Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam is a popular Bollywood singer with critics and the masses. Kavita is a very rare personality who has served as a bridge from the older film singers like Manna Dey, 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 diverse music directors like Naushad, Khayyam, OP Nayyar, Lakshmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman, Bappi Lahiri, A.R. Rahman, Anu Malik, Nadeem Shravan, Jatin Lalit, Ismail Durbar, , Sanjeev-Darshan and Shankar-Ehsan-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, 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 the mid 60s in New Delhi.
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 music director and singer 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 Sri 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, 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, South America. She has performed in some of the most prestigious venues of the world.
Kavita has performed in every nook and corner of India from Punjab to Kanyakumari and 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 action movie star Steven Seagal.
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.
Her many non-film albums include Koi Akela Kahan, Meera Ka Ram, Mahalakshmi Stotra, Pop Time, Sai Ka Vardaan, Shagufthagi, Dil Ki Awaaz and Devotional Melodies. She also sang for “Ramayana”, an Indo- Japanese ventures and several popular television serials in different languages.
Her recent releases include the album Athens (Music Today), which features the Olympic Torch Theme Song ‘Lau Se Lau Jalti Hai’, written by Sri Gulzar and composed by Dr. L. Subramaniam was performed when the Olympic flame was brought to India for the first time. She has recorded for the ballet ‘Asmita’ – a ballet collaboration with Dr. L. Subramaniam and danseuse Sonal Mansingh. Her most recent release is a duet album “Mahiya” in Punjabi with the foremost Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali.
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.
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.
To commemorate 100 years of the Nobel Peace Prize, an album was released bringing together the best musicians and excerpts from speeches of Nobel laureates. For this project featuring artists from all around the world, Kavita and Dr. Subramaniam were chosen to represent the Asian continent. The composition, Transcendental Peace features Dr. Subramaniam on the violin, Mrs. Subramaniam singing and the words of Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela. This historical compact disc also features the music of Kris Kristofferson, Sinead O’Conner and the words of Martin Luther King Jr., HH The Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, Yitzhak Rabin and Yaseer Arafat among others.
Bibliotheca Alexandria, the first library in the world existed in the third century before our era. However, it was destroyed but now after 1600 years, the Bibliotheca Alexandria lives once again. Kavita performed at the inaugural concert which was attended by President and Mrs. Mubarak of Egypt, President and Mrs. Chirac of France, Queen Noor of Jordan, the Queen of Spain and Queen Sophie of Belgium among other Heads of States, Dignitaries and Nobel Laureates.
Kavita was asked to perform during Prince Charles’ recent visit to India at the Balayogi Auditorium (Parliament building) in New Delhi.
Her recent world tour includes appearances in Lincoln Centre, New York (along with George Duke and Stanley Clarke), Putra Jaya World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, The Octagon Theatre, Perth and Esplanade, Singapore.
Kavita also performed for H.E. Sri Abdul Kalam, the President of India at the Mughal Gardens, Rashtrapati Bhawan on November 26th, 2004.