Mohit Chauhan believes in the power of Indian folk music!

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By HT

New Delhi, Dec. 22 -- Singer Mohit Chauhan's first brush with popularity came with the formation of his Indipop band Silk Route, in Delhi in the 1990s. 
 
A decade later, the self-taught musician collaborated with composers such as AR Rahman and Pritam, and sang for films such as Rockstar (2011), Barfi! (2012). 
 
"I am born and brought up in the hills. But because of my ancestry from Rajasthan, a lot of our customs are similar to those in Rajasthan. I grew up with the folk music of the mountains. I used to listen to a lot of Bollywood film and western music on the radio, too," says Chauhan. 
 
Apart from getting to jam with Tibetan musicians while in college, he holds the memory of getting his traditionalist grandfather, for whom music was a strictly private art, to sing for him. 
 
"[My grandfather] used to sing a bit of classical, thumri, and khayal at home in his room. He had some traces of Rajasthani music." 
 
The singer, who will return to his roots at the Taalbelia Festival, organised by the royal family of Mandawa, Rajasthan, shares, "Rajasthan has a repertoire of folk music that has often been used in Hindi films, for instance Nimbooda Nimbooda from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). That was used very beautifully. Also, Subhash Ghai saab made a film called Taal (19999), and it had a touch of some mountain music. So, some colour of local folk music makes your film beautiful."
 
On the lessening prevalence of folk music in Hindi films, Chauhan says, "Folk music is the basis. Even in the West, folk is the basis of contemporary music. Everything comes from folk music."