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Jaya Kitchlu

Arts & Expression, South Asian, Media

Jeng Yi Drummers - Photographer: David Hou

Over the last thirty years Jaya Kitchlu has acquired vast experience in the broadcasting and entertainment industries. Her career commenced in India with broadcasting for All India Radio as well as starring in theatrical performances. Upon moving to Canada, she continued in this field by hosting a radio program, called Madhuban, and compering various concerts and stage performances. After completing training in television broadcasting at Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, she assumed the role of host and co-producer of a television program, Madhuban Doordarshan. This position gave her the opportunity to interview many distinguished guests, including local and international celebrities and dignitaries. Building on this television experience, she accepted acting roles in a CBC television serial production and several locally produced feature films. Some of these roles have included appearances in the television serials Queer As Folk, This is Wonderland and The Newsroom. Her motion picture roles include That Touch of Pink and My Own Country. Pursuant to her career as a dramatic theatre artist in India, she also performed in a Toronto live production of Anarkali, which was attended by hundreds of audience members.

View a short clip of the May 3, 1992 episode of Madhuban Doordarshan hosted and co-produced by Jaya Kitchlu

(WMV format - 9.8MB download)0.42 min
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Portrait of Jaya Kitchlu in Greeting Pose

Recently, much of her career has been focused on musical performances with an emphasis on singing and compering. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as a professional singer, having performed in Canada, the USA and Jamaica. One of the highlights of this musical career was the performance given with Mr. Manna Dey, a renowned and celebrated singer from the Indian film industry, in August 2000. Her collection of private songs, entitled Shireen, has received much appreciation. In addition, she has expanded the scope of her musical career through her involvement in several feature films as a playback singer, and by performing in and producing commercials and jingles to promote products on radio and television. Her performances have been documented in several national and ethnic publications, including The Toronto Star, The Weekly Voice, Suhaag Magazine, Mehfil Magazine, Canadian Music Network and India Journal.

Yun Hasraton Ke Daag, song performed by Jaya Kitchlu.(WMV format - 26MB download) 2.10 min
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Jaya Kitchlu during a performance

Jaya Kitchlu has used her career in the entertainment industry and her prominence within Indo-Canadian circles to also give back to the community. She has given several live performances at fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society as well as at various cultural festivals promoting South Asian Heritage in Canada. In addition, proceeds from several of her live performances have gone to help people displaced from natural disasters in various parts of the world, as well as people from war-torn countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Jaya has also done several musical programs for various Hindu temples in Ontario, Quebec and the United States, including the Hindu Sabha Mandir (Brampton), Vishnu Mandir (Toronto), the Hindu Temple of Rochester (Rochester, NY), Pranavananda Ashram (Toronto), Hindu Mandir and Cultural Centre (Mississauga) and the Hindu Mandir (Montreal). In addition, Jaya has regularly participated in many events to celebrate India's Independence Day.

In 2008, Jaya returned to the airwaves as a radio broadcaster for DesiAM 770. Her nightly radio programme was very well received, and her live call-in show was regularly flooded with calls from loyal fans who were drawn back to her radio and television broadcasting from the 1970s onwards.

Portrait of Jaya Kitchlu

Ms. Prabati Sen Vyas, Deputy High Commissioner at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has praised Jaya Kitchlu, stating that 'her invaluable contributions to the Indo-Canadian community in Ottawa and around the country have shone a bright light on Indian arts and culture for all Canadians to appreciate.' The Deputy High Commissioner attended one of Mrs. Kitchlu's performances for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ottawa, held in 2000.

Ms. Vyas' sentiments were echoed by Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Consul for Cultural Matters at the Indian Consulate General in Toronto, at an event entitled the South Asians in Ontario Indian Independence Day Celebration in 2002. Mr. Kumar offered Mrs. Kitchlu and all of the performers at this event his 'warmest thanks and appreciation to all Indo-Canadians who use their skills and talents to promote the Indian culture in Canada.'

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