Kavita K. Subramaniam speaks on her association with Laxmikant Pyarelal on eve of concert

Kavita Krishnamurthi Subramaniam will be one of the star performers at the Laxmikant Pyarelal Concert on May 15 in New Jersey. Photo: Publicity Photo

To the world, she was known as Kavita Krishnamurthi, the A-list playback singer from the 1980s onwards. Today, she bills herself as Kavita K. Subramaniam, the wife of globally renowned composer and musician, Dr. L. Subramaniam.

The singer of so many iconic songs is one of the star performers at the Laxmikant-Pyarelal Concert being held across USA and Canada, including in New Jersey on May 15.

On the eve of her departure from India, the singer waxes eloquent on her association with Hindi cinema’s longest-lasting and most versatile Numero Uno composers.

Excerpts from a conversation follow.

How much are you looking forward to this tour?

Tremendously! This is the first time after 1998 when I am going with Pyare-bhai. Laxmi-ji had not come then as he was ill. And I too left the tour halfway as my brother was very ill.

What would you say is the high-point?

The high-point is the tour itself. But I will be missing Laxmi-ji a lot. We had great tours in 1986 and 1988. There was this L-P tour with Zeenat Aman-ji, and another 9-concert tour in London and USA with Sridevi. We singers from L-P’s music were all there, like Nitin Mukesh, Suresh Wadkar, Shabbir Kumar, Anuradha Paudwal—we would sit together, eat together, or knock at each others’ doors even at night if we needed something! I remember even Amrish (Puri)-ji was there, and what a wonderful man he was!

In the finale, I remember Laxmi-ji singing Om shanti om, complete with the dialogues before the song. The stage would be so vibrant!

Now there is Pyarelal alone.

And he is such a perfectionist!

Did you have rehearsals, since you are based out of Bangalore and Pyare-bhai is in Mumbai?

Yes, I did go to Mumbai to rehearse with Pyare-bhai.

Can you name some of the songs you will be presenting?

I rehearsed Lata-ji’s title-track from Satyam Shivam Sundaram and her Main tere ishq mein from Loafer, besides my own songs, Hawa Hawaai (Mr. India) and also from Chaalbaaz and Khuda Gawah and of course, Jumma chumma de de from Hum.

Will their older songs, like from the ‘60s, be presented too?

I hope so. I think that songs from Parasmani and Dosti, for example, are still loved.

What is the difference between recordings and concerts so far as the duo is concerned?

In the song rehearsals for recordings, I would be in Laxmi-ji’s music room and later at the studio in the singer’s cabin with Laxmi-ji. Pyare-bhai would be the silent one, looking after the markings and the arrangements. Their tuning was exceptional, like I have said before. Like for one song, Laxmi-ji suggested I take an alaap between the mukhda and antara in the singer’s cabin, and at the same moment, Pyare-bhai walked into the cabin, said that he had an idea that I should take an alaap at exactly the same point in the song!

On stage, however, both conducted the orchestra and we singers would love performing in their presence.

Let’s rewind to your association with Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

Oh, they are my gurus. They have given me my identity! I was introduced by them as a dubbing artiste, and I cannot forget the respect they gave me even then, as if I was their little sister. I would be accompanied by my aunt, and they would be so nice to her as well, always asking if she needed something to eat or drink.

They then introduced me with a solo in Maang Bharo Sajana and then, as it happened, my breakthrough song in Pyar Jhukta Nahin was also their composition. So when Pyare-bhai approached me for the show, all I said to him was “Hukum kijiye (Just tell me what you want me to do)!”






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