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When the skylark sings

ANJANA RAJAN

The punctuality and discipline that she learnt in school stood her in good stead later, says Kavita Krishnamurti.

K. Ramesh Babu

Sing without frowning

There are certainly no hard and fast rules growing up into a celebrity. Take Kavita Krishnamurti. "I was a shy kid," she recalls. Though she enjoyed music, this Hindi playback singer, who is among the Padma Shri awardees did not aim for Bollywood as a child. "I wanted to be in the Indian Foreign Service," she recounts. Describing the Convent of Jesus and Mary in New Delhi where she studied, Kavita says, "We had Irish nuns, and a lot of fabulous teachers who were very strict about discipline and punctuality, which helped me a lot later in life. I remember once we did a production of `Hansel and Gretel'. I was given the role of Hansel. They must have thought I looked the part of a little boy! We had a few outings, but on the whole, it was a typical convent school."

While still quite young, Kavita began learning Hindustani vocal music under Balram Puri and from the age of eight was winning gold medals at various music competitions. Kavita went on to train under many music teachers, including Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Ram Narayan, Govind Prasad Jaipurwal and others, but it was her aunt, Protima Bhattacharya, who was always by her side. She even moved with Kavita to Mumbai.

Lessons learnt

In Mumbai Kavita attended St. Xavier's College, studying Economics Honours, and began getting professional singing engagements. "Our professors were very understanding when we had programmes. We also had a fantastic Sangeet Mandal and Natya Mandal there."

Singing complicated songs might always have been easy for Kavita, but synching with the college bunking routine wasn't. "I remember the first time I bunked a class, I was feeling really guilty. A senior saw me with tears in my eyes and questioned me. "I bunked and went to see a movie," I confessed. He said, "Don't worry. By the time you get into the third year, you'll be used to it," and really, by the time we were seniors we were so blasι about it," she laughs.

In one aspect though, she has not changed. She still doesn't like going to parties, which are considered important for "public relations" in a film career.

"And today I realise, if you sing without a frown on your face, come to the studio on time, and do your job, you don't need to go to parties. Of course, PR is more necessary today than it was in the old days, but if you strike a good balance, you'll be all right," she said.

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