Songs of second innings

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi speaks of her return to singing after a long break

It is her new music release after a long spell of 18 years. But for singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, ‘Sawan Barse’ is more like a homecoming as she returns to her career as an independent music artiste.

“The last time I was promoting a single, I was pregnant with my daughter Kaveri,” laughs Suchitra, as we curl up for a chat in her cosy home in Andheri in suburban Mumbai. “Her little teenage friends now seem surprised to discover that I sing, and I have to remind them that I am where she got her talent from, after all!”

She attributes the long gap to her desire to play a full-time mom to Kaveri (whom she had with film-maker Shekhar Kapur). So everything that Suchitra did — from making aromatic candles to painting galore to writing a book to dabbling in theatre came secondary as the pursuits were worked around Kaveri’s schedule.

“I was not even comfortable leaving her and going out of Mumbai on work, though my parents chipped in aplenty and came over to stay with her,” confesses Suchitra. 

She experienced a big emotional blow when her sister passed away earlier this year. “I felt I had lost my voice and my confidence completely over the last few years,” she admits. “I never thought I would be able to sing again. It was a psychological block — call it an emotional voice paralysis. Technically and medically, my vocal chords were in tact, but yet, I just could not bring myself to sing. When people would ask me to sing, I would start suffering from severe anxiety, as if there was a noose being tightened around my neck, and then I would gradually start avoiding putting myself in such situations completely.”

A far cry from the chirpy girl she played in the blockbuster Kabhi Haan Kabhie Naa, where she was the lead opposite Shahrukh Khan.

Back to singing. It took tremendous resilience on her part, together with a sizable quantum of cajoling from her well-wishers around, to pick up the microphone again. The turning point came when she met her guruji a few years ago.

“Three years ago, I met my wonderful guruji, Ravi Juleji, who coaxed my voice back into shape with unfailing love and patience. I remember once, at riyaaz, he told me sweetly, ‘I am going to make you Suchitra Krishnamoorthi again. You have forgotten who you are, but we, lovers of music, still remember.’ Memories of that day still bring a lump to my throat,” shares Suchitra, her eyes gleaming with unshed tears.

So her new single, ‘Sawan Barse’, happened quite by chance. “I was attending a private film-screening and a day later, one of the music directors, Surya Vishwakarma, said on Facebook that he wanted to record a song with me. Though flattered, I was hesitant, but his persistence made me shelve my fears. We recorded the song in a couple of hours and it met with great response when I played it in front of my friends for their honest opinion. Believe me, it was such a victory, a relief when their faces broke into smiles,” she confesses with a laugh.

The concept of the video is “return to innocence.” It’s about reclaiming your essence, reclaiming the purity of childhood, reclaiming the love we owe ourselves. A perfect comeback for Suchitra as she reorganises her life with her 18-year-old flying the roost for studies abroad, while simultaneously carving her career.

Admittedly, the music scenario is radically different now than when she left it (after singing memorable numbers like ‘Dole Dole’ and other hummable pop songs during the 90s).

Suchitra is known for her signature candour, mincing no words in her memoir Drama Queen to quelling trolls and inane banter on social media. She constantly tells Kaveri to be fearless. “I feel the music business is vibrant, more flexible and much more fun. Everything is good and is getting better. I have always been an independent music artiste, and am now open to playback singing as well. Let us see where my career takes me in its second phase,” she sings, raring to go and soar to newer heights. What’s the next project going to be? A book? A play? An album? A movie? “Wait and watch,” smiles the dilettante. We wish you cartfuls of luck because you deserve it.

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Songs of second innings

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