METRO PLUS

Transcending boundaries

Mesmerising Anita Kuppusamy

Mesmerising Anita Kuppusamy   | Photo Credit: Photo: M. MOORTHY



Anita Kuppusamy has come a long way from a conservative background that did not allow girls to sing



Folk music singer. Television Host. School Correspondent. Devoted Wife. Anita Kuppusamy, took up ‘Naatupura Isai’ as her career after getting married to Pushpavanam Kuppusamy. Folk music found a new definition and Anita carved a niche of her own, making a mark in every field she entered. You can call her a destiny’s child. Belonging to an Aggarwal family in Lucknow, she was born in Bangalore and brought up in Mettupalayam.

“I come from a conservative family and my grandfather would not even entertain girls singing in our family and the only song we were allowed to sing was ‘Om Jai Jagdeesh Hare’ during the puja aarti. But, I secretly pursued music,” she says . Right from her childhood, she received accolades in every singing competition she participated in. She dreamt of becoming a singer. With great difficulty, she managed to convince her family that her true calling in life was music and she intended to do her Masters in music at the University of Madras, Chennai. To chase her dreams, driven by hope and with stars in her eyes, she left for the metro city.

Pushpavanam Kuppusamy was also a student of music, at the University and the couple initially started off as singing partners in Natupura Pattu in various competitions and concerts. Call it karma, and they ended up becoming life partners .

She learnt folk music from her husband and sings Tamil songs with great élan with clear pronunciation and diction. She believes folk music is the Thaai (mother), Carnatic music the Magal (daughter) and film music the Marumagal (daughter-in-law) all belonging to the same family of music. “I love our folk music for its simplicity and the grammar of this music is bound by our soil’s culture and tradition. Also, I began to understand the importance of this music as it values relationships more than anything else in the songs,” she says. Anita enjoys singing songs with a message and has lent her voice to several such especially about AIDS, dowry, smoking, drinking, female infanticide, child labour, importance of education for girls, breast feeding, and so on.

Anita firmly believes that folk music still holds currency amongst the younger generation and will continue to do so. “It is ‘yeh dil maange more’ for the youth when it comes to folk music. We are always applauded by the young people and they always ask us for more at our concerts,” she says. She has been hosting a popular children’s program on TV for quite some time now. Also, she is highly appreciative of young talented singers while judging a singing competition.

Her piece of advice to the budding singers is: “Be original and practise a lot as this will take you far.”

Inspiration

Anita says her greatest inspiration in life is her grandmother who was an embodiment of patience, sacrifice and goodness. As a tribute, she has recently started a school named after her , called the Poonam Industrial School in Kumbakonam, with the intent of making every woman stand on her feet and be successful. The school teaches cooking, Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam, tailoring, Aari and Zardosi work, mehendi and bindi designing, painting and handicraft. It also includes a beauty school, nursery and a play school.

“The school is a small effort to make every woman capable of becoming an entrepreneur and emerge more confident and complete.” I thought of Kumbakonam because my sisters are settled there and give me a lending hand in running the school.” The couple plans to approach the Government with a request to start a Department of Folk Arts in Colleges, as this could be a step towards preserving the traditional arts and passing them on to successive generations. Anita’s eyes light up when she talks about her two daughters — Pallavi, 14, and Meha, 3 — whom she describes as a “source of boundless joy.”

Anita loves to read books on mythology and history while keeping a tab on current affairs.

She finds solace in the songs of Lata Mangeshkar. She enjoys cooking, too when she is free.She makes it a point to spend time with her children and family, whenever time permits.

“My family is the anchor in my life and my greatest strength. When I am at home I am just a regular wife and mother,” she says.



SUKANYA CHELLAPPA

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