Neha Kakkar

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Neha Kakkar
Neha Kakkar at Gionnee Awards.jpg
Kakkar at Gionnee Awards 2016
Born (1988-06-06) 6 June 1988 (age 33)
Years active2006–present
m. 2020)
Musical career

Neha Kakkar (pronounced [ˈneːɦaː ˈkəkːər]; born 6 June 1988) is an Indian singer. She began performing at religious events at the age of four and had participated in the second season of the singing reality show, Indian Idol, in which she was eliminated early. She made her Bollywood debut as a chorus singer in the film Meerabai Not Out. She rose to prominence with the release of the dance track "Second Hand Jawaani" from Cocktail, which was followed by several other popular party songs including "Sunny Sunny" from Yaariyan and "London Thumakda" from Queen.

Afterwards, she mostly performed party tracks like "Aao Raja" from Gabbar Is Back, "Tu Isaq Mera" from Hate Story 3, "Humne Pee Rakhi Hai" from Sanam Re and "Kar Gayi Chull" from Kapoor & Sons. She proved her versatility in musical range with the release of "Mile Ho Tum" from Fever which topped the list of most-viewed Bollywood songs on YouTube. She then released several chart-busters which made into the same list, including "Aankh Maarey" from Simmba, "Dilbar" from Satyameva Jayate , "Badri Ki Dulhania" from Badrinath Ki Dulhania, "Cheez Badi" from Machine, "Kala Chashma" for the film Baar Baar Dekho and the private single "Nikle Currant", all of which crossed over six hundred million views. Similarly, "Dilbar" marks the first Indian song to reach number three spot on the Billboard YouTube Music Chart.

From 2017 onwards, Kakkar, primarily, in collaboration with Tanishk Bagchi, became more associated with the trend of remaking old to very recent songs, which resulted in several backlashes targeted for the singer, though she personally favoured the trend of recreations and opined that they have been well-appreciated. Apart from playback singing, Kakkar has appeared in several music videos and as a judge on several television reality shows including "Indian Idol" On these shows, she has been trolled in social media several times for crying on-screen. She openly admits that she is a "proud emotional girl." She appeared in the India Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2017 and 2019.

In 2019, Kakkar was listed among the most viewed female artists on Youtube with 4.2 billion views.[1] In January 2021, she became the first Indian singer to win a YouTube Diamond Award.[2][3]

In December 2020, she appeared in the list of Asia's 100 Digital Stars by Forbes.[4]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Kakkar was born on 6 June 1988 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.[5][6] She is the younger sister of playback singer Sonu Kakkar and singer-composer Tony Kakkar.[7] During the early days, her father, Rishikesh used to sell samosa outside a college for a living while her mother Niti Kakkar was a homemaker.[8][9] In the city, Kakkar shared a rented single room house with her whole family, in which they used to sleep and simultaneously converted to a kitchen by putting a table.[10]

In the early 90s, Kakkar along with her family moved to Delhi, in order to try her luck in singing.[11] At that time, the family was reeling under a financial crisis.[7] Hoping to "contribute" to the family, Kakkar, at the age of four, started performing at local gatherings and religious event with her siblings which she credited for "boosting" her self-confidence.[12] "I only sang bhajans from four to sixteen years. I would attend four to five jagrans in a day, which became my training ground".[13] Having music talent at home, she never felt the need to get any formal training in singing.[14] In 2004, she moved to Mumbai with her brother, Tony Kakkar.[7]

In 2006, at the age of eighteen, Kakkar auditioned for the second season of Indian Idol where she got eliminated early in the show.[14] Being the youngest participant, she was naturally "pampered" on the sets, and recalls that the show gave her "great memories and fame".[15] Commenting on her short-journey, she said, "I feel, whatever happens, happens for a reason. I am just glad the way my journey worked out. It has been a tremendous learning experience".[16] According to her, people "appreciated my voice saying that you sing well but nobody ever told me that I am a great singer".[17] Hence, determined to prove that she can sing well, Kakkar worked on "polishing" her voice afterwards.[17]

