Kavita Krishnamurti: I have cold and sinus issues for over 30 years, but won’t quit singing

Veteran singer Kavita Krishnamurti has been battling bronchial cold and sinus issues for over three decades. But she has not plans of giving up on music.
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Kavita Krishnamurti on beating health issues every day. Image courtesy: Kavita Krishnamurti/Instagram
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 15 Jan 2024, 12:15 pm IST
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Singer Kavita Krishnamurti first went behind the microphone for playback singing in early 1970s. In these four decades, the 65-year-old has been the voice of many evergreen songs such as Hawa Hawaii, Tu Hi Re, Nimbooda and Dola Re Dola. Even though she has recorded about 50,000 songs in more than 40 languages and has health issues, the Padma Shri awardee is not planning to slow down. Every day, she makes it a point to fight bronchitis and sinus problems so that she can continue singing – her life’s passion.

In an interview with Health Shots, Kavita Krishnamurti, whose work in movies such as 1942: A Love Story, Khamoshi: The Musical and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam will always be cherished, opens up on her health and love for singing.

Kavita Krishnamurti
Kavita Krishnamurti travelled to different cities for the latest edition of the Lakshminarayan Global Music Festival. Image courtesy: Kavita Krishnamurti/Instagram

Q. You have travelled widely throughout your career. How do you take care of your health?

Kavita Krishnamurti: I have been suffering from ‘bronchial colds’ since the last 30 to 35 years. I have still not given up singing. I have so many sinus issues…sometimes, I even suffer from asthma, but I have never thought of giving up on singing. It is a battle that I have fought so many times. Every time I come out victorious and I thank God for it. Yes, health can be an issue for me because I am so prone to cold, but I have never given up on singing because music has been a very important part of my life. If I don’t have it, I think I will feel very negative about my life. My family members are also into music. My husband has been steeped into music since the last 65 years of his life. Two of my children teach music to several kids. Music is so important in our family. It keeps us together. Music is a de-stresser for us. Without music, all of us would be so stressed out in life. Music has kept us going and given us a positive energy that is required to face difficulties of life.

Q. What do you do to avoid catching a cold?

Kavita Krishnamurti: When I was in Delhi recently for the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, I covered myself to stay warm. I stopped looking into the mirror. I was wrapped up in coats and shawls. I didn’t mind not looking presentable. I was more worried about my throat. Tto avoid catching a cold, I take steam as a natural route, but sometimes I also use inhalers. Sometimes, I take antibiotics and rarely use steroids. I have decided not to take too much of steroids, as it can harm my body.

Q. Have your health issues ever come in the way of singing?

Kavita Krishnamurti: For my film songs, sometimes I have to sing in very high notes. I have learnt how to sing despite the odds unless the song has a very difficult humming. Humming can be very difficult when your nose is blocked. So, before going to a studio, I pray to God to not give me a blocked nose! On one of those days, I got a song to sing. It was called Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Thankfully, my sinus was under control at the time. Through practice, I have been able to handle things. I have been on stage with a bad cold, but you can’t cancel such events. You have to sing for the public. Very rarely have I have lowered scales of my songs. So far, I have managed to sing songs despite my cold. It’s all about practising. Also, on day of concert I don’t talk to people much. I have to give my voice rest. Talking can be very tiring for the voice.

Q. You have struggled due to your health, but did you ever face discrimination in the film industry?

Kavita Krishnamurti: Not at all. I came as a simple middle-class girl. I was a non-glamorous person. I used to wear sarees and salwar kameez with no make-up. Sometimes I used to wear a lipstick and go to studios. From RD Burman to Laxmikant-Pyarelal, they accepted me the way I was. They used to treat me like a daughter or sister. The only thing that was important for them was that I should sing well.

Q. You were recently tied up with the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival. What’s special about this festival?

Kavita Krishnamurti: This was the 33rd year of our festival. It is called the Lakshminarayan Global Music Festival because apart from having great Indian artistes, we also have international artistes performing at the festival every year. This time it was special because apart from the symphony orchestra from Kazakhstan, we also had a choir from there. As for me, I presented a piece called the Bharat Symphony which my husband (acclaimed violinist and Carnatic musician L. Subramaniam) composed. We had premiered it in London. We performed it in India for the first time at the festival. The concept of the fest is to bring global music to our people and everyone is welcome. It has never been a money-making event for us. It is for those who are curious to know about different kinds of music that exist in the world. In our festival, we try to bring a little bit colour of that country. Like if it’s Kazakhstan, you get to hear their music and also their artistes blending with our Indian music. We show how Indian music can blend well with all kinds of music in the world.

Q. When you are not busy with music or travelling, what do you do?

Kavita Krishnamurti: I like to chill at home and read something. During Covid, I tried to stitch some kurtas by watching videos. I listen to classical music and I love to be with my grandchildren.

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Kavita Krishnamurti has one regret in life. Image courtesy: Kavita Krishnamurti/Instagram

Q. Do you have any regrets in life?

Kavita Krishnamurti: I was the youngest one in my family. Except for one sister, I have lost all my siblings. We have lost all our brothers. I wish I had spent more time with them. Apart from that, life has been good and God has taken care of things. I have a husband who is very much into music and is very supportive and kind to me. I have good children who have worked very hard and are standing on their own feet. What more can I ask in life?

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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