“Boso boso (sit/sit)” said Kavita Krishnamurthy as I entered her makeup room at DRR Studio and I was oalready bowled over by her warm smile and charismatic personality. The acclaimed singer was in Kolkata for Great Music Gurukul, a singing reality show where she will be the mentor. The singer who claims to be a Half-Bengali spoke at length about her music career, her aspirations and advices for the young and upcoming singers. Excerpts…
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Welcome to Kolkata..You already have a strong Bengali connection and with this show it would only be strengthening. What do you have to say to this Bong Connection?
Kavita Krishnamurthy- (laughs) Well, Thank you..I was born in a Tamil Krishnamurthy family in Delhi. The Krishnamurthys and Bhattacharya’s were inseparable friends even before I was born and it can be said that I was born in a family of two fathers and two mothers. I used to stay near Kalibari and my aunt said that you have to learn singing. I started learning from Suroma Basu Tagore songs. Then I started learning Hindustani Classical music.
Hema Malini’s family and our family were also quite close to each other. My elder sister used to drag me to dance classes along with her. I cried and said I wanted to learn singing. Everyone understood and I continued with my singing lessons. I was introduced to Hemant da by her daughter Ranu who heard me sing at my college’s annual function. Hemant da suggested my name to Manna da. I went to Surat to meet him and from then it had been a long association with the legendary man. Then I met Pancham da and eventually I became a Bengali.
You met Manna De during his last days. That must have been a tough time for you personally..
Yes, indeed. I got a call from his daughter that Manna da had opened his eyes that day and I immediately went there to meet him. But that day I understood that he was breathing his last. That was very tough for me emotionally!!
You shall be mentoring young talents in the Colors Bangla show Great Music Gurukul. Do you think such shows and efforts really help in shaping these singers into professionals?
When we used to sing, there were not much singers and we did not have much pressures. For instance I was introduced to Laxmikant-Pyarelal by Hema Malini’s mother. I had to wait for my chance to get a song. In recent times, the reality songs like Saregamapa are providing the youngsters with a great platform. This will enable them to get their talents showcased. The best part is these shows have music directors often as judges and you never know the person may get a chance to sing a song too.
Don’t you think the contestants in the reality shows are too competitive and aggressive?
Well you see that one has to be aggressive in their music to survive in this hard competitive music world. Take for instance, one day we expect a contestant to sing a Sufi song and the next episode an item number. The contestants are living up to the standards but this is huge pressure on them. Hence to survive the pressure, one has to be aggressive. We did not have to undergo so much stress.
So what as per you are the advantages and disadvantages of a reality show?
The main advantage is even people from middle class backgrounds can take part in these contests and get noticed. Such is the popularity of these shows that one can instantly come to light, which helps many people.
The disadvantage which I feel is that the overnight fame often makes the individual run after money. They sing just to earn money. They devote more time to earning money and go on doing stage shows. As a result by the time they bag a good chance, their voice is spent. This is happening all over the country. But my point is they should continue with the Reyaaz and money will flow in for sure.
Small children are entering the reality shows, often at the cost of their education; what do you have to say about this practice?
It is of vital importance to complete your basic education- like doing a graduation. This helps you to understand black from white or else chances of people cheating you increase!! You need to sign contracts and agreements and there the education will help you. I had completed my graduation before I entered full time into singing. My son has also completed his studies and is continuing with his music. I feel that the parents must never make the child realize that he is a star. He must be treated like normal children and should be kept away from stage shows and media. He should continue with the reyaaz, complete the education and then plunge headlong in pursuing a career in music.
We do not get to hear you too often in films these days. When can we expect to see you back in the musical scene?
Do you think that I am getting the songs that I should get? After working for more than thirty years in the music industry, I cannot be asked to sing two lines in a song which will be kept according to the whims and fancies of the producers. That is unacceptable. If you are not aware of my voice quality and texture, you will just experiment with my voice. I cannot do that to myself. I want to work with dignity. If that is not possible, I will prefer to stay back home with my family.
An enriching discussion with a wonderful human being and a great singer; we sincerely hope to hear Kavita Ji more in new age Bollywood as well as Bengali films and would also look forward to all the episodes of Great Music Gurukul to learn from her.
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.