Career[edit | edit source]

2006–2012: Career beginnings and breakthrough with Cocktail[edit | edit source]

Kakkar anticipated that her participation in Indian Idol and the association with her brother, Tony Kakkar, would fuel her career into playback singing.[18] However, five years post Indian Idol, Kakkar failed to gather any work in Bollywood films which she believes was due to her "negligence in pleading the music directors and producers, unlike the rest of participants from the show".[18] Hence, she became more occupied with the concerts and event performances that took her "across the world".[15] According to her, during this phase she started getting recognised and people started referring her as the "Jai Mata Di girl".[15]

Neha Kakkar smiling looking at camera wearing a white top
Kakkar at the premiere event of Marathi film Janiva, 2015

In 2008, she launched her debut album Neha The Rockstar with music by Meet Bros. Anjjan in which she performed some romantic songs.[19] During the time, she recorded for a music album, Romeo Juliet composed by her brother, Tony Kakkar. The song "Mohabbat Hai" from the album received limited recognition from the listeners which resulted in the offer to render her first Kotak Mahindra jingle, "Mera Jaisa Koi Mere Zindagi Main Aaye".[18]

A year later, a friend of Kakkar's called her from the studio of composer Sandesh Shandilya, who was looking for a new voice to record the song "Hai Rama" from Meerabai Not Out (2008). The following year, she was featured in A.R. Rahman's composition, the theme song of Blue (2009) where she provided the chorus vocals for the song.[15][18][20] She then lent her voice for the title track of the Hindi-language soap operaNa Aana Is Des Laado (2009) which holds a special place in her heart, as the "song was a touching experience since it focused on women".[15]

In 2010, Kakkar made her screen debut with Vidhi Kasliwal's film Isi Life Mein...! (2010) in which she played the role of a college student.[21] The film received negative reviews from critics and was a box office failure.[21] The same year, she debuted in both the Kannada and Telugu music industry by performing a total of four tracks for Sandeep Chowta.[22][23] She lent her voice for the title track of the Kannada film Thamassu and the song "Nodu Baare" alongside Master Saleem, which were appreciated by the reviewers from Bangalore Mirror and the former resulted in her only Filmfare Awards South nomination as the Best Female Playback Singer.[22][24] Also, the same publication complimented Kakkar's rendition in the song "Neeve Na Neeve Na" and "Jaaniya Jaane" from the Telugu film Kedi.[23]

She had a single Bollywood release in 2011, Sandeep Chowta-composed "Woh Ek Pal", performed alongside Arijit Dutta, which lacked the needed coverage from the music listeners.[18] She then made an appearance in the second season of Comedy Circus Ke Taansen alongside Kapil Sharma and Ali Asgar which she considered an "amazing experience" where the "atmosphere on the sets was positive and the jokes had us all cracking up. I particularly enjoyed it since I am bubbly and always smiling".[15] The following year, her collaboration with Pritam for the dance track "Second Hand Jawaani" from Cocktail proved to be a major breakthrough for Kakkar. The song went to become popular among the music listeners, though it received mixed to negative reviews from critics, calling it a "distraction amidst rest of the album".[25][26] Besides, she got a "tremendous response" for her "Shah Rukh Khan Anthem" on YouTube, for which Shah Rukh Khan thanked her by saying he "loved the song".[15]

2013–2016: Chart-busters with Fever and Baar Baar Dekho[edit | edit source]

Kakkar's first release of 2013, "Botal Khol" from Prague met with controversy, where Central Board of Film Certification raised objections on the song citing that its lyrics contain double meaning.[17] In an interview with Hindustan Times, Kakkar stated, "We do discuss with our lyricists when we are recording. But we cannot stop making or singing such songs just because certain sections of the society do not like it".[17] This was followed by a Sachin-Jigar's item number composed for Ramaiya Vastavaiya.[27] Titled "Jadoo Ki Jhappi", the song met with negative reception from critics, where Rajiv Vijayakar from Bollywood Hungama rated the song as weakest track on the album and wrote: "Kakkar cannot impart the magic that marks the vocals of the most successful item numbers".[27] She next collaborated with Pritam for another item song "Dhating Nach", performed alongside Nakash Aziz and Shefali Alvares.[28]

