Padmashri Legends Pankaj Udhas and Kavita Krishnamurthy come together at the virtual edition of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The duo have a long association with Kala Ghoda as they studied together in St. Xavier’s College and used to squat at Elphinstone’s canteen The Log Cabin, and then spend time at The Rhythm House to get an opportunity to listen to new records at the booths at the milestone location.
Jehangir Art Gallery’s Samovar was another favourite hangout and they still remember the cuisine. “Our Kala Ghoda festival started in 1972,” reasons Pankaj Udhas. Unfortunately Rhythm House and Samovar don’t exist any more. Kavita Krishnamurthy speaks of her senior Pankaj Udhas and how they all looked up to him at college. “He has seen super stardom but it has never gone to his head. It is so difficult to become a star singing ghazals and it is an uphill task.”
Pankaj Udhas talks of the big college gang that used to sit below the trees and eat food from the tin roof canteen. “I was No. 1 in terms of bunking. I was a Science student, required 24×7 in class. My Botany Department would overlook canteen. My HOD Mr. Bhole used to see me laughing and the peon used to be sent to call me up,” he laughs.
Kavita Krishnamurthy speaks, “Farooq Sheikh was part of our college. One day he saw me with a long face. I told him my attendance is less as I do a lot of jingles and programmes, and had to bunk, but only for music. He spoke to the Principal and helped me. In my third year, he took sessions for me and helped me tide through. It was so nice of him,” she recalls.
Pankaj Udhas talks of how the dreamers who were part of Sangeet Mandal and Natya Mandal, used to dream together. “Right from Anuradha Paudwal nee Alka Nadkarni, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Nitin Ghat, Priti Moti Sagar Ranu Mukherjee (Hemant Kumar’s daughter), Natya Mandal had Farooq Sheikh, Smita Patil, Satish Shah who used to oscillate between Natya Mandal and Sangeet Mandal, Dalip Tahil, Shabana Azmi were senior to us, Anil Kapoor was junior to us… We all owe our encouragement to St. Xavier’s,” he recalls.
The duo also sang some amazing songs, keeping alive the joy of music that transported them in time. “St. Xavier’s has positive vibes that helped us all tide us through,” expresses Kavita Krishnamurthy.