Neeti Mohan Curated

Indian Playback Singer

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Neeti Mohan have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Neeti Mohan's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming singers. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Your message to Voices?

    Lovely questions! Voices of youngsters, fresh minds, fresh piece of work. All the very best!

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  • What is Monali?

    A simple girl, with normal dreams, and a huge responsibility on her head.

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  • How was the experience of shooting your first video ever, the "Indian Idol" series 2 album?

    It was a wonderful experience, we had loads of fun shooting it. I was there in a major part of the video.

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  • Did you ever participate in any of the other reality shows like Fame Gurukul, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa?

    I came first in the Kolkata audition of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.

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  • We have heard you were a tomboy in school, tell us about some of your heroic feats. What happened in class XI?

    I used to go cycling everyday. I didn't like my cycle because it was a 'Ladybird'. I used to beg for gear cycles from my friends. I was good at basketball and was a champion in badminton. In class XI my best friend Ganges (Gangotri) was playing with a girl's key chain when the girl became hysterical and pulled her hair. I got furious and pulled her hair too and there was a huge fiasco.

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  • How will you use your celebrity status?

    I have a soft corner for old people and animals. I love when old people hug me. I don't know about the future, but these are certain areas that definitely concern me.

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  • We have heard or rather we have seen that celebrity-hood goes directly to the head. What do you have to say to this?

    Rubbish! Celebrity life to me is spending 16 hours in the recording studio, doing some shows here and there, and the rest of the time with family and friends. A person who is a top order celebrity and a very busy artist has several appointments, a lot of work occupies their time. Due to some reason if a certain appointment is delayed the entire schedule gets delayed and that person can't give the time expected, but one can't call it a tantrum.

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  • Five years hence: Monali as a singer, Monali as an actor, or Monali as a singer-actor?

    Monali is a singer first and an actor later. Music is and always will be my first priority.

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  • Do you think you are a versatile singer or is there a certain genre of songs that suits your voice?

    Obviously I am versatile.

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  • How did you console yourself when you came to know that you had been voted out of Indian Idol?

    I started smiling after a while. I knew people had a lot of expectations from me. Now I have to work more hard and I'll go to Mumbai for my own struggle.

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  • Your father's contribution to your career and interests?

    My father contributed mainly to my academics. He was a student of chemistry. Now a certain reaction can be done in a number of ways and if I didn't use his technique it would result into a 'kurukshetra'! Career wise definitely it is both his and my mother's support that has worked wonders. It is their dream for me that gives me the drive to work hard. My father lives for me. I know how much he suffers if he sees me hurt.

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  • If you are a given a chance to conceptualise a show named Indian Idol (it may or may not be a musical show) what would it be?

    Let me think, that's a tough one. My show will have 'n' number of episodes and 'n' number of rounds. In one round one will have to show how much one can sing. In another round one will showcase his or her dancing skills. In another one will have to do anchoring, again different ways of asking for votes, makeover magic, publicise the sponsors, so on and so forth.

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  • Do you think the process of Indian Idol and such other reality shows are right, because they have the risk of voting out a better contestant?

    Well, it is an international format and before we join we are already aware and prepared with its method. And obviously luck is also a very big factor.

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  • Did the character of Indu that you played give anything back to you in return, in terms of opportunities, a certain way of thinking, fans, etc?

    Yes, it definitely did. I became very popular with elderly viewers, and yes, everyone appreciated my performance. It made me more sincere, hardworking and also I got to know the industry. I would often unconsciously imbibe acting skills from people I worked with.

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  • Is it true that you were spotted for 'Alokito Ek Indu' during a function at St. Paul's Cathedral? Did they know you were Shakti Thakur's daughter?

    Shubhashishda, the ex-scriptwriter of 'Alokito Ek Indu' spotted me at a function at St. Paul's Cathedral on Christmas eve. No, he didn't know about my father, he came to know that later.

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  • From what age have you been taking classical training and from whom?

