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Kavita Seth: Voice from Bareilly

Kavita has made some unconventional choices in her singing career

By Jaybrota Das
  • Published 1.10.19, 10:23 PM
  • Updated 1.10.19, 10:23 PM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Born and brought up in Bareilly, Kavita shares with The Telegraph what shaped her life and how very few people, these days, are standing up for the righteous YouTube/ Kavita Seth

Sufi and playback singer Kavita Seth’s latest album Main Kavita Hoon is creating ripples in the music world. Known for giving soul to Iktara from Wake Up Sid and Jeete Hain Chal in Neerja, Kavita has made some unconventional choices in her singing career.

Born and brought up in Bareilly, Kavita shares with The Telegraph what shaped her life and how very few people, these days, are standing up for the righteous.

Main Kavita Hoon is a series of albums and concerts around the works of celebrated poets. How did this come to your mind?

In 2012 my friend Jagdish Prakashji penned a nazm called Main Kavita Hoon. I was so moved by the poem that I wanted to make something out of it. Prakashji said this poem is for you. So a lot of names were thought about and then it struck us why not call it Main Kavita Hoon. For seven years we worked on it and finally it released on August 28.

What is this concept/series about?

This album is kind of a tribute to the poets and their work. We have taken lines from their poetry, retained them as poetry and also made songs out of it.

Which poets’ works feature in the album?

I had started with a podcast, talking about different poets then this concept took shape as a concert and now an album. This will keep evolving. The latest is on Amrita Pritam.

Amrita Pritam was a fearless writer who was ahead of her times. Do you think in the age of gag, is there anyone like her now?

I don’t think so. It’s very difficult to find a woman like Amrita in today’s world. She was trapped in a loveless marriage at such a young age. Then dared to love lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and then artist Imroz. Though her affair with Sahir sahab remained unfulfilled, she spent the rest of her life living in with Imroz. She really was fearless in that age and times. She spoke for love and had the courage to walk out of a marriage. Imagine.

Despite being a Hindu you have made a place in Sufi music. Do you think growing up in Bareilly helped shape your personality and character?

Bareilly is the perfect place for the amalgamation of castes and religions. I owe everything to Bareilly. When I was just three years old my father used to take me to Khan-kahe Niyazia Dargah. I used to listen to qawwalis, songs and Sufi music. My father used to tell me ‘let’s go home’ but I made him sit with me for hours. I used to see people come to the dargah laughing, crying, hugging and when I went home I applied the same with the people around me. On Id my mother used to prepare sewaiyaan for my Muslim friends. Bareilly could be a small town but that’s the India I lived in.

Would you do a concert for the people of Kashmir if they ask you to?

Why not! They are suffering and from sufferings some great music, nazm and poetry is born. If I could get their literature and their songs, I would definitely do a concert.

Which poet would you like to include in your album now?

Rabindranath Tagore and Dushyant Kumar.

What’s your next in Bollywood?

I have a huge project coming up next year but can’t discuss this now.

Finally, Iktara or Jeete Hain Chal, which one’s your favourite?

Jeete Hain Chal. You know every song has its destiny. This song came to me when my husband (KK Seth) died. I was in the pits. I gave everything to this song and thanks to the director (Ram Madhvani) who understood my situation and brought the best out of me.