Music director duo Amar-Utpal

25 Feb

In 1992, the music director duo Amar-Utpal was recording the songs for a new film in which Gulshan Kumar was to launch his brother Krishan Kumar. The film was T-Series’ Aaja Meri Jaan, and it was about to catapult a new singer onto the path of fame.

This singer came recommended twice to them – first by Utpal’s father Anil Biswas, considered the doyen of Hindi film composers, and secondly by Usha Khanna, the only female music director of her time.

But I tell you this story not because of its other characters, but because of one half of the composer duo Amar-Utpal : Utpal Biswas. He was my mama (maternal uncle) and 29th April was his birth anniversary. We called him Munna mama.

So Amar-Utpal recorded two songs in this singer’s voice : Aag Lage Sawan Ko and O Aasman Wale. Every evening for six months at a stretch, Gulshan Kumar and Krishan Kumar would come to the studio and listen to these songs.
And yet, when the film was finally made, the songs were redubbed in the voice of SP Balasubramaniam.
The struggling singer was absolutely heartbroken.

But destiny will always have its own way.
When Gulshan Kumar watched the rushes, he realised that one of the songs seemed to suit the hero much more in the original voice.
And so it was that my mama, or the duo Amar-Utpal, were able to give the now legendary singer Sonu Nigam his first break with the song O Aasmaan Wale Zameen Par Utarke Dekh.

When Sonu Nigam became famous and was recording 2, sometimes 3 songs in one day, my mama happened to call him saying he was stuck at a studio without a singer. Sonu stopped by on the way from one recording to the next and recorded his song in 20 minutes flat, refusing to take payment from him.

Gulshan Kumar was so happy when Aaja Meri Jaan became a hit that he gifted my mama a Maruti 800, a highly popular car in those days.

One day, Munna mama went to Gulshan Kumar’s office asking him for a few extra cassettes to give around to people. The producer told him he was welcome to go ahead and buy the cassettes from him. My uncle said, “Gulshanji, you literally just gave me a whole car! Why on earth would you skimp over a couple of cassettes??”
GK said, “Because that was a gift, and this is my business. Don’t you dare mess with my business!”
Utpal had a hearty laugh and readily bought the cassettes from him.

Gulshan Kumar used Sonu Nigam for countless songs after that and even gave him his first big hit, Achha Sila Diya Tune Mere Pyar Ka.

Other than the films they did for T-Series, Amar-Utpal also recorded 47 songs for Gulshan Kumar for a music bank he was creating, in which they were the highest paid among all their compatriots.

Courtesy: Tuhinaavohra

Amar-Utpal… My dearest brother Utpal, you were loved by so many for your loving, caring and helpful nature. Not a day goes by when I don’t remember you and my heart weeps and longs to hear your madcap imitations once more. Happy Celestial Birthday, wherever you are, enjoy your party!!

Shikha Vohra for on his brother Utpal’s birthday on 29th April.
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Posted by on February 25, 2023 in Uncategorized


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