    From the age of five. I took training from Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and later on from Pandit Jagdish Prasad, who prepared my voice for playback.

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  • You gave up Physics to pursue a musical career, but there are people who give up their passion for a secure career. What do you have to say about this?

    I have always listened to my heart and touch-wood, my parents have always been very supportive. They have always let me take my own decisions, even taking part in Indian Idol. Those who have to give up their passions for parental pressure its unfortunate for them, but if it is out of personal choice then it's personal priority, I can't say anything about it.

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  • How important is 'dreaming' in one's life?

    Yes, dreaming is very essential in life, without dreams life would have been hopeless. On a philosophical note, life is not all about dreaming but an imaginary shell bound by tough realities, and in the course of pursuing that dream we miss out on a lot of things. What are you missing out now? For my passion (music) I may miss college for sometime, otherwise it is definitely the good old times in school, the fun, the mischief.

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  • Your sister Shakti Mohan is also a judge on a dance reality show, have you taken any tips from her?

    Shakti asked me to be myself. And to just show the contestant genuine love. If I fall in love with a kid's voice, I would definitely tell him/her that.

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  • An old song you would have loved to lend your voice to?

    Songs from Guide and Lekin, along with semi classical songs. I used to listen to them and prepare for my school competitions. I used to take up tough songs so that I could win the trophy. I was very competitive.

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  • Tell us, how were you as a kid...

    As a kid, I used to hang around music or live bands. Whenever my parents and I used to attend weddings and if I wasn't around them, they knew where to find me. Along with my sisters, I used to be near the Dj or the music system. I think that was my identity and my parents learned that I was a music-lover. If there was a Madhuri Dixit song playing, my sisters and I would try to copy those steps. We used to make our bed a stage and also turn old clothes into costumes. Those were the best days.

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  • Tell us about your songs ‘Kithe Reh Gaya’ and ‘First Class’ from ‘Kalank’.

    My single Kithe Reh Gaya released in February this year which is a fun, wedding celebration kind of song, shot in Patiala. The song has received very good response and crossed 30M views in 2 months, which is great for an independent non-film song. I wish to do more independent songs in future. It was an honor to work with Pritam Da again on Kalank. First Class is a very peppy song and doing very well. The way Varun & Kiara have got the essence of the song and have performed, people are loving it.

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  • Who all are your influences and favourite contemporary singers & music directors?

    I have grown up listening to Lataji, Ashaji, Kishore Kumar, Mohmd. Rafi and Abida Parveen whom I truly admire. In contemporary singers, I love all of them because they all bring something new. I like Arijit, Harshdeep and Jonita, we are good friends too. In music directors, I have enjoyed working with AR Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, Pritam & Salim-Sulaiman, and they all have their unique styles of working.

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  • What advice you would like to give to the aspirants of Reality Shows?

    Be original, don’t try to sound like someone else and just have faith in your talent.

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  • You have been a coach in ‘The Voice’, what is your process of judging a contestant?

    I know what it feels like to stand on a stage and perform. Now when i am sitting on the other side of the table and see an artist performing, I just try to encourage them. I see that they have so many dreams in their eyes, they have come from their hometowns, sometimes their parents are with them. So many emotions are involved and this is a matter of their careers. I believe that if you encourage people, they can do wonders. I just want to do that, so that everyone can achieve their dreams.

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  • How was your experience with ‘Bombay Velvet’ performing Jazz numbers?

    Jazz was not something I ever attempted before so I was very excited when I was called by Amit Trivedi to be the voice of Bombay Velvet. Amit introduced me to the world of 60s jazz. I also did workshops to learn voice modulation. I was following some singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Louies Daniel Armstrong and learning how they pronounce certain words and how they emote.

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  • ‘Student of the Year’ was your debut in Bollywood. How a Bollywood hit was different from all the work you did before?

