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By: Reshma Kulkarni
Monday, March 26, 2007
Kavita Krishnamurthy---the voice that has launched several careers and films is stumped by the confidence and poise of the younger generation.
Despite her exposure, she says the 'younger generation is very talented and confident who knows its mind.' Her advice to the Gen-Next is to 'guard against the immense publicity and fawning that it receives after barely a hit'.
The singer with the mellifluous voice asks the younger generation to 'retain its sanity' realising the hit is simply the beginning of an arduous journey. The expectations that come with the maiden hit will stay unfulfilled if they start floating in the air. They will soon fade into oblivion. And there can never be a worse tragedy for a talented artiste.
But the singer feels that it is the parents who can shape the successful future of their children. "It's the parents who clamour to see their kids getting famous at the age of five; thus pushing them into various talent hunts. They coerce and threaten them to perform well, without realising the immense pressure on the young child's mind." Kavita says parents 'should realise that a sapling will grow healthily over a period of time only through proper care and nourishment.' Tonnes of fertilisers will expand them to mythical proportions only to wither away soon. She is not against talent hunts but 'they need to be taken in the right spirit.'
"Look at them as an opportunity rather than looking at them as a fast-track ticket to fame" she adds.
The recent Vikramaditya Puraskar, a rare honour that was bestowed upon the singer has been overwhelming and 'it'll take me some time to let the feeling sink in.'
Each time Kavita receives an award, 'be it a film award or an honour like this one, my mind goes back to see a 10 year old, quaking in her boots and refusing to go on stage. It's difficult to believe that that 10 year old has managed to gather a body of work that makes her worthy of such great honours.'
She is candid enough to confess that she has butterflies in her stomach when she gets to the stage to perform before an audience. "Its only when I start singing, do I lose my inhibitions."
Kavita attributes her nerves to her upbringing as a government officer's daughter in New Delhi . She had ambitions of becoming an IFS officer.
I guess it has to do with my upbringing. I was a Government officer's daughter who grew up in Delhi with the dreams of becoming an IFS officer. Singing was something that 'I took up as all girls from South Indian households do - it was more ritualistic than profession oriented. Though she learned music from Guru Balram Puriji, the singer 'was not professionally trained to sing playback'. She developed an ear for playback more through listening to Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. "Having such a background in music, I never felt confident about the fact that I could be a good public performer although I was completely confident about my singing abilities," she adds.
It was her aunt who appeared to have more confidence in Kavita's singing talents. So she took her away to Mumbai and introduced her to Hema Malini's mother, Mrs Jaya Chakravorty. Hema's mother liked her voice but 'supported my aunt's claim that if I could manage to shed my inhibitions, I'd make a fine performer.' The rounds to studios and offices of music directors began. In the meantime, Kavita took admission in St Xavier's College at the insistence of her aunt. The promising singer began singing in the college and soon made a name. "The culmination of all this was me getting into playback singing; making my debut through Laxmikant-Pyarelalji."
Speaking about her association with this talented duo, Kavita says she started off by 'dubbing for tier compositions which would be later sung by Lataji.' Awestruck by the fact that she 'was dubbing for my idol' she would have been perfectly happy just continuing with the arrangement. Those initial years there was a lot of encouragement which stood her in good stead later.
"It was Laxmikant-Pyarelalji who gave me my debut playback number and then the famous Hawa Hawai from Mr. India, which catapulted me to fame and to think of which, I was extremely reluctant doing, since I felt that my voice was totally non-suitable for that song! Had it not been for this duo's faith in my voice, I would have never performed that number."
After Mr. India, there was simply no looking back. She did some great numbers like those in 1942-A Love Story, Chaalbaaz, Khamoshi and Saudagar, right upto Devdas and Mangal Pandey in recent times. "I consider myself fortunate to have got to experiment with such a variety of songs; be it a flighty number like Naa jaane kaha se aayi hain to a superbly romantic Dil ne kaha chupkese to the very difficult thumri, Kahe chhed... It was only because I came onto the playback singing bandwagon could I perform such a variety, which is a matter of great satisfaction for the performer in me.
Dil Ne Kaha Chupkese... from 1942-A Love Story is her favourite. "It was an extremely beautifully composed romantic number, which brought out the emotions in a very simplistic manner, which is actually a very difficult feat to achieve but hats off to Panchamda for making it possible so effortlessly. The song is also special for me because it gave me a chance to work with Panchamda before he left this world and also fetched me my first Filmfare Award!"
As for other singers, there are too many songs to enlist from the repertoire of Latadidi, Kishorda, Mannada, Mukeshji....but basically, I more so love the semi-classical, soulful and slow numbers that they sang.
Kavita's marriage to Balasubramaniam enriched her career further. "My husband is the one who's taught me to look at music as a sadhna rather than a kala and that has enabled me to derive maximum pleasure through singing, which I then pass on to my listeners."
She has just completed two numbers, one for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the other for Gautam Buddha. She has her hands full with her regular shows as well.
Any regrets in life? Kavita has none on the personal front, but the yearning for a degree in music is her only regret professionally. The singer's biggest regret is she has never sung a playback with Manna Dey though she has done shows with him the world over for 18 years.