for composing the evergreen melodies of Madhumati (1958). By her own admission, she was never allowed to wrap up a show without a performance of the forever popular choir song, O Ganga tumi boicho keno, which was originally written and sung by musician Bhupen Hazarika. Immediately ahead of her marriage with Kishore Kumar in 1951, she featured in Nitin Bose-directed Mashaal (1950) and Chetan Anand’s Afsar (1950). It is during the ’60s that she acted in some of the most acclaimed Bengali movies. Advertising

In a still from the film Bairaag. She was an exception. She was also trained under Mumbai-based vocalist Abdul Rehman Khan for a year. Advertising

Talking about the influence of Ruma on him, Kalyan Sen Barat, creative director of Calcutta Choir, says, “When I first saw Ruma Guha Thakurta perform on stage with her choir, I was very impressed by her presence and the way she conducted herself. (Photo: Express archive)
Calcutta Youth Choir was formed in 1958. She has a daughter named Sromona and a son, Ayan, from this marriage. (Photo: Express archive)
Expressing grief over the singer-actor’s passing away, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended her condolences. The choir performed a wide range of songs including those written by Rabindranath Tagore, Nazrul Islam, Prem Dhawan and lyricist Shailendra,” she’d said. Her contribution to the field of cinema and music will always be remembered,” Banerjee tweeted. (Photo: Express archive)
The actor worked with some of the most prominent Indian directors during her career. This helped in connecting with the masses.”
Ruma Guha Thakurta with Kumar. 0
Comment(s) Prominent among them are Satyajit Ray’s Abhijaan (1962), Tapan Sinha’s Nirjan Saikate (1963) and Sunil Bannerjee’s Antony Firingee (1967). “He suggested that we start the choir with his students and revive the IPTA songs. She has also been a playback singer in some films including Lukochuri (1958) and Teen Kanya (1961). “Saddened at the passing away of Ruma Guha Thakurta. She was exposed to choir singing at the young age of 10 as she used to attend the rehearsals of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) in Mumbai. Many artistes are not good organisers. She also played a cameo in Aparna Sen’s much-acclaimed directorial debut, 36 Chowringhee Lane.