2014 saw the rise of Kakkar with the release of three popular songs.[29][30] The first release of the year was a collaboration with Yo Yo Honey Singh for the film Yaariyan, for which, The Times of India credited her as the "perfect voice for dance numbers".[29] The duo collaborated once again for Bollywood's first trance number, "Manali Trance" from The Shaukeens, which was recorded in twenty-five minutes.[31] The song mainly received positive reviews from critics, due to the "innovative contribution to this Bollywood-unfriendly genre".[32] Her first work with Amit Trivedi, a wedding song titled "London Thumakda" was released in the same year, which received positive reviews from critics. Mohar Basu from Koimoi wrote: "Singers [did] a brilliant job as this one remains the album most energetic number".[33] On the occasion of Mother's Day, Kakkar shot and released a song for her mother which gained positive response among the audience.[34]

Neha Kakkar smiling wearing a black top
Kakkar at the audio release event of Fever, 2016

Kakkar's first release of 2015 came with "Ek Do Teen Chaar" from Ek Paheli Leela which was composed, penned and co-sung by Tony Kakkar.[35] The song received mainly negative reviews from critics, calling it a "failed attempt on a potential number".[35] Rajiv Vijayakar from Bollywood Hungama, reviewing the soundtrack album wrote: "Neha tries to be saucy and coquettish, but the composition lacks the strength to let this mood bloom".[36] She then collaborated with the music composer duo, Amjad-Nadeem where she performed the tracks "Naughty No 1" and "Daaru Peeke Dance" for Barkhaa and Kuch Kuch Locha Hai respectively; both of which failed commercially.[37] Followed by few other "dull" releases, Kakkar received recognition with her "seductive" performance in the Meet Bros-composed "Tu Isaq Mera" from Hate Story 3.[38] Her last release of the year was "Tukur Tukur" from Dilwale, an "energetic number" which captures the spirit of Goa and performed alongside Arijit Singh, Kanika Kapoor, Siddharth Mahadevan and Nakash Aziz as a separate, video version of the song.[39] Kakkar, an ardent fan of Shah Rukh Khan, expressed her excitement once she figured out the song was recorded for his album, "When I recorded "Tukur Tukur", I did not know it was for his film. I am over the moon".[40] However, the version was criticised for Kakkar's "jarring" vocals and the "lack of the sheer exuberance" compared to that of the audio version performed by Singh.[39] The same year, she featured alongside Shilpa Shetty in the video single "Wedding Da Season", composed by Amaal Malik, as insisted by the choreographer Ganesh Acharya, who saw her performing off-screen.[40]

2016 was a successful year for Kakkar where she performed the popular song "Mile Ho Tum" from the film Fever, composed, written and co-sung by Tony Kakkar, which she considers as the "closest song to her heart".[41] Credited as the most-viewed Bollywood song on YouTube, the song received a positive response from critics and audience. Reviewing the song, Mohar Basu from The Times of India wrote: "Kakkar shows her versatile vein with [the song, where] she keeps her voice subtle and sticks to the mellow meter".[41] Also, she contributed to the soundtrack album of Baar Baar Dekho by performing the wedding-song "Kala Chashma" which became the "party anthem of the year".[42] Included in the list of the most viewed Bollywood songs on YouTube, "Kala Chashma" was admired by the critics for its use of "dub-step, hip-hop beats, and a very groovy bass" for which Surabhi Redkar from Koimoi applauded Kakkar's "powerful vocals" in the song.[43][44] She worked with Epic Bhangra for the film Sanam Re, where they released the song "Humne Pee Rakhi Hai", a mix of club and EDM which was deemed as an "unncesessary addition to the album" and Kakkar's vocals were noted to be "awfully shrill".[45] She also provided her vocals for an additional song in the album, "Akkad Bakkad", a rap song performed along with Badshah to celebrate the music of the film.[46] Apart from lending her vocals to the party song, "Kar Gayi Chull" from Kapoor & Sons, which was a remake of the Haryanvi track "Chull" and her first recording for Dharma Productions, Kakkar performed several other recreated songs during the year including, "Maahi Ve"–a remake of the song "Maahi Ve" from Kaante (2002)– and "O Janiya"–a remake of the song "Kaante Nahi Kat Te" from Mr. India (1987)–for Wajah Tum Ho and Force 2 respectively.[47] Joginder Tuteja from Bollywood Hungama opined that Kakkar's rendition in the former is "decent but not as good as the original" while he noted that "Kakkar, the young woman is just the right follow up to Alisha Chinai as her voice comes with the right mix of naughtiness and seduction" in the latter.[48][49]