    Playback is different because it’s about a situation, and using in a way that it compliments the face of the person on the screen. I believe in trusting the music director and singing just the way director wants me to sing. For Student of the Year, I was supposed to sing in a low, husky voice and I trusted my music directors Vishal and Shekhar completely. It was my first song and it opened so many doors for me.

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  • What impact AR Rahman had on your career?

    Rahman Sir is my guru, mentor, and someone I always look up to. He is responsible for changing my outlook towards life. I always wanted to work with him, be around him so that I can learn from him. In last 10 years, I have been a part of his band, travelled the world with him and have done more than 150 concerts which is an absolute honor. He inspires me to become a better musician and a more responsible human being. It’s only because of him that I started singing in Tamil and Telugu; he believes that music holds no barriers.

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  • How did the band ‘Asma’ come together and why was it so short-lived?

    We were four strangers who met on the show and later went on to form a band together. We also lived together for 3 years and it was the most amazing experience. We played as a band for sometime but didn’t get enough opportunities to do stuff together. That was the time when pop era in India was on a decline and only film music was surviving so we had to look for individual projects. We continued doing gigs together whenever we found a chance. We are still best of the friends – I, Vasudha, Jimmy and Sangeet, we also attended each other’s marriages.

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  • How did you acquire an interest in Music?

    It was very natural as I always felt drawn towards performing arts right from the beginning. Be it school, college or family functions, I would always find myself surrounded with Music.

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  • What is your message to your fans?

    You all must love your parents even if you are busy with your work! Tell them you love them! Enjoy music as it is your best friend! Stay in touch with music and your parents!

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  • Tell us about the role your close family and friends have played in your musical journey.

    My sisters are my best friends and they are the ones who stood in line for me for Pop stars and said they wanted me to go for this and had faith in me and parents who have always stood by me!

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  • Can you tell us your most embarrassing and your most funny fan moment in your live gigs journey.

    Some of the funny things I see almost on a daily basis on my fan page. There are some people who write about my song, some about my looks and some about a concert they attended and some just write random things like sending their own pictures and posing for you asking “Will you marry me”, “I want to marriage you”, “ I have a crash on you” (Laughs). So sometimes, the language I find very funny! During the gigs, some people are just obsessed with fast music and when I sing a balled they ask me to sing a fast song and when I do so, they ask me to sing a faster song. The same person would ask me to sing even faster and that makes me wonder if that person really wants to go on a tredmill right now because I don’t think there is something faster than your heartbeat. I find that funny! They are all enduring and leave a mark on you!

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  • You have won quite a lot of awards for your songs in the commercial space. Which has been the most special one and why?

    Awards really encourage you a lot and when I won Filmfare RD Burban awards and I did not expect it at all considering that particular award is given to the brightest and youngest talent. I am a huge admirer of RD Burman saab and getting an award with that tag attached to it is something that will always be special for me. The first recipient of that award was Rahman sir and people who have won that award are very talented and I am a huge fan of all of them. This award will always be special.

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  • Who has been your greatest source of inspiration in your career and why?

    My parents! We come from the middle class family from Delhi and in spite of having us four sisters, they never shied away from letting us be an artist. My biggest source of inspiration and support system comes from my parents.

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  • Is there one artist/composer that you’ve worked with who really made a mark in your career and helped you rise to where you are?

    Yes, I always dreamt of working with AR Rahman sir and I got to work with him and still do. I really have huge respect and love for him. He is my guru, my guide and my coach for life. He has changed me as a person for the better and I owe it to him. One of my first songs was for him and you can imagine the impact he has had. I have known him for seven years and still perform with him and there is so much more to learn from the legend himself.

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  • In your opinion, do you think there is enough scope in India for Independent musicians in contrast to film music?

    Well, I think there was a time when two separate industries (Independent and Film) were existing together. Independent music was at its peak in the 90s when film music was doing its own thing. And then for about ten to fifteen years, there was no independent music and film music took over. Thank to internet, now independent music and musicians are back. You can listen to anyone online and be updated about their music in a second. It is back and is meant to stay!

