Mohit Chauhan, a leading playback singer in the Bollywood industry, is much more than you could even think of. He’s intoxicating and earthly at the same time. The texture in his voice takes you to places, the silken melodies heighten your emotions—his songs have a soul and man, I would give anything to live with it. The “Dooba Dooba” singer is such a rage among the audience that not a single year has gone by since 2006 without him churning out a hit song.
Mohit arrived at the scene with his Indipop band ‘Silk Route’ in 1998 and he was climbing the ladder with each song—the Bollywood hits like “Khoon Chala” (Rang De Basanti), “Tum Se Hi” (Jab We Met), “Masakali” (Delhi-6). But it was Rockstar that proved to be a game changer.
In an interview to InUth, Mohit shares his motivation and his childhood memories, when he used to run to the hills and be lost in the grandeur beauty that it offered. Excerpts:
Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar—There’s a lot to learn from them. The pronunciation of each Lafz (word), the way it’s been stretched, the soft and loud music: you listen and enjoy but subconsciously, you learn the technique.
Apart from that, I’ve listened to a lot of classics. The ghazals from Indian films, Mehdi Hassan, (Nusrat Fateh Ali) Khan saheb, Ghulam Ali, Ahmed Hussain-Mohammed Hussain, Jagjit Singh—these music coupled with the scenic beauty of Himachal made me hum along.
Parents’ reaction to his music
Fortunately, they allowed me to sing but not at the cost of my studies. They weren’t sure about the future of music and so, they wanted me to study.
I used to venture out in the hills, set up a camp in the jungle, and didn’t come down for a week. We cooked, we sang, we enjoyed.
Bollywood vs Independent music
Non-film music has had a robust phase as well. Our band, Silk Route, featured artists from the country as well as from Pakistan and was accepted well by the people so much so that even Bollywood’s playback singers, Sonu Nigam and Asha Bhonsle, recorded albums.
Our film industry is huge, and so are the budgets. The songs therein are marketed very strongly, and therefore, it reaches to people swiftly. But if you can connect with people in any way possible through your song and your grace, I believe that’s the way it reaches to people. It sticks there, into their heart and subconscious.
On relationship and marriage
In my school and college days, I was more reserved. Yeah, I hung around with my friends, but I prefer solitude and that’s the way I spent my life.
I thought it would’ve been very cliche had I proposed to my wife by singing one of my love tracks. We became friends first. She is a journalist and I had first met her a long time back when she was writing an article on music and she had to cover a few artists.
Your music apart from the obvious
I compose music. My first solo album Fitoor—all the ten songs were composed by me. I also composed the music album Kalam: Six Inspiring Poems for Young India, which was penned by the former President, APJ Abdul Kalam.
On the digital space, I recorded and released a jam session with a guitar and mouth organ to spread love to my ever growing audience. People can listen to my songs that I generally avoid in concerts—pure, plain, unadulterated.
Here’s the full interview with Mohit Chauhan:
Text: Mayank Mohanti