2017–present: Collaboration with Tanishk Bagchi and series of remade songs[edit | edit source]

2017 marked Kakkar's first of many collaborations with Tanishk Bagchi which resulted in the rehashing of several Bollywood songs in the coming years. Their first release, "Badri Ki Dulhania" from Badrinath Ki Dulhania performed with Dev Negi, Ikka Singh and Monali Thakur has few segments lifted from the Shankar-Jaikishen classic, "Chalat Musafir" from Teesri Kasam (1966).[50] The song was well received by the critics, where Swetha Ramakrishnan from Firstpost commended the overall work for "living up to previous expectations" while announcing Kakkar as the "perfect fit for the title track".[51] The version became an instant chart-buster among the audience and was included in the list of most-viewed Indian videos on YouTube with over 500 million views.[51] This was followed by another chart-buster by the duo, "Cheez Badi" from Machine, a re-creation of the 1994-released Mohra song "Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast", which got mixed reviews from critics; Vijayakar from India West found Kakkar to be "strictly okay to ho-hum as co-singer" while the re-creation "lacks the obnoxious quotient" of the original.[52] Her next release was the dance song "Main Tera Boyfriend" from Raabta which was a recreation of a non-film track "Na Na Na Na".[53] Reviewing the song from Daily News and Analysis, Prachita Pandey wrote: "Kakkar complements [Arijit] well, but we felt her vocals to be a bit toned down in terms of energy".[53] The trend was carried forward with Judwaa 2 where she rendered two remake songs, co-composed by Sandeep Shirodkar and Anu Malik and one original song composed by Meet Bros. Tuteja from Bollywood Hungama credited Kakkar and co-singers for "retaining the impact as the originals" with their vocals in the remade songs of the same name while complimenting her as "quite impressive in her trademark naughty vocals" in the song "Aa Toh Sahi".[54] During the year, she appeared as a judge alongside Himesh Reshammiya and Javed Ali in the sixth season of the Indian television music competition, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs.[55][56] Reminiscing her participation in the music competition, Kakkar stated, "I started from being a contestant to now becoming a judge. Being on another side of the table is a different feeling altogether. I travel back in time and see myself standing there and being scared of judges remarks".[13][55] The year ended with another recreated song, "Mehbooba" from Fukrey Returns, originally performed by Mohammed Rafi for Dharam Veer (1977), where the new version was commended for the "stylish rendition" of the singers.[57]