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  • What is your personal opinion on the reality shows in India? Do you think they produce great talent and provide a good platform for aspiring musicians?

    You know me and my sisters, popularly known as the ‘Mohan Sisters’ are all currently in Mumbai and we have our career in this industry because of reality shows. If not for that, I would not have gone to Channel V Popstars, Shakti would not have gone to Dance India Dance and Mukti would not have gone to Zara Nachke Dikha. So somewhere, three of us are in a way an example to the rest where if you don’t come from a family of musicians or stars, you can still dare to be a star. You can be what you want to be if you have strong faith in yourself, train well and meet the right people and humble and take advice from parents. Even if you don’t win, doesn’t mean you have lost for the rest of your life. Even a failure is a stepping stone. It is fantastic to be part of reality shows.

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  • You are now mentoring kids at The Voice India kids, how is the experience so far and what is your learning from this?

    It is one of the finest experiences for me to be a mentor on a show because all this while, I have had mentors shaping and molding me to be a better human being. Now it is an opportunity for me to impart to kids what I have learnt and be there for them to do more music and learn and perform each time with all their heart and soul. It is so nice to be able to give it back to them and it makes one more sensitive. I am grateful to Voice of India for giving me this opportunity in helping these kids. I will always be like a proud mother to these kids even if I meet them after ten years when they would be superstars. I would feel happy that I was a small part of their journey and helped nurture this plant that make them massive big stars by then.

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  • You have sung across multiple languages and genres. How do you manage to overcome the barriers?

    I found it difficult in the beginning as I come from a Hindi speaking family. When I started performing with AR Rahman sir, I was given few lines to sing in Tamil and it was very difficult for me. I come from North and have nothing to do with South. I feel very lucky that I got a chance to sing in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Kannada. India is very rich in terms of its cultures, languages, and music forms. I have learned it from AR sir that music has no language and that is how I overcame this barrier of language and genres of music.

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  • We have heard that you are a very good dancer as well and in your school days also been a part of the NCC Cadet. Can you elaborate a bit more on these for us to know what a complete talented package you are?

    I was always drawn towards singing, dancing and acting together. Watching musicals was something I loved doing. Whenever I watched Indian movies, nobody told me that the singer, actor and choreographer were all different. I thought one person did it all. I wanted to be that and by the time I realized, it was a huge shock for me. I still find it amusing that most kids think that the actors are singing themselves. For me, I could never separate singing from dancing. I always feel that while singing, you are expressing an emotion. For that, you use your face and body and not sing just from your throat. That is what makes me feel the song more. I can’t otherwise feel it. I was a part of my school band and that was part of NCC. Through that, I learned how to fire a riffle, I went camping and it is amazing as you are very close to living an army life. Those made me change my life and become focused and disciplined. Sometimes music and dancing makes you happy. Without discipline in music, it’s tough to train and be serious about what you do. It was interesting for me to do singing, dancing and NCC altogether. That made me interested in studies too.

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  • You were one of the winners at Channel V’s Pop Stars. Was this a good start in your opinion?

    There would not have been any other way for me to enter the industry as I don’t come from a family of musicians and it was a huge opportunity for me and to be a girl next door and be called as the country’s pop star and perform in concerts all over the world.

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  • Tell us about your musical journey and how it all started.

    Since I was a child, I was always drawn towards music and was lucky that my parents never stopped me from being on stage, perform and participate in competitions. In fact, nobody from my family are into music or musicians and that is why I consider myself very lucky that my parents never stopped me. They always appreciated that I was so excited to perform, sing, and learn music. During school and college, I kept learning music and Indian Classical Music was the most important thing at that time. I listened to a lot of Bhajans. My parents exposed me to some Gazzals by Jagjit Ji and I was drawn a lot towards semi-classical songs. I always liked to sing tougher songs. That is how it all started. Finally, in college I got a teacher to train and I took part in Pop Stars.

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