Popular Bengali singer Rupankar Bagchi said he didn't want to belittle late singer KK after outrage over his purported Facebook live, recorded a day before the icon's death, claimed West Bengal has better vocalists than the Bollywood artiste. Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, died in Kolkata on Tuesday night after performing in a live show. After watching a video of KK's previous show on Monday evening, Bagchi had that day made a Facebook live claiming that he might be a wonderful singer but there are better vocalists in West Bengal than him.
"I am of the view that we have singers like Somlata (Acharya), Iman (Chakraborty), Raghab (Chatterjee), Ujjaini (Mukherjee), Rupam (Islam) and we all sing better than KK," he said.
"KK, KK, KK. who is KK? Why so much excitement about Mumbai artistes? Learn from Odisha, Punjab and Southern industry – please become Bengali first," he added, in an apparent reference to the buzz created by the Bollywood singer's visit to Kolkata. He later deleted the video following KK's death but it had by then gone viral on social media, triggering an outrage.
After being trolled on social media over the video, Bagchi told reporters, "What I meant to say was that people of West Bengal must be more proud of Bengali literature, identity and songs. I spoke in favour of retaining our culture. If anyone thinks otherwise, it is his/her issue."
"I felt sad and shocked to learn about KK's death. This was not the age to die. He had so much to offer. He was a great singer," he added.
However, netizens, including Bengali cine personalities, criticised Bagchi for his comments. ALSO READ: Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan mourn KK's demise; say his voice ensured the success of their films
Actor Rupanjana Mitra said on her Facebook page, "Shame on you Rupankar, You may have got a national award in past but remain a narrow-minded personality. First you should learn how to respect a fellow artiste."
Another actor Bhaswar Chatterjee posted, "Rupankar babu wants to hog limelight by making adverse comments. Why are you describing yourself as a better singer than KK? Let that be decided by the people. Why are you jumping around? We had never heard anyone else like Raghab da say such things."
However, speaking in favour of Bagchi, actor Srilekha Mitra said, "We have not lost KK because of Rupankarda. I understand your pain, anger but please don't belittle an artist to pay tribute to another. Why everyone has suddenly launched such an attack on him (Bagchi). It seems people have a complicated mind." Singer KK aka Krishnakumar Kunnath dies at 53 after concert in Kolkata
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh also lent support to Bagchi over the controversy. "KK's death is heart rending. It is so poignant he died shortly after his live performance. But Rupankar should not be linked with his death. That issue should be debated at a different forum," he said.