Neha Kakkar smiling wearing a red top
Kakkar on the show High Fever, 2018

Kakkar's first release of 2018 was the Yo Yo Honey Singh's "Chhote Chhote Peg" fromSonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, a remake of the Anand Raj Anand-composition "Tote Tote Ho Gaya" from Bichhoo (2000), and was positively received by the critics.[58] This was followed by Bagchi's recreation of "Aashiq Banaya Apne" included in the soundtrack album of Hate Story 4, originally performed by Himesh Reshamiyya and Shreya Ghoshal.[59] Umesh Punwani from Koimoi feels that Kakkar did a "good job" while trying to "give her voice a new shape" although the retained original portions of the song were the only good thing about this version.[59] The duo collaborated for five other projects, from which "Dilbar" fromSatyameva Jayate and "Aankh Maarey" from Simmba became popular with music listeners, both songs reaching the list of most-viewed Indian videos on YouTube and the former being the first Indian song to reach number three on the Billboard YouTube Music Chart.[60][61] Devansh Sharma from Firstpost praised the former and remarked, "The soul of the new track is Neha Kakkar who brings a sensual-yet-never-raunchy appeal through her vocals. Her range allows her to switch from the meditative stanzas to the uninhibited chorus like a chameleon".[62] Apart from rendering the folk pop song "Dholida" from Loveyatri alongside Udit Narayan and Palak Muchhal, Kakkar performed a traditional-themed-contemporary Punjabi track "Bhangra Da Sajda" from Veere Di Wedding, composed and co-sung by Shashwat Sachdev.[63][64] Firstpost in its review of Badhaai Ho appraised Kakkar's accent and "good support in the smaller" part of the song "Nain Na Jodeen" while crediting "her versatility" in the bhangra number "Morni Banke" which was a remake of the 2010 release of Panjabi MC's song of the same name.[65] The trend continued with the item number "Gali Gali" included in the Hindi-dubbed version of the Kannada film K.G.F: Chapter 1.[66] During the year, she appeared as a judge alongside Anu Malik and Vishal Dadlani in the tenth season of the Indian television music competition, Indian Idol.[67]

2019 began with the release of three remade songs in collaboration with Bagchi. "Chamma Chamma", recreated for the film Fraud Saiyyan–original composition from the film China Gate (1998)–was considered "memorable", while "Coca Cola Tu" from Luka Chuppi and "Hauli Hauli" from De De Pyaar De were acknowledged by some critics for giving the songs "a new flavor" though other critics disapproved her latest trend of "annoying" association in the remade song.[68][69][70] The year marks her first collaboration with Vishal Mishra and Vishal-Shekhar, where she performed the female version of "Ki Honda Pyaar" from Jabariya Jodi for the former and "The Hook Up Song" for the latter, which was well received by critics; Sen from The Times of India wrote: "The zing in Neha Kakkar’s sultry voice adds to the flirty feel of the upbeat track".[71][72] The trio of Kakkar, Bagchi and the dancer Nora Fatehi re-united for two other chart-buster songs, "O Saki Saki" from Batla House and "Ek Toh Kum Zindagani" from Marjaavaan. The former being a remake of Musafir film's "Saaki", originally performed by Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan was criticised for the lack of "power" compared to the original version.[73][74] During the year, Kakkar lent her voice for the foot-tapping club number "Dheeme Dheeme", composed by Bagchi and the romantic love song "Tu Hi Yaar Mera" composed by Rochak Kohli, in which Tuteja from Bollywood Hungama appraised her "different avatar" in the latter.[75]

Artistry[edit | edit source]

Voice[edit | edit source]

Kakkar possesses a contralto vocal range and has the ability to reach E5 note.[76] Her voice has been described several times in the media as "distinct", "unique", "chirpy", "seductive" and "partially nasal".[77][78] She did not take any formal vocal training.[12] In an interview with The Indian Express she said, "The fact that I am not formally trained never really bothered me. There were times I knew it could have been a brownie point, had I been trained but it never pulled me back".[12] Believing that she needs to be distinctive to be noticed from the crowd of competition, she keeps "practicing by learning to sing songs that catch her fancy" since her voice is her "USP".[15]

She believes she modulates her song differently for each song, even if it falls under the same genre.[79] According to her, from the very early days of her career, she has constantly been trying to "polish" her voice which helps her enhancing the required voice modulation.[17] She also admits that she tries hard to "put a difference" in her voice texture for each recording to avoid her voice being stereotyped.[80] After listening to her in the song "Manali Trance", she was asked by many fans if she was high when she recorded it, to which she replied, "' I don't drink or smoke. It's just my vocal interpretation of it".[81]

