The Mountain Musician

Singer Mohit Chauhan hopes to create a Pahadi album with folk artistes from Himachal Pradesh

Published: April 1, 2013 11:13:22 pm

ALTHOUGH it was his first visit to the Baddi University near Solan on Saturday,whenever Mohit Chauhan comes to north India,it’s a sort of homecoming for the singer. “I belong to Nahan in Himachal Pradesh and have an old connection with Chandigarh. I simply love coming here,” said the singer,who stopped by at JW Marriott Chandigarh for an interaction before proceeding to Baddi. “My younger sister used to study at Panjab University and I remember visiting her and catching English films at KC cinema in Sector 17,” reminisced Chauhan.

Chauhan may be busy with a host of Bollywood projects,but he is keen to put together an album. The last one,Fitoor,was released two years ago. “The latest one,it’s untitled yet,will be out later this year. But what I really want to do now is explore my roots,my Pahadi music and collaborate with folk artistes in Himachal Pradesh,” said the singer,who grew up on folk music. “Pahadi music is mostly in Devnagari script,which is Hindi and comprehensible. Also,what draws me to this music is its expanse,its serenity and sensitivity that touches the heart,” said the singer. Chauhan recalled that a couple of years back,he and a friend travelled the length and breadth of Himachal in search of this music. “We drove on a scooter,went to villages,the interiors,and met with farmers,locals,musicians and recorded the music,lyrics and compositions in a file and made a report too. I still have it and it is time to revisit it,” said Chauhan,who added that one really doesn’t have to learn music to be a singer. “Folk musicians are not trained. They are born singers,it’s in their blood,in their culture,and that’s why music is the finest of fine arts. Its connection is with the soul,” he said.

Chauhan was appointed World Voice Champion,an ambassador for music under the World Voice Programme,a pilot project of the Conference on Arts Education,which is a pioneering initiative by the British Council and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). This conference brings together experts from the UK and India to support the Indian government in its mission to promote education for all in a creative and effective manner. “It just happened this month and this project is an experiment by the British Council and NCERT to promote music and arts in schools. I feel it is very important in personality development,in expanding the imagination and sensitivity in a child,” said the singer.

The film Rockstar remains close to his heart. “It is rare that in today’s times a singer gets to sing all the songs in a film. Rockstar was amazing,and after that Barfi! too. I have a great connection with Pritam,” said the versatile singer. Singing for different music directors,he admitted,is a challenge in itself as one has to adapt and adjust accordingly. His playlist contains his favourites,Kun faya and Phir se ud chala from Rockstar,but ask him about his career defining song,and he lists many. “There was my first song Pehli nazar main,a duet with Sunidhi Chauhan from the film Road,then came Khoon chala from Rang De Basanti which was a game changer,followed by Tum se hi from Jab We Met and my first Filmfare winner,Masakali from Delhi 6,” concludes Chauhan.

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