MUSIC These are good times for a singer, says Mohit Chauhan
Rolling in success and basking in glory. For an admirer and a fan, that’s where singer Mohit Chauhan is but for a creative soul when has a quest of that kind ended. So the journey goes on for Mohit, from the times when he would have to make do with composing jingles and music for documentaries to being the latest rage in Hindi film music industry.
It could be his roots, his growing up in close proximity to nature — he is a native of Nahan in Himachal Pradesh — that doesn’t let him get overwhelmed with success. “The journey is still on. Interesting things are happening. I am getting to work with some good musicians, artistes and composers. With my latest song ‘saans’ (a duet with Shreya Ghoshal in Shah Rukh Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan ), I got a chance to be associated with a Yash Chopra project. So it feels nice,” says the singer.
Living the dream
It all seems to be coming together for the singer whose voice got registered in public memory with “Dooba Dooba”, a track from Silk Route’s album “Boondein”. An habitant of Delhi then, he had co-founded the band Silk Route with Atul Mittal and Kem Trivedi, and the song went on to become a roaring hit. It follows him to date, wherever he goes. Back then, music lovers went into a tizzy with the unusual composition and a novel video. “People began to recognise us on the roads. Personally for me, for having been able to release an album was like a dream come true. To be recording your first song in a professional studio was a big thing,” Mohit recalls.
The band that operated out of their pad in Patparganj disbanded only to take him to other territories. “It wasn’t a happy feeling but like as they say, the show must go on. All those associated with it continued working.”
Planning never found a place in Mohit’s scheme of things, so Bollywood happened just by chance, as if it had to. “If I had planned to be a singer, I would have got trained. In fact, I was more into theatre and plays while growing up. I even attended a NSD theatre workshop in Himachal. I would trek, roam around, act in plays but never thought of becoming a singer. I was singing but for myself.”
The facts — he holds a bachelor’s degree in Science and master’s in Geology from Dharamsala College in Nahan — substantiates his claim. Soon after his master’s, he landed up in Delhi and that too without any plan. “I came here looking for work but what kind of work I didn’t know. I was offered a jingle and that led to another one followed by composing music for documentaries. It got me in contact with other artistes on the scene. We would meet, jam up and that’s how Silk Route was formed,” reminisces the artiste who spent about five years in the city and holds it dear to his heart for the times it offered him.
“Those were the interesting days. We would practice at our pad and we will try to keep it very low so as not to disturb the neighbours but still people could hear it. But nobody ever complained.”
In films, his innings got kicked off with “Khoon chala” in Rang De Basanti followed by “Tum se hi” in Jab We Met , Masakali in Delhi-6 , “Ye dooriyan” in Luv Aaj Kal , “Pehli baar mohabbat ki hai” in Kaminey , “Pee loon” in Once Upon A Time in Mumbai , “Yun hi” in Tanu Weds Manu and many more.
“‘Masakali’ got me my first Filmfare Award and ‘Ye dooriyan’ got me Producers Guild Award (Apsara Film and Television Producers Guild Awards). I sang so many beautiful compositions but Rockstar was indeed magic,” says Mohit responding to the question of what did this film did for him. Laced with A.R. Rahman’s music, the Ranbir Kapoor starrer, he says, provided him with a canvas in totality.
“Usually what happens is, one song is given to one singer, another to a different one and so on but here I got to sing each and every song in the film. It was a big high for me and I consider myself very fortunate for that opportunity. I was singing a romantic number and then I was singing a rock number full of angst; another one was a Sufi song…so I got to display my entire range within a single framework. It was a blessing.”
The artiste also gives credit to the composers who aren’t shying away from experimenting and creating a space which is conducive for people with unusual voices to flourish.