Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam
Undoubtedly one of the favourites of the critics and the masses, Kavita’s singing career reads like a fairy tale. Her exquisite and mellifluous voice, wide range and, versatility to sing different styles and types of songs has put her in a unique place amongst singers and she has been quoted as a “melody queen” by leading critics and connoisseurs alike.
Kavita is a rare personality who has served as a bridge from the older film singers like Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar right up to the present day singers like Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam and Shaan.
Her fantastic range and interpretation has led to collaborations with numerous music directors like Naushad, Khayyam, OP Nayyar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman, Bappi Lahiri, A.R. Rahman, Anu Malik, Nadeem Shravan, Jatin Lalit, Ismail Durbar, Sanjeev-Darshan and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, to name a few. Kavita’s collaborations have been with artists over three generations.
She has lent her voice to heroines from Nutan, Helen, Shabana, Sridevi, Madhuri, Manisha and Kajol to Karishma, Aishwarya, Kareena and Rani Mukherjee.
Born in Delhi, she began her vocal training under Sri Balram Puri, (in the Hindustani style of music) at a very young age. Her incredible talent was evident by age eight when she won her first gold medal at a music competition. She also won gold medals both years she participated in the Inter-Ministry Classical Competition in New Delhi in the mid 60s.
Kavita enrolled at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay where she obtained an Honours Degree in Economics. While in college, she started singing professionally on stage with the great musicians Hemant Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey. She began her recording career in 1971. Her first recording for a Bengali film song was a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. “Maang Bharo Sajna” was her first Hindi film, under Laxmikant-Pyarelal, followed by “Pyar Jhukta Nahin”. Since then, she has sung for many more films like Mr. India, Karma, Saudagar, Khuda Gawah, Chaalbaaz, 1942 – A Love Story, Yaarana, Mohara, Bombay, Saaz, Khamoshi, Pardesh, Bhairavi, Agnisakshi, Prem Agan, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan, Wajood, Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam, Taal, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Vaastav, Khoobsurat, Gaja Gamini, Pukar, Dil Chahta Hai, Devdas, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Jeena Sirf Tere Liye, Mangal Pandey: The Rising, etc. Many of her songs have gone platinum.
Kavita’s exemplary voice has taken her all around the world, including to the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Australia, Far East, Middle East and South America. She has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world including the Royal Albert Hall, London, The Kennedy Centre, Washington D.C., Madison Square Gardens, The Lincoln Centre, New York, the Zhongshan Music Hall, Beijing and The Esplanade, Singapore Putra Jaya World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Gewandhaus Leipzig, among others. Having performed in every inhabited continent, there is very little left of the world for Kavita to conquer with her voice.
Although primarily a playback singer, Kavita has not allowed herself to be limited. She has sung with orchestras as a soloist, she has collaborated with Western artists from the Jazz, Popular and Classical fields. She has sung ghazals and devotionals. She has even sung Indi-Pop. Her classical jugalbandhi concert with Pandit Jasraj and Dr. L. Subramaniam has been released both audio and DVD by Music Today.
Kavita has performed in every nook and corner of India from Punjab to Kanyakumari, Bengal to Gujarat and the Andaman Islands. She has performed in the largest concert halls and stadiums as well as in remote places for the common man. Her voice has reached millions of people, touching their hearts as she has sung in almost all the Indian languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Jharkhandi, Rajasthani and Konkani. She has also sung for several Nepalese and Bangladeshi films. Kavita has also sung in English and recorded with the famous Hollywood star Steven Seagal. She has also collaborated with Jazz legends George Duke and Stanley Clarke. She was invited to represent the Asian continent at a concert to commemorate 100 years of the Nobel Peace Prize and performed for Prince Charles during his visit to India.
Her many non-film albums include Koi Akela Kahan, Meera Ka Ram, Mahalakshmi Stotra, Pop Time, Sai Ka Vardaan, Shagufthagi, Dil Ki Awaaz, Athens, Asmita, Mahiya and Devotional Melodies. She also sang for “Ramayana”, an Indo-Japanese venture and several popular television serials in different languages. Her most recent release is “Visions of India”, an album featuring different music styles from across India, in which she represents the popular Bollywood genre.
Kavita’s undaunted efforts to excel in the field of singing have brought her several accolades, and a large fan following globally. She has received several awards and honours, including the coveted “Padmashree” from the President of India, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam in 2005. Prestigious awards include three consecutive Film Fare awards – a feat rarely achieved, in 1995 for the film “1942 – A Love Story”, in 1996 for the film “Yaarana” and in 1997 for “Khamoshi”.
The 1997 Screen Award for “Khamoshi” and the 1998 Sansui Viewers Choice Award were won by her. She also won the 1999 Screen Videocon Award for “Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam” and 1999 Lux Zee Cine Award for “Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam”.
She is the recipient of the Priyadarshini Award, the Lion’s Club Awards - Kala Sangam, the Lion’s Award and the Kishore Kumar Critics’ Award. Her most recent awards were the “Lata Mangeshkar Award” in 2006 and the “Vikramaditya Award” in 2007, both from the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
She won the “Best Singer of the Millenium” award at the Stardust Millennium 2000 Awards. She was twice the recipient of the Bollywood Award, once in 2000 and 2002, held in New York. She is the recipient of the Lux Zee Cine Award for the year 2003 for one of her songs from the movie Devdas. She has also won the IFFI Award for the best singer. She won the Gujarat state award for the best Gujarati film song.
Following her wedding to Dr L Subramaniam, Kavita has explored and expanded her artistic range to areas which have never been explored by singers before. She was the main featured soloist in the “Global Fusion” album released by Warner Bros., featuring musicians from all the five continents. Kavita sang as a soloist with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in a historical concert where both the Indian President, H.E. K.R. Narayanan and Chinese President H.E. Jiang Zemin were present along with other dignitaries. Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam is one artist who has managed to prove herself in every musical field which she has chosen to enter, and has enthralled and dazzled audiences from around the world with her stage performances, recordings and playback singing for the past thirty year, singing more than 15,000 songs.