Her vocal tone has been subjected to mixed reviews. The Times of India complimented "the kind of variation" she brings to her voice in the song, "Cheez Badi" and wrote: "While she is known for her party numbers, this song sees her voice take on a rather sultry quality that perfectly matches the mood of the song".[78] Shreya Paul, from Firstpost, while reviewing the album of De De Pyaar De criticised her "auto-tuned" vocals and the attempt to "sound sexy and naughty".[82] Similarly, R.M. Vijayakar from India West calls her vocal performances "petulant" which she "mistakes for sensuality".[63] In the media, Kakkar is often regarded as the voice behind the "party anthems" and "recreated songs". Due to the numerous contribution to the same, Gulf Today regarded her voice as an overexposure to the "recreation and fast-paced songs".[83]

Musical style[edit | edit source]

Kakkar's music contains elements of pop, hip hop, and R&B. She admits that she has mostly performed dance numbers which she believes suits her voice the most and complements her energetic vibe, though she expressed her desire to experiment other genres including "soft romantic" songs.[40][84] Also, she appreciates Sufi music and expresses her fondness over the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.[6]

Devansh Sharma of Firstpost applauded Kakkar's "impressive range" where she can switch from a "Dilbar" to the romantic track "Nain Na Jodeen".[65] Similarly, The Times of India complimented her musical "diversity" where she "nails" the melodic song, Mile Ho Tum, to "perfection" with the different "intensity and passion" as compared to her energetic numbers".[78] The Asian Age notes that party songs have become almost synonymous with Kakkar and she should consider breaking away from the "mould".[84]

She becomes omnipresent in numerous recreated song which stirred up several hatred comments to her for "ruining" the original songs.[85] Conversely, she favoured the recreations of old songs and opined that they have been well appreciated and loved by the audience when "good old melodies are given a new touch"; "The only drawback is people have high expectations as they love the old songs. At times, it can go down since there have been songs that haven't done well so one has to be very careful".[86][87] Further elaborating her take on this trend, she said, "even if people claim it takes away the original song, they still hear it. There is a lot of negative audience on social media. They would comment on anything. But they are the ones who are dancing on all these songs".[85] Most of the re-created songs received mixed reactions from fans of the original version.[86]

Kakkar mentioned that she prefers to release singles over albums since "releasing music albums is not a feasible idea for musicians, as it requires a lot of money".[88] While she admits that a Bollywood actor featuring in a music video helps an independent song reach a wider audience, she prefers that the musicians feature in the music videos themselves.[88] She also expresses her fondness towards live performance since she "loves being on stage and when I hear fans chant my name and ask for an encore".[15] According to her, live performance prove the real talent of a singer as there no "no scope for making or rectifying mistakes on stage; you just need to go on. In the recording studio, we can have several retakes".[15]

Influence[edit | edit source]

Neha Kakkar and Sonu Kakkar smiling
Sonu Kakkar (left) has significantly influenced Neha Kakkar (right) and her music

Kakkar admits that she has always looked up to her elder sister Sonu, as her singing inspiration and she "guides me on how to sing particular songs".[12] She named her brother Tony as a constant pillar of strength.[89]

Apart from her siblings, Kakkar mentioned Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan as her favourite music artists. "Like, there have been singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar who have defined music and left their legacies, I believe they fit in the same league".[90] Also inspired by Sonu Nigam's versatility, she "hopes" that she will be able to sing diverse kinds of music.[6] In spite of the musical artists, she called Govinda an "inspiration" and a "role model" to her. "I have been following him since an age where we ourselves do not have an understanding about life".[91]

Kakkar has also been influenced by many artists outside the country like John Mayer, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande.[92] She named Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sukhwinder Singh, Kavitha Krishnamurthy and Honey Singh as some of her favourite and inspiring vocalists.[15]

Public image[edit | edit source]

