Sunday, Oct 26, 2014

The Voice of Reason

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Posted: September 28, 2013 11:43 pm

Facebook and Twitter are really not her thing. The barrage of uploads and updates,comments and feedback,and fast-changing technology — social media is not on the agenda of Kavita Krishnamurthy,who loves to sit at home and indulge in her music,family and pet dogs. “My daughter helped developed an app this year,which has all the information about me,and is available for download on Apple store and Google Play store,” says the soft-spoken singer.

It’s not that she doesn’t like to try out new things. On the contrary,Krishnamurthy’s journey has not been short of an adventure. Born in Delhi,she grew up to pursue economics honours,and was all set to prep for the Indian Foreign Services exam when her aunt — a Bengali — noticed her talent for music and singing,and encouraged her to take it up professionally. “I had always been participating in singing contests at college level,and winning medals. Eventually,I was spotted by Hemant Kumar who then suggested my name to Manna Dey,” recalls Krishnamurthy.

In town for a concert as part of the Chandigarh Tourism Festival,the singer says she changed her name from Sharada to Kavita after audiences confused her with another singer named Sharada,who sang the famous Titli Chali song. “Hemant da used to keep nudging me,‘change your name,change your name’,and when I finally chose Kavita,it also opened doors to my musical career,” she says. It was the ’70s,and a young Krishnamurthy started an 18-year musical journey with Manna Dey himself. He not only mentored her,but became her guiding force too.

“Manna da was a father figure to me,a man of exceptional talent,ethics and dedication. In spite of being extensively trained in classical music,he presented it so beautifully for the common man through his film songs,” she says.

For many years,Krishnamurthy was called in to dub for Lata Mangeshkar,till Hawa Hawai in 1996 changed it all. It was an instant hit,and so was Krishnamurthy,who went on to entertain audiences with chartbusting numbers from films such as 1942 A Love Story,Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam,Khamoshi and Bombay. “There was a time when all romantic songs went to Alka (Yagnik) and classical ones came to me. It saddened me,for I wanted to tell the world that I could sing all kinds of songs,and luckily,1942 changed that,” she says.

The ’90s saw the rise and rise of Krishnamurthy,along with Yagnik,Sadhna Sargam and Anuradha Paudwal. Krishnamurthy smiles when quizzed about professional jealousies and ego clashes. “When I look back,I feel the struggling years were the best years of my life,for even though I was dubbing songs,I was making enough money and learning from the best,” she says.

Her desire to learn continues to this day,as Krishnamurthy carries on with non-film albums,fusion concerts and travels across the globe,performing along side her husband,noted violinist Dr L Subramaniam. She also makes appearances as a judge on reality shows — a platform,she says,has opened doors for girls especially,and made music a respectable profession to join.

It’s not that she has taken a sabbatical from films. Krishnamurthy feels that real music is lost in the “hookline continued…

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