Times are changing. The old era of small mehfils, ghazals wafting through people’s home as they celebrate occasions are going to be a part of the new normal. This is how singer-composer Kavita Seth sees the future.
Having composed for Mira Nair’s web series A Suitable Boy, Seth says the song Aaj kal paon zameen par naheen padte mere describes her current mood.
Born and brought up in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Seth came to Mumbai via Delhi, where she first sang for All-India Radio and Doordarshan. A playback singer, composer and director, Seth, who has to her credit hits like Iktara and Tumhi Ho Bandhu, opens up on her Journey so far...
How was it composing for A Suitable Boy and working with Mira Nair?
They say you find your kind of people...I had this desire to work with Mira Nair. When I received a call from Mira Nair’s office, I was happy. Getting to compose for her film was amazing. Mira is so clear in her vision. I composed for Tabu’s character Saeeda Bai. Research was already done to guide me. Mira kept coming for rehearsals, sharing videos with Tabu and Vikram (Seth). There has been a great synergy.
Share with us your journey in the world of music.
When I was every young, I would dream of having my songs being played on radio. I would sing with my eyes closed and I would imagine that lakhs of people were listening to my concert, only to be nudged by my teachers.
Why don’t we see you singing for films often? Why are there so few women composers, directors in the industry?
Women are not there in the capacity of composers and directors for the simple fact that it is a male-dominated industry. As for me, I am not the ‘Yes Sir’ type. I will not go out of my way to get work. Also, there was a time ‘jab music directors ki tuti bolt thi’, they had the power. Now music companies, producers call the shots. Par ek baat to manoge jab se maine gana choda hai, wahiyat gane aa rahein hain (she laughs).
In a world where now almost everyone is trying to become a singer, how important is to get formal training?
Very, training gives one complete exposure. It is a competitive industry, the better prepared one is, the longer one would last. If you want to last long in the race, you need to keep learning. I am still learning classical music. I learnt it earlier to pass my exams, now I want to know the raags so that I can compose according to the theme and mood.
How is it not to have concerts for so long?
To begin with it felt very uncomfortable. But soon I found my groove. It is difficult to put someone who is always on the move under lock and key. Many fell into depression. But these 6-7 months gave me time to go on in an inner journey and explore spirituality. Trust me I have never been so much at peace with myself earlier.
Who have been your inspiration?
I have really loved listening to Jagjit Singh, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saheb, Abida Parveen ji. Their influences have become a part of my journey.
How is it working with your sons Kavish and Kanishk?
It was great performing on stage together. Now, both are pursuing their own paths. Jo jitni mehnat karge badhega.
What have been your lockdown accomplishments?
Rangi Saari that we recorded and released during the lockdown is being received very well. Also, I cooked so much that now I can become a chef!
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