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The day I met Poet “Saumitra” Kishore Kadam

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“Do you want to be a part of my next project?”

“Yes, of course! I would love to be!!”, was my quick and excited response.

“Ok, then be in my office tomorrow at 10 am.”

“Yes sir, I’ll be there on time, as always”, I said with a smile.

After my night shift at work I went to his office, obviously on time. He greeted me with a smile, and we were soon on the way to the scheduled spot on his Indica. He said, “Let’s listen to something different”, and played a CD. Gulzar was reciting a beautiful poem. And then, it happened; track number 17 came on, and the recitation touched me to the core of my heart. I was almost on the verge of crying. It was a poem depicting love of mother and beloved, recited by the famous Marathi acclaimed poet-actor, Kishore Kadam, who writes under the epithet “Saumitra”,

“He is going to work on our project!”, suddenly I came to my own.

“What? Really, that will be great”, I replied.

This was my next project as an Assistant Director for a Marathi feature film, directed by Yogesh Datta Gosavi, who was next to me driving his Indica. Yogesh is an old friend of mine.

A known face in Hindi and Marathi theatre and film, a playwright and poet, Kishore Kadam made his mark as ‘Harilal’ in “Gandhi Viruddh Gandhi”. He also acted in films like ‘Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi’, ‘Aaghat’, ‘Sanshodhan’. Born and bought up in India’s economic hub Mumbai of very simple parents, he graduated from Chetna College, Bandra. Theatre guru Satyadev Dubey noticed him and groomed him in his acting school. He acted in Dubey’s Hindi drama, “Sambhog se Sanyas Tak”, where he played the widely appreciated lead role. His way to national fame was the role of Devdas Gandhi, the Mahatma’s son, Gandhi vs. Gandhi.

It was during this time, noted director Shyam Benegal noticed Kishore Kadam, and offered him work on his next feature film, “Samar”, opposite Rajashree Sachdev along with Seema Biswas, Jonhawiwi Forsywas, Rajit Kapur and Ravi Jhankal. He won critical acclaim for his performance in the lead role of the movie. This film bagged National Film Award for the best film in 1999. His other Hindi ventures were Ek Chalis ki Last Local, Black Friday, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar, etc.

Kadam’s Marathi career boomed with Amol  Palekar’s “Dhyasparva” with Seema Biswas, Mohan Gokhale, and “Bangarwadi”. We can see him in Marathi serial Asambhav, a major and famous serial.

Kadam’s poetic career started when he was only 16. He started writing down his feelings for his own contentment; afterwards writing poems became his passion. Now, he is renowned as the most famous Marathi poet of our time. At first, his poems were published in various journals and newspapers during his college days. He created history when his Album “Garwa”, was released a decade ago. With heart touching lyrics, this album has the “one subject-one concept”- theme, “Rain”. It created a revolution in Marathi poetry. People still love to listen to this “heartthrob of the young generation”, despite being released a decade ago. The lyrics were sung by Milind Ingle, Asha Bhosale, Suresh Wadekar and many other famous singers.

Kadam is a good friend of Gulzar, having acted Gulzar’s plays such as Lakerien, and Kharaashein. His latest poetic album is “Tarihi” meaning “Even Thou”, with Gulzar. It was released a few months ago; it is also a major hit. The album depicts the chronology of relationships in poems. He says “I believe, pain insists you to write poems”. A father of a beautiful 3 year old, he always plays his role as an accountable father and husband. He believes his friends are like his own family. His book “Aami Tarihi Me”, a collection of poems was published 6 years ago. In this and other books, we can find 3 elements in his poems “Sea, Rain and his lovable mother”. The mother is his real life ideal. His favorite poets and writers include the great Albert Camu, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Next month he will be arriving at Guwahati to act in few dramas to be performed there. Some of the individuals working with Gulzar will also perform a few plays in Guwahati, Assam next month.

Kishore Kadam, belongs to the generation of heroes of Indian theatre and cinema, who enjoy a happy dual life on screen as well as on stage following the tradition and footsteps of Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah. I eagerly wait for his future works with varied elements of acting and his melodious vocabulary in the form of poem and songs.

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Pranjal Saikia, Pune