The language of music

Neeti Mohan, Singer

Neeti Mohan is one of the most versatile singers in India today, having sung in Hindi and seven other languages. She won Channel V’s reality show Popstars and became popular with her song ‘Ishq Wala Love’ in Student of the Year (2012). Her rendition of six jazz tracks in Amit Trivedi’s Bombay Velvet (2015) was critically acclaimed. In the Netflix animated musical comedy Trolls World Tour, dubbed in Hindi, she lends her voice to the lead character, Poppy.

Q\ After dubbing for Poppy, you are being called ‘Poppy Mohan’. How was the experience?

A\ Poppy’s philosophy is that she loves music and positivity. She is free-spirited, fun and crazy, with pink-coloured hair, and I relate to her in every way. When I am onstage, I feel this electrifying energy that comes from the audience. Because I relate to Poppy so much, I became Poppy Mohan while dubbing for the character. Poppy sends out the message that every girl is a queen.

Q\ You sang three tracks in the film. Was it easy to translate the songs from English to Hindi?

A\ The three tracks are ‘Koi Geet Gao’, which is a romantic number, ‘Iss Pal Ko Jio’ and ‘Trolls Toh Karenge Fun’, which is the peppy title track of the film. This was done just 15 days before the lockdown and we were anticipating the release in April. But then, everything went silent, and so the fact that it is releasing now means a lot to me. People think that translating songs from English to Hindi is simple, but the fact is that the entire poetry has to be changed. So, for example, an ‘I love you’ does not necessarily translate to ‘Main tumse pyaar karta hoon’. It has to be poetically correct and the lip sync has to be perfect.

Q\ Which of your songs is closest to your heart?

A\ The love I have for ‘Jiya Re’ from Jab Tak Hai Jaan is immense. People still call me the ‘Jiya Re’ girl. It was path-breaking for me in terms of my launch as a singer in the industry. It really changed my life. I am also very grateful for ‘Ishq Wala Love’ as these two songs happened back to back and people found my voice to be very versatile.