Neha Kakkar laughing while hugging Shah Rukh Khan
The public describes Kakkar as a "bubbly" person

Known for experimenting with her style and image, Kakkar's music and fashion sense are noted by the media. According to Republic World, she has an "impeccable taste" in fashion, and "whatever she wears becomes a trend" from her "outlandish outfits, voguish hairstyles or flawless makeup".[93] Neha feels her happy-go-lucky attitude reflects in her work too making her one of the most flamboyant singers today.[80] "I am a very energetic. I have fun during shootings and on stage. If you do things from heart, it reaches out to people".[80]

In 2015, Kakkar was noted as the "innovative brain" behind the selfie videos of several songs that got viral on YouTube, which she started in 2012 with the song "Botal Khol" from Prague.[90] The trend which media attributed to her, was considered by her as "lively interaction with her fans" which have sound, actions and emotions.[90] Rewarding her with the title "Expression Queen", Aastha Banan from Mid Day wrote: "She sings looking into her phone, smiling sensuously and raising her eyebrows to the tune, emoting skillfully which helped her earn the title".[81]

She is credited as a "lively performer" on stage. In an interview with The Hindu she said, "People look at my expressions and gestures and the way I move on stage. If I am entertained by what I sing, it will entertain those around me".[90] Also, the media calls her an "emotional person" where she is seeing shedding tears a lot of times on the singing competition shows.[90] During the shows and concert, Kakkar was often brutally trolled as a "cry baby" on social media for frequently crying on-screen, to which she admits that she is a "proud emotional girl" who does not wish to become "heartless" or "emotionless".[94]

Kakkar is very active on social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube page, where she interacts with her fans and regularly posts updates about her life.[81][95] She is one of the most followed Indian artistes on Instagram.[16]

In October 2019, she received the Instagram trophy, celebrating the first Indian musician and the fifth Indian to reach the milestone.[95] In 2017, Kakkar was included in the list of 35 boldest entrepreneurs of India who are changing the game in various industries.[14] The same year she appeared in the Forbes Celebrity 100, a list based on income and popularity of India's celebrities. She was listed at the sixty-fourth spot in 2017 and twenty-ninth spot in 2019.[96][97] In 2019, Kakkar was listed on position second among the most viewed female artists on Youtube with 4.2 billion views worldwide.[1]

In December 2020, she appeared in the list of Asia's 100 Digital Stars by Forbes.[4]

Impact and recognition[edit | edit source]

Kakkar on the sets of Indian Idol in January 2020

Kakkar's work has received praise from several artists. Her co-judge in Indian Idol, Vishal Dadlani praised her for the "impressive progress" from a contestant to judge of the same reality show.[98] Singer Jassi Gill named Kakkar as his favourite playback singer.[99]

Her work has been recognised by several actors, where Kriti Sanon stated that every time she hears Kakkar singing, "it brings a smile to my face".[100] Actor Sara Ali Khan revealed that she is a huge fan of Kakkar and that the latter was an "inspiration" for Khan's weight-loss.[101] Govinda referred to her as the "female-Govinda" due to her expressions, and stated that she is a "very good singer and a nice human being".[91] Choreographer Farah Khan defined her as a "Rock Star", while actress Mandira Bedi referred her as the next "Indian Shakira".[15]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Kakkar and actor Himansh Kohli were in a romantic relationship since 2014.[102] In September 2018, they officially announced their relationship on national television and revealed that they will tie the knot soon.[103] However, three months later, an Instagram post by Kakkar revealed that the couple broke-up.[103] In an interview with Bombay Times she opened up about her life post the split and revealed how she regrets "making her personal life so public".[104] In August 2019, she shared an alarming post on Instagram about "depression" and "thinking of ending her life" after rumours of an affair with an Indian Idol contestant surfaced.[105]

Kakkar married Indian singer Rohanpreet Singh on 24 October 2020 in a gurdwara in Delhi.[106][107]

Awards and achievements[edit | edit source]

