She’s made her own identity in Sufiana music. Kavita Seth prefers to sing only in select movies, like Wake Up Sid and the just-released Yeh Mera India
The global response to her song Ek tara from Karan Johar‘s production Wake Up Sid has overwhelmed the lady, whose grounded nature despite her qualifications and success in Sufi music is exemplary. “It’s so nice to get letters, messages and emails from different corners of the world as well as India,” says Kavita. “It shows the power of a big banner and a good music label in marketing a song.”
Ek tara is sung by Amitav Bhattacharya and Kavita and is the only track in the film with music by Amit Trivedi, the Dev.D wunderkind. “One fan wrote that this is the first great song he has heard since Mann ki lagan from the 2004 Paap,” she says with pride. “Most of them state that it is the best song on the soundtrack and Javedsaab has written it so beautifully.”
Asked why she was chosen for this first ‘screen’ duet and she says, “Amit must have heard me somewhere. But he is so talented!” Unsure whether the song will be lip-synched on Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor or will be played in the background, she hopes that it is the former!
A trained classical artiste who has evolved into a prominent Sufi singer and composer, Kavita has just done three songs for N.Chandra’s new film Yeh Mera India as both composer and singer. She is genuinely amused at how she came to do those songs, two of which are in the film and are lip-synched by Kavita herself.
“Ek ajeeb experience tha. N.Chandraji came to the International Sufi Festival and liked my singing. He told me to come with my diary of unrecorded songs and chose two and said that I will have to shoot for them too. I had harmonium and tabla players with me and they actually shot me performing live, and one of the songs, Aap roothe raho, has been given a club feel. The songs were formally recorded later!”
Having sung under Himesh Reshammiya for Satish Kaushik’s Vaada and for Pritam in Mukesh Bhatt’s Gangster, Kavita is sure that she will be very choosy in her film assignments. “It touches me no end that when I perform at my concerts I get requests even from children to sing Mujhe mat roko from Gangster. It exposes the myth that today’s generation does not like soulful music,” declares the singer, who concedes,however, that there are young people who go in for grooves and beats. “That is why I am now holding a Sufi Rock festival,” she says.
Isn’t that a contradiction? Kavita does not think so. “The soul of a song should not be killed by the treatment,” she explains. “The essence and depth must be maintained. Along with keyboards, bass guitar and drums, I also have the dholak and the tabla and I sing in the traditional andaz. I was delighted to know that in the Omung Festival held recently, at least 30 to 35 participants presented Sufiana music, making it a new genre at the youth festival that had only bhajans, ghazals and bhav-geet.”
Kavita has a very strong belief that any song on which a lot of effort has been lavished lives forever, while hurried creations vanish from memory. “Mehnat kabhi bekar nahin jaati,” she says firmly. “Whether it is Ek tara or Mujhe mat roko, I have practised them day and night for a whole week before the recordings. Music cannot be taken lightly.”