Kavita Krishnamurthy is a famous playback singer in the Hindi film industry. Having worked with a range of musicians from R.D. Burman to A.R. Rahman, she was honoured by the Government of India with a Padmashri in 2005.
Born on January 25, 1958 into a Tamil Iyer family as Sharada Krishnamurthy, daughter of T.S. Krishnamurthy, she started her formal training in Hindustani classical music at a very young age with Sri Balram Puri.
At age 9, she recorded a Bengali song alongside Lata Mangeshkar, while working with music composer Hemant Kumar. Giving up her original plans to join the Indian Foreign Service, she moved to Mumbai by the age of 14 to become a playback singer. As an Economics honours student at St. Xavier’s College, it was by accident that she met Ranu Mukherjee, Hemant Kumar’s daughter at their college fest. Ranu re-introduced her to her father and he started making her sing in his live performances. It was in one of these events that singer Manna Dey spotted her and took her on to sing ad jingles. In late 1976 she was introduced to Laxmikant of the Laxmikant - Pyarelal duo through her aunt’s contacts with Jaya Chakravarthy, Hema Malini’s mother.
Though the first song she sang for a film was “Kaahe Ko Byaahi” in “Maang Bharo Sajana” (1980), her first hit was “Tumse Milkar Na Jaane Kyon” from “Pyaar Jhukta Nahin” (1985). Her career took off further with “Hawa Hawaii” and “Karte Hain Hum Pyaar Mr. India Se” from Mr. India (1987). 1990s saw her become the leading female playback singer of the industry. During this period she worked with music directors such as A.R. Rahman, Anand - Milind, Nadeem - Shravan, Ismail Darbar, Anu Malik and Jatin - Lalit. She has worked with male playback singers including Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam. She has lent her voice to many Bollywood actresses like Shabana Azmi, Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala, Aishwarya Rai and Sridevi.
On November 11, 1999 she married violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. Since her marriage she moved on from singing in films primarily to also singing for other forms of music including fusion music. Some of her popular pop and devotional albums include “Koi Akela Kahan”, “Meera Ka Ram”, “Mahalakshmi Stotram”, “Pop Time”, “Sai Ka Vardaan”, “Shaguftagi”, “Dil Ki Awaaz”, “Athens”, “Asmita” and “Mahiya”. Her experiments also took her to television where she made appearances as a guest judge in reality shows.
Her talent received three Filmfare awards consecutively from 1995 to 1997 for “Pyaar Hua Chupke Se” (“1942: A Love Story”, 1994), “Mera Piya Ghar Aaya” (“Yaraana”, 1995) and “Aaj Main Upar” (“Khamoshi: The Musical”, 1996). She also won Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award in 2003 for “Dola Re Dola” from “Devdas” (2002), along with Shreya Ghoshal. Other awards she has won include Star Screen Awards (1997, 2000), Zee Cine Awards (2000, 2003), IIFA Award (2003), Yesudas Award (2008) by Swaralaya, Kishore Kumar Journalists/Critics Award in Calcutta (2002) and Bollywood Award (New York 2000, 2002).