Mohit Chauhan Curated
Indian Playback Singer
CURATED BY :
So when did it occur to you that you had become a musician?
It was in Delhi when I started doing jingles and making money through music. Before that, it was the usual business of wanting to get a government job for me too. I had to choose between being a copywriter and a music composer for jingles and chose the latter simply because at that time I thought it was better to be your own boss than be someone’s employee. It sounded cool. But I am happy I made that decision.
Silk Route still resounds freshness even after so many years of its disbanding. Why do you think a current lot of indie bands are unable to create that kind of magic?
When we started making music, we never thought of what genre our music will fit into or whether we will make it big or not. Music was all we wanted to create and nothing else mattered. Our music came right from the heart. I feel that honesty is missing these days. I recently met a young musician who wanted to be a drummer in a band because it’s glam and he will get a lot of female attention. But I feel you should be a musician first and then a rockstar. You should create music which comes from within and not bother about anything else. One has to create music with mass appeal and not something which is niche. With niche music, you will only go a small distance. It never occurred to me that I’d be a musician, I was just drunk on music, jamming with friends, chilling out with a lot of music around. But things just happened from then.
Your Bollywood career blossomed at an age when most singers’ careers are going downhill.
Well, I think things happen when they are supposed to. I am what I am or where I am in my career because of what I did before I came to Mumbai. Had I not spent those days in Delhi, Silk Route wouldn’t have happened, and things started rolling only when Silk Route became famous. Those were the days that taught me the struggles of life. The first time I entered a recording studio was in Delhi. I made friends with Pritam during one such recording session and met AR Rahman during an award function. This is where he told me that he would want to work with me and give me a call soon. It’s another matter that it took him five years to call me back, but the wait was worth it. Besides, I feel it turned out better for me that Mumbai happened much later in my life and I spent my early years in the hills which shaped my music.
Can you tell us something about your musical influence and inspiration?
As I was born and brought up in Himachal Pradesh, I used to listen to a lot of Hindi songs over radio apart from ghazals, western music and ‘Himachali’ folk songs.
Who are your favourite singers?
My personal favourites include JJ Cale, RD Burman, Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali.
Apart from music, what more interests you? If not a musician, what would you have been?
I like travelling, eating and relaxing at home. I really don’t know, maybe a farmer because I simply love nature!
Comparing independent projects with films, what is creatively more satisfying- cutting your own albums or playback singing for Bollywood flicks?
You see, in terms of creativity both are equally satisfying. The music album is for yourself where you compose songs and stuff like that and in films, you have a story, characters and songs penned by someone else.
You have worked with one of the biggest music directors of Bollywood AR Rahman in ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Delhi 6’. Tell us something about working with Rahman?
Yes, I have worked with AR Rahman in both the films and also did a reality show ‘Mission Ustaad’ where I was a contestant and Rahman was my judge. Rahman is a great man with an equally enormous sense of aesthetics.
Having lent your voice in flicks like ‘Road’, ‘Main Meri Patni Aur Woh’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Delhi 6’, ‘New York’, ‘Love Aaj Kal’ and the recent ‘Kaminey’, did you fear being typecast every time a music director approaches you with mushy romantic numbers?
There are a lot of new music directors coming in and people are exposed to new music and the new composers are experimenting with new sounds. About being typecast, I genuinely don’t feel so. You can see my repertoire, the kinds of songs I have done – ‘Dooba Dooba’, ‘Boondein’, ‘Khoon Chala’, ‘Masakkali’, ‘Tum Se Hi’, ‘Pehli Baar Mohabbat’ and so forth. I hardly think there is any similarity in terms of variety.