In 2003, Neeti Mohan emerged on the music scene as part of a pop band called Aasma. Since then, she has sung several chartbusters, including ‘Ishq wala love’ (Student of the Year; 2012), ‘Jiya re’ (Jab Tak Hai Jaan; 2012) and ‘Sapna jahan’ (Brother; 2015), among others. She recently released a single, which is a new version of the yesteryear track ‘Pyaar manga hai’. Here, Neeti talks about how she enjoys performing live, her idol Lata Mangeshkar, and more.
Several reality show winners enter Bollywood every year, but only a few make it big. Is it tough to make a mark in the industry?
When you dream about something, it always looks difficult to achieve. A part of you always feels, “No one in my family is a singer, so how would I become a playback singer, or how would I perform on stage?” But another part of you says, “I am born to do this, and there is nothing else I want to do.” You have to keep learning. You have to have faith in yourself, and you have to connect with the right people. I didn’t follow success, I just kept learning.
Are you considering forming a band of your own?
I do have a band for my gigs. I have musicians playing for me. But a pop band, where there are other singers? No, I don’t see that happening. I have my own songs, and I perform those at concerts.
What do you enjoy more — recording a song in a studio or live performances?
Both the experiences are very different. In a studio, you are designing the song. You are taking instructions from the music director, from the film director and from the lyricist. But when you are performing live, you make sure that the audience is connecting with you. It is a great experience. When the same song you have sung becomes so popular that people sing along with you, it feels awesome.
You have worked with AR Rahman a couple of times. Is he different in the studio as compared to on stage?
He is a performer on stage. He performs the songs, follows the choreography, and looks at you and smiles. It’s such a different side of him. In the studio, he is always giving directions. On stage, he gives you the freedom to be yourself.
Will you ever consider acting in films?
I have received some acting offers, but I haven’t found anything interesting yet. I think I am more of a musician at heart. There is nothing else that gives me as much happiness as singing. But if at all I am offered a character I can connect to, I might give it a shot.
Both your sisters — Shakti Mohan and Mukti Mohan — are dancers. Any plans of collaborating with them on any project?
We would love to do something together, but we are not sure what. We definitely want to do something inspiring for women, something for the girl child. We want to continue inspiring girls and their parents to support their kids in whatever they dream of doing.
Do you have any idols in Bollywood?
Since childhood, I have been in awe of Lataji because of the kind of expertise she brought to playback singing. I am looking forward to an opportunity, to touch her feet and take her blessings.
Watch: Neeti Mohan sing ‘Sapna jahan’
Is there a particular genre you are most comfortable singing in?
I think, as a vocalist, I am open to every kind of song. I have sung love songs, dance numbers, and more. So, I enjoy different things. But melodies will always have a soft corner in my heart. Because the songs that stay with us are the ones that are melodious.