Voices

Lockdown Diary: “A Volcanic Song Release and Then Silence” – ‘Jwalamukhi’ Singer Poorvi Koutish

Bollywood playback singer Poorvi Koutish's song 'Jwalamukhi' released after a wait of two years. But live performances are now off-limits with the Covid-19 lockdown!

This article is part of our series ‘Lockdown Diary’, where we invite women in the creative fields to share their experiences at home during the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in India.

By Poorvi Koutish

My quarantine phase started on a weird note, like pretty much everything in my life. My song Jwalamukhi from the movie 99 Songs released (after a wait of than two years), and I performed at Mirchi Music Awards with AR Rahman, someone I’ve looked up to all my life.

I’ve always been a fan of ‘social distancing’. If I could wear one of those absurdly huge Victorian crinoline hats in public, especially in clubs, airports or Lokhandwala market, I would! Or a hula hoop for that matter.

But, right after the three song releases, social distancing was the only thing we were not prepared to give up. We were all set to perform our songs, in fact. And then erupted the real jwalamukhi (volcano) named Corona.

So the initial phase of quarantine for me was ‘silence’ after all those volcanic anticipations. And listening to 99 Songs album was like a hug (I feel grateful and blessed for it).

I am someone who is best friends with boredom. We see each other a lot! For me to stay at home (if not working) is like a curse as I’m not really a city person. I wish I was in the hills to run around in a lawn racing dogs. Yep, that’s the kind of quarantine life I wanted: ginger tea, dogs, winter sun, memes, no mosquitoes and some Billie Holiday playing in the background. Actually, forget quarantine, that’s the actual life I want at some point.

But here I am missing driving my car at 3 am post late-night recordings, those coffee and dessert evenings, Nagori chai… wow I hear myself in my head as I write this. I sound old, with mood swings, a head blasting with ideas and prayers for all this to end well.

The same work (recordings, writing, shoots, interviews, et cetera) are now all being done from home. One major change is gigs! I absolutely love performing live for my audience as that’s the only time I get to feel their response, the sing-along moments, my dumb jokes, clumsiness with heels (my heels! They probably think I died!), rehearsing with the band. Although we have social-media live platforms these days, concerts can’t be compared.

Poorvi Koutish

Good Lord, how I miss travelling. I cried a couple of days ago looking at my videos from a chocolate factory in Switzerland last year. It was a last-minute plan and I ended up covering four European cities. Now I can’t cover four blocks from my building.

But in all seriousness, this is a phase of creativity, sometimes overthinking, considering how we won’t be the same post this pandemic, how the entire focus has shifted to safety and survival, how we have been forced to re-evaluate a lot of things we thought we had figured out, from food to relationships. See? I can be philosophical! 

As for me, I’m getting back to producing my first EP, writing, recording, FaceTime meetings, pretending to understand my mom’s cooking, eating, waiting for my next song releases including Mera Naam Kizzie from Mukesh Chhabra’s directorial debut Dil Bechara, with music by AR Rahman, and the Tamil release of my song Netrikann from the movie Netrikann produced by an awesome friend Vignesh Shivan, directed by Milind Rao, with music by Girish Gopalakrishnan.

Also, I will remember my current house forever. It obviously loves me!

Poorvi Koutish is a Mumbai-based professional singer. She was a finalist in India’s biggest musical reality show Indian Idol 6, and has sung playback for the Bollywood films Sanju and Shaadi ke Side Effects besides others.

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