|Famous for||Calcutta Youth Choir
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 165 cm
in meters- 1.7 m
in feet & inches- 5'5”
|Weight (approx.)||in kilograms 70 kg
in pounds- 154 lbs
|Debut||Film: Jwar Bhata (1944)
|Last Film||The Namesake (2006)
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||• IFFI (International Film Festival Award of India; Female) for 'Niranjan Saikate' 1965
• First prize at Copenhagen Youth Festival to Kolkata Youth Choir 1974
• Soviet Land Nehru Peace Award 1982
|Date of Birth||21 November 1934|
|Birthplace||Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)|
|Date of Death||3 June 2019|
|Place of Death||Ballygunje Place residence in Kolkata, West Bengal|
|Age (at the time of death)||84 Years|
|Death Cause||Old age related ailments|
|Hometown||Calcutta, British India (Now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)|
|School||• Loreto School Kolkata West Bengal
• Gokhale Memorial Girls' School Kolkata
• Sacred Heart School Lahore
|College/University||• Almora Academy of Uday Shankar Almora
• Swarabitan Kolkata
• Visva-Bharati University Shantiniketan, West Bengal
|Religion/Religious Views||Brahmo Samaj|
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Widow|
|Marriage Date||• 1950
|Husband/Spouse||• First Husband - Kishore Kumar (Singer, actor)
• Second Husband - Arup Guha Thakurta (director)
|Children||Son(s) - 2
• Amit Kumar Ganguly (singer, with Kishore Kumar)
• Ayan Guha Thakurta (with Arup Guha Thakurta)
Daughter- Sromona (singer, with Arup Guha Thakurta)
|Parents||Father- Satyen (Monty) Ghosh
Mother- Sati Devi (Bengali Singer)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Ruma Guha Thakurta
- Ruma Guha Thakurta was an Indian singer and actress known for her singing and acting in Bengali cinema. She founded the Kolkata Youth Choir, a group that performs folk and mass songs through a combination of song and dance. Ruma was the first wife of the famous singer Kishore Kumar.
- Ruma Guha’s parents, Satyen Ghosh, also known as Monty, and Sati Devi, were both musicians and operated a music school called Swarbitan in Kolkata.
- Ruma Guha was related to freedom fighter Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das from her maternal side. She was the niece of Bijoya Ray, wife of Satyajit Ray.
- Ruma Guha honed her singing skills by training under Abdul Rehman Khan, a renowned musician from the Patiala Gharana.
- In the early 1940s, Ruma moved to Bombay from Kolkata. She debuted in Bollywood at the age of 10 through Amiya Chakravarty’s Jowar Bhata in 1944 in which she played a role of a kid. This was also the debut film of Dilip Kumar.
- From 1950 to 1958, she appeared in a few Hindi movies such as Mashaal, Afsar, and Rag Rang.
- Ruma and Kishore separated in 1958. In an interview, Kishore Kumar revealed the reason behind their divorce. He said,
“She was a very talented person but we could not get along because we looked at life differently. She wanted to build a choir and a career. I wanted someone to build me a home. How can the two reconcile? You see, I’m a simple-minded villager type. I don’t understand this business about women making careers. Wives should first learn how to make a home. And how can you fit the two together? A career and a home are quite separate things. That’s why we went our separate ways.” The Print
- In 1959, she made her debut in Bengali cinema with the film ‘Khaniker Atithi’, where she starred as the lead actress opposite Nirmal Kumar, who played the role of a doctor.
- In 1959, Ruma starred in the movie ‘Ganga’, which was produced by Rajen Tarafdar. That year, Ganga won the National Award for Best Feature Film, and Ruma’s portrayal of the character Himi received critical acclaim.
- After marrying Arup Guha Thakurta, she produced the film Benarasi in 1962. It was directed by her husband, Arup Guha. This movie won Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Award (BFJA Award) for Best Feature Film in 1963.
- The Namesake (directed by Mira Nair) was her last movie, in which she played the role of Irrfan Khan‘s (Ashoke) mother.
- She is also known for her roles in the films such as ‘Abhijaan’ (1962), ‘Palatak’ (1963), ‘Antony Firingee’ (1967), ‘Ganashatru’ (1989), and ‘Wheelchair’ (1994). Ganashatru won an Oscar nomination in 1989.
- Ruma Guha elevated choir singing in India to new heights through her work with the Calcutta Youth Choir. In 1958, she founded the Calcutta Youth Choir, a song and dance troupe that performed folk and mass songs, along with Salil Chaudhary and Satyajit Ray.
- Under Ruma’s direction, Calcutta Youth Choir won first prize at Copenhagen Youth Festival in 1974
- They performed ‘Shwagato Mandela’ at the Eden Gardens on the historic occasion of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Kolkata in 1990. Ruma later, in an interview, said that the song was prepared in one night
- Calcutta Youth Choir led by Ruma Guha Thakurta performed in Dhaka on the first anniversary celebrations of the Bangladesh liberation.
- Calcutta Youth Choir welcomed Cuban President Fidel Castro during his visit to India in the 1990s.
- To honour Amartya Sen for winning the Nobel prize in economics, Calcutta Youth Choir sang a song in 1998.
- The Calcutta Youth Choir celebrated and adapted various types of singing, from Bhupen Hazarika and Rabindranath Tagore to Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, and Harry Belafonte.
- Indira Gandhi liked to listen to Calcutta Youth Choir. She was the one who formerly released the ‘Waqt ki Aawaj’ album.
- President Ram Nath Kovind sent a letter expressing his condolence to Amit Kumar, Ruma’s son, on his mother’s death. The Economic Times
- Her last rites were performed at the Shahnagar Keoratola crematorium, Tollygunge Road, Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal, with state honours.