Agnee’s Kannan Mohan Talks ‘Kahani’, Working With Aamir Khan, Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya
Rock Band Agnee’s Kannan Mohan Talks ‘Kahani’, Working With Aamir Khan, Pritam & Amitabh Bhattacharya

Mohan revisits his long musical history, and touches on Aamir Khan’s creative input when it comes to music

With his iconic baritone, Agnee’s Kannan Mohan stands on the cusp of a 15-year anniversary with his bandmate, Kaustabh ‘Koco’ Dhavale. Apart from the group’s long-standing success with independent music, they’ve also cautiously straddled Bollywood’s musical trends over the last two decades, occasionally producing classics such as Shaam Tanha, Kabira, and Aahatein, to mention a few.


Most recently, Mohan lent his vocals to Kahani — a hit track penned for Aamir Khan-starrer, Laal Singh Chaddha.

We sat down for a chat with the singer, uncovering much of his experience working on Kahani with lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya and composer Pritam, as well as his thoughts on the 15 years of Agnee gone by.


Tell us about how Kahani initially took shape for Laal Singh Chaddha.

“I was first called to dub Kahani in 2019, when it had just been composed. Everyone at Pritam’s was raving about the lyrics that Amitabh had written and what struck me at once was the simplicity of the composition by Pritam and the profoundness of Amitabh’s lyrics. It was a beautiful blend of understandable, hummable melody and words but each part of the song somehow conveyed deeper meaning at every listen. The song then had just one antara (verse) but, just a couple of months ago, another antara got added to it.

It was a tough song to sing, as I had to be careful to deliver the emotion as well as I could without relying on singing histrionics… and I always feel the simplest songs are the toughest to make, whether it’s the composition, the lyrics or the singing. I’m glad I had the help of Akash and Aniruddh from Pritam’s team, who helped me deliver the song the way it needed to be done. It’s a beautiful feeling to be part of a song that’s as nice as this one!”

There’s something very pure and straightforward about this song – it feels quite fresh compared to many recent film music launches. What does Kahani mean to you?

“I completely agree that there’s something very pure and straightforward about the song… I think Pritam and Amitabh cracked that by design rather than by chance. They knew they had to be true to the character of Laal Singh Chaddha as this song pretty much sums up the philosophy of the character and the film.

What Kahani means to me is a lot more personal. I’ve always believed in the saying, “God helps those who help themselves” and so the lines “Yeh Hatheli Ki Lakeeron Mein Likhi Saari Hai, Ya Zindagi Humaare Iraadon Ki Maari Hai” ring very true for me. Plus, my connection with the song also has to do with my loving the tune and enjoying the whole process of the dub throughout my various sessions.”

Congratulations on completing 15 years together as Agnee. How do you feel looking back at the decade-and-a-half gone by? How have you both changed in that time?

“Both Koco and I honestly don’t feel like it’s been a long period, to be honest. We’ve had fun pretty much throughout this journey and are looking forward to many more years doing what we love the most: making music and playing it.

We’ve both changed over the years… I think Koco’s ventured a lot more into production than he had in the past, and has broadened his skill set to include a lot of programming and that widens the spectrum of sounds that we choose to incorporate within the band. Both of us have taken bits from each other and included each other’s thinking subconsciously in the ways we approach songs, I guess. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with many composers for playback, and there’s always something that stays with me as a learning, whether it’s working with legends like SEL, Pritam, Amit Trivedi or working with newer composers.

Each dub is a blend of some contributions from me and some learnings for me from them, so it’s always fun! Agnee’s planning to release around 25 songs this year, and I think each of these songs will showcase some aspect of how we’ve progressed as musicians… we’re very excited and completely looking forward to the releases.”

Working on an Aamir Khan film must be exciting — how was it like working with him?

“This is the second time I’ve worked on an Aamir Khan project. The first was for an ad many years ago for Samsung, where Aamir was the brand ambassador. Amit Trivedi had composed the music and Gulzar Saa’b had written the lyrics. That was the first ad I had sung.

I also interacted with him a little bit during Katti Batti, when he had heard the song Ove Janiya, composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and written by Kumar, and had reached out to me to sing it again as he felt some of the lyrics could be simpler than the original draft. Even then, he struck me as someone who knew exactly what he was speaking about and was able to communicate the same without any ambiguity and still never making an artist feel like he was telling them how to do their job.

With Kahani, when I met him and Advait, the director, it was more to do with my rendition of the second antara and how he felt that some of the words could be a little more enunciated while keeping the feel of the song intact. He also took the time to explain to me how he planned to market the songs and that he was very keen to release them purely on audio first, and that also made me understand why he was so particular about each syllable in the song.

When Amitabh or Pritam had any suggestions that were contrary to his opinion, he would be happy to defer to their opinion on musicality and that struck me as very cool. All in all, it was a pleasure singing this song, and I’m glad the song is doing well and people seem to be really enjoying listening to it!”

Can you share your favourite Aamir films with us?

“My favourite Aamir Khan film is Dangal, I think.. Although it would be tough to choose one, as I love Dil Chahta Hai, Sarfarosh, 3 Idiots and Andaaz Apna Apna too.”

What upcoming projects can we look forward to from you?

“Agnee’s releases are coming up and will be quite regular over the next 12 months. Personally, I’m also working on my solo releases, and I plan to release my first 6 solo singles this year. I am also working on a couple of films and an OTT series as a music director and these projects should release early / mid 2023.

I’m also looking forward to directing a couple of short films this year and hopefully, that will make me understand whether or not I have what it takes to become a director… that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m also working with my sister and mother on a few of their compositions in the Carnatic Classical space and thoroughly enjoying that too!”

(Featured Image Credits: Agnee)

contact us :
Follow US :
©2024 Creativeland Publishing Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved