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Singer-Actor Ruma Guha Thakurta Passes Away

Ruma Guha Tkaurta founded the Calcutta Youth Choir, a song and dance troupe, in 1958, which is known for its performance of folk and people’s songs.
Ruma Guha Thakurta

Kolkata: Singer-Actor Ruma Guha Thakurta passed away in her sleep early on Monday at her Ballygunge Place residence in the city, family sources said. Ruma, 84, was suffering from old age-related ailments. She is survived by two sons including singer Amit Kumar and a daughter from two marriages – one of these to noted playback singer Kishore Kumar.

"She passed away in her sleep early this morning. Our family doctor confirmed it. The timing of her death could be between 6 and 6.15 am," said Ayan Guha Thakurta, her son from her second marriage.

Ruma Guha Thakurta was born on November 3, 1934 in the city. She founded the Calcutta Youth Choir, a song and dance troupe, in 1958, which is known for its performance of folk and mass songs.

Popular songs of the choir included anti -war song 'Aaj joto juddhabaj', 'Bharatbarsho surjer ek naam', 'O Ganga boichho keno' and 'Waqt ki Awaz', originally a song of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). In fact, many of her chorus songs were from IPTA’s basket.

The singer-actor started as a dancer before moving to the then Bombay where she got married to singer Kishore Kumar in the early 1950s. The two, who got separated in 1958, had a son – singer Amit Kumar.

She later married writer-director Arup Guha Thakurta and had two children who are also singers-- Sromona and Ayan Guha Thakurta.

Ayan said his mother had returned to Kolkata only a month back after a three-month stay with Amit Kumar in Mumbai.

"Dada (Amit) is coming here this evening. He will be taking all the decisions (about her last rites)," Ayan said.

Ruma Guha Thakurta, who is the niece of noted film director, Satyajit Ray, had worked in over 60 films.

Many of her films were made by great directors such as Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha, Tarun Majumdar, Rajen Tarafdar, Aparna Sen and Mira Nair.

She is known for her work in 'Ganga' (1959), 'Abhijaan' (1962), 'Palatak' (1963), 'Antony Firingee' (1967), '80 Te Asio Na' (1967), 'Balika Badhu' (1967), 'Dadar Kirti' (1980), '36 Chowringhee Lane' (1981), 'Amrita Kumbher Sandhane' (1982), 'Bhalobasa Bhalobasa' (1985) and 'Wheelchair' (1994).

She also acted in several Hindi films like Jowar Bhata (1944), her first film, Mashaal (1950), Afsar (1950) and Raag Rang (1952). Ruma's last film was Namesake (2006).

She worked as playback singer in many films.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her grief over the passing away of Ruma Guha Thakurta and extended her condolences to her family members and innumerable admirers.

"Saddened at the passing away of Ruma Guha Thakurta. Her contribution to the field of cinema and music will always,” the CM wrote on her Twitter handle.

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