Playback singer going fast forward
"Some music directors who saw me squirm in the studios initially were nice enough to get the message. Surely `Choli Ke Peeche' kind of stuff is not my cup of tea."
IN BOLLYWOOD, where playback singers emerge by the day, Kavita Subramaniam, with two decades of singing behind her, stands tall. In the city recently in connection with her husband L. Subramaniam's "Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival," Kavita took time off to speak about her recent hit numbers and the release of her new album this year.
A Delhiite, trained in Hindustani and Rabindra Sangeet, Kavita, as a teenager, who left the capital for Mumbai to pursue her passion in music, would hardly have dreamt that one day she would lend her versatile chords to glamour girls of the big screen and working with veterans as Lakshmikant Pyarelal, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, R.D. Burman or the still recent Ismail Durbar and A.R. Rahman.
Kavita says she enjoys ghazals and devotional numbers too although playback numbers are her forte.
Modest as she sounds throughout, Kavita recollects her first major recording for Maang Bharo Sajana under her mentor Lakshmikant Pyarelal which was her first step to fame. Several other films followed, but with Mr. India and her sprightly number `Hawa Hawaii' she became a sought-after artiste.
From then on, it was roses all her way. Aim-for-the-big-and-shoot was her mantra, she reminisces. From `Ilu Ilu' in Saudagar, `Jumma Chumma de de' in Hum, or `Nayak Nahin' in Khalnayak, each number increased her stature in the world of playback singing.
The best however, was still to follow with one of her favourite music directors, R.D. Burman. 1942 A Love Story had chartbusters `Pyarr Hua Chupke Se' and `Rhim Zhim Rhim Zhim'.
Never having modelled her style on other stalwarts of her time, Kavita came to be identified for her unique adaptable voice that scaled with ease to mountainous ranges. Soft romantic tracks, agile numbers or the classical-based she has an enviable variety in her bag of creativity.
But why no raunchy numbers? "I don't think I'm made for that. Some music directors who saw me squirm in the studios initially were nice enough to get the message. Surely `Choli Ke Peeche' kind of stuff is not my cup of tea," Kavita reiterates.
Her recent chart-whoppers still reflect her amazing diverse challenges.
The Rajasthani folk `Nimbuda Nimbuda', the soft and poetic `Ankhon Ki gusthakiyaan' in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or the Devdas hits such as the poignant `Hamesha Tum Ko Chaha', `Mar Dala' with a classical touch or the Birju Maharaj's Kaahe Ched Mohe with a tumri ang to it, are all examples of it. "Hameshe tumko Chaha in Devdas gave me goose pimples while recording, as the hidden pathos came gliding through so well," she recollects.
Even while praising A.R. Rahman for his enterprising attitude and characteristic "no-gossip-only-work" attitude, Kavita says it was a pleasure to record `Tuhi Re' for Bombay with the prodigy.
Kavita is looking forward to the release of her album later this year, composed by L. Subramaniam. She would feature along with big names as Pandit Jasraj, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan and Lucky Ali, for Javed Akhtar's lyrics.
Her memorable moment? To commemorate the 100 years of Nobel Peace prize, Kavita and Subramaniam were chosen to represent the Asian continent. Their composition `Transcendental Peace' has the violin strains along with Kavita singing the words of Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela!
By Ranjani Govind
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