Neeti Mohan has an incredibly likeable voice, there was not an ounce of doubt regarding that. Her breakthrough year, 2012 where she sang for Vishal-Shekhar in Ishq Wala Love and AR Rahman in Yash Chopra’s last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, won her the prestigious “Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent”. However, her MTV unplugged performance of Jiya Re Jiya turned out to be somewhat like Lana Del Rey’s Saturday Night Live catastrophe. Many thought that the singer was perhaps just a good voice who after some effort in the studio, can churn out good songs. Basically, average.
When composer Amit Trivedi wanted a voice that could sound like a mix between Asha Bhosle and Nina Simone, and one which could suit Anushka Sharma in Bombay Velvet, he decided to opt for Neeti Mohan. Trivedi admitted that for a cabaret vibe in the album, his only choice was Neeti. It was a smart decision from the National Award winner as the singer absolutely owns every single song she sang. She expresses pathos, anger, frustration, sultriness and an inebriated state with complete and utter conviction. This is just mindblowing singing.
The former Aasma vocalist has worked with a host of music directors this year. She sang alongside Sonu Nigam in Brothers track Sapna Jahan (for music director duo Ajay-Atul). She collaborated with Amit Trivedi once again in Shaandaar’s Nazdeekiyan. She sang for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in the Katti Batti track Sarfira. She also worked with AR Rahman in Tamil film I. These are just some notable mentions as Mohan recorded a lot of songs in 2015 and kept herself extremely busy. She is also a regular in AR Rahman’s live shows and boy, does she do a tremendous job in those!
Since there are so many female singers in Bollywood at the moment, and more coming with every film, there is little risk that Neeti will be overused. Fortunately, or not, this is not the time as far as a female singing monopoly is concerned as we saw with Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan and earlier with Alka Yagnik. It has continued in male singing as we see Arijit Singh sing almost every other song. That comes with a lot of risks given one can really be overused, Mohit Chauhan being the latest victim.
Despite so many other female singers in the film industry, which includes veterans like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shilpa Rao and Shefali Alvarez among others and novices like Sukriti Kakkar, Shweta Pandit and Shalmali Kholgade — all of whom sang in 2015 — the year belonged to one woman and one woman alone. Neeti Mohan, take a bow!