Ode to all the desi bad boys
Born and brought up in Lucknow, singer Kanika Kapoor started learning classical music when she was six years old, from the late Pandit Ganesh Prasad Mishra. Today, the girl who started singing on All India Radio at the age of 12, is the voice behind songs like Chittiyan Kaliyan and Baby Doll, and has just released her latest number, Cheater Mohan.
One wouldn't be able to tell from her current work, but Kanika describes her kind of music as all old RD Burman tracks, semi-classical and Sufi songs.
She was also mentored by Anup Jalota, who helped her build a strong background in classical music. So much so, that she has even done her Masters in music so that she could read, write, and teach. "I always wanted to pursue music. As a matter of fact, recording an album was my dream. It started with Jugni, which I uploaded as a free download video. It received over five million views fairly quickly," she says.
And then, Baby Doll happened. "I have known Manmeet (from the Meet Brothers) since I was a child and we would jam together fairly often. In 2013, he called me and told me that Ekta Kapoor liked my voice in Jugni and had asked me to come in for a tryout for Baby Doll. And then, there was no looking back," she says. And though her parents initially had their reservations, they have now come around and are extremely supportive.
"Honestly, being a woman is quite a challenge not just in the music or film industry, but across the board. But things are changing slowly and steadily and we are getting our dues," she hopes.
Her latest song, Cheater Mohan, which is essentially about a woman who has been taken for a ride by her flame, named Mohan, a flirt known to make and break promises - akin to a desi Casanova, sans the charm. "I feel there are too many 'Mohans' around. The idea behind the song was clear in my mind and Shabbir Ahmad just gave life to the whole melody. I mean everything the song talks about," she says.
Speaking about the plethora of music being created outside of Bollywood, she says, "I feel that singles or songs by artists who don't have a foothold in Bollywood, are not yet being launched on a platform that they deserve. We are yet to treat them as importantly as songs from Bollywood films. But I feel that will start changing soon."
Kanika has a song coming up in the Nikhil Advani's next film Bazaar, set to release in October, besides two more songs set to release in the same month.