Acclaimed Bollywood playback singer Mohit Chauhan has the record of not letting one year go without churning out a hit song. It has been over a decade that the singer has been winning hearts with his earthy voice. But few would know that music was not something that Mohit was keen on taking up as a career. Rather his plans were opposite — to join the Indian Armed Forces. In our recent conversation with the singer, we discovered this secret, which he can’t stop talking about. “A lot of my friends joined the Army. Actually, in the hills, a lot of people join the Army,” says the artiste, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, and tells us that growing up he was surrounded by Army officers, which fascinated him toward the forces.
But it seems like God had something else planned for him. Instead of taking the military route, he joined the Silk Route band as the lead vocalist and belted out hits like Dooba Dooba from the album Boondein in 1998. Mohit touched new heights of success solely with his voice. However, the singer shares he is still keen on joining the forces if allowed. “Even now if the Army allows, I would love to join as a Territorial Army soldier,” says the singer, and reveals that he was part of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in college. “I would go for shooting practices and participate in parades," he recalls with a smile.
Although Mohit's destiny took him on a different path, his love for the nation and the forces hasn’t changed a bit. Mohit says he tries to do his bit for the nation through music. His new track, Ae Watan, which he recently released on YouTube, is a tribute to India’s Armed Forces and their sacrifices for the nation. “After a long time, I heard a patriotic song with real and deep feelings of passion and patriotism, so I agreed to do the song,” explains the singer, and urges everyone to stand by the forces and the nation. “You don't get to sing patriotic songs often. All of us need to stand by our country and do whatever we can to make it a better place. I felt this when I did the song,” he adds.
In recent years, Mohit has also performed for the armed forces. “It was a moment of pride for me to be able to sing for the jawans, who were on the frontier posts as high as 16,000 feet. At such altitudes, singing can be difficult, but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” shares Mohit.
Apart from living his lifelong dream in some way, Mohit has been extending help to the ones in need during the pandemic through his music. The singer released an updated version of Kahin Na Jaa from the 1983 release Bade Dilwala to cheer those who were coping with the loss of their loved ones during the pandemic.
“The song has a nostalgic value to it. I came up with the song when the government was telling everyone to stay at home and mask up,” Mohit says, adding that he also tried to feed stray animals during the lockdown. “I took up the initiative to feed 150 to 200 stray animals. I even started a project called Bajrangi to help people with concentrators, oxygen cylinders, and masks,” he shares.
Mohit has also been distributing food packets to folk musicians under this project. “For the past two years, folk musicians have been completely out of work. Hence, I have been sending food packets to hundreds of folk musicians in Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and other parts of the country,” he reveals.
Although the pandemic has changed things and slowed down all the industries, Mohit continued virtual concerts, which he says were a different experience. “It’s not the same as performing in front of a live audience. When you sing online, you don't get to see the audience. Hopefully, concerts will start soon. It will be great to go out, be on stage and perform for the people and to have a live audience,” expresses the singer.
As of now, Mohit has been working on some new projects, which include singles and films. “I am putting down my songs and making a list of my creations that I would like to release soon,” says Mohit, who has the credit of giving hits with A R Rahman like Masakali from Delhi 6, Tum Ho and Sadda Haq from Rockstar. But does he have any plans to collaborate with the maestro again? “I think so, but I'll talk about it when the time comes,” he says.
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