Year Ceremony Category Nominated Song Film Result Ref.
2011 58th Filmfare Awards South Best Female Playback Singer – Kannada "Horage Haradide Thamassu" Thamassu Nominated [24]
2016 3rd PTC Punjabi Music Awards Best Duo / Group "Pyaar Te Jaguar" (Shared with Harshit Tomar) Nominated [108]
2017 4th PTC Punjabi Music Awards Best Duet Vocalist "Patt Lainge" (Shared with Gippy Grewal) Won [109]
2017 Zee Rishtey Awards Favourite Judge Award Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs 2017
(Shared with Himesh Reshammiya and Javed Ali)
Won [110]
2017 10th Mirchi Music Awards Female Vocalist of The Year "Badri Ki Dulhania" Badrinath Ki Dulhania Nominated [111]
2018 Brit Asia TV Music Awards Bollywood Track of the Year "Dilbar" Satyameva Jayate Won [112]
2020 15th Mirchi Music Awards Mirchi Social Media Icon of the year Won [113]

Filmography[edit | edit source]

Film[edit | edit source]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2010 Isi Life Mein...! Sam [21]
2016 Tum Bin II Herself Special appearance in song Nachna Aaonda Nahin [114]
2020 Jai Mummy Di Herself Special appearance in song Lamborghini
Ginny Weds Sunny Herself Special appearance in song Sawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag
2021 Tuesdays and Fridays Herself Special appearance in the song Phone Mein

Television[edit | edit source]

Year Title Role
2006 Indian Idol – Season 2 Contestant
2008 Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star – Season 1 Challenger[15]
2011 Comedy Circus Ke Taansen – Season 2 Various characters[15]
2014 Comedy Nights with Kapil Special appearance
2015 Comedy Classes Special appearance
2016 Comedy Nights Bachao Special appearance
2016 Comedy Nights Live Special appearance
2017 The Voice India Kids Special appearance
2017 Music Ki Pathshala Guest Appearance
2017 Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs 2017 Judge
2018 Indian Idol – Season 10 Judge
2019 Indian Idol – Season 11 Judge
2019 Super Dancer Special appearance
2019 Khatra Khatra Khatra Special appearance
2020 Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs Special appearance
2020 India's Best Dancer Promotion of song "Taaron Ke Sheher"
2020 Bigg Boss 14 Song Promotion With Tony Kakkar
2020 Indian Idol — Season 12 Judge

Selected discography[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tabassum, Ayesha (9 October 2020). "Neha Kakkar beats Selena Gomez, Billie Eilish and other international artistes to become the second most-watched female artiste on YouTube". Indulge Express. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  2. Cyril, Grace (8 January 2021). "Neha Kakkar becomes the only Indian singer to own YouTube Diamond award". India Today. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  3. Sharma, Anurag (7 January 2021). "Neha Kakkar wins YouTube Diamond Award, becomes the first Indian singer to do so". Republic World. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Asia's 100 Digital Stars". Forbes. 7 December 2020.
  5. Entertainment Desk (6 June 2016). "Neha Kakkar birthday special: The Queen of blockbuster hits turns 28". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Indian Idol profile - Neha Kakkar". Sify. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Tony Kakkar: One gets a lot more popularity as a singer than a composer". The Times of India. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  8. "Indian Idol's Neha Kakkar and Aditya to get married on Valentine's Day? She calls his mother 'Sasu maa'". The Times of India. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  9. Chakraborty, Rimi (28 January 2020). "From Samosa Seller's Daughter to a Singing Sensation, Neha Kakkar Shows Hard Work Always Pays Off". MensXP. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  10. Sameer (9 March 2020). "Neha Kakkar's journey from 1-room house to luxurious bungalow". The Siasat Daily. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  11. Kaushik, Divya (11 July 2018). "Neha Kakkar: Delhi is full of talent, Dilliwaale hote hi kamal ke hain". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Versatile Notes: 'Neha Kakkar'". The Indian Express. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Arora, Naina (7 April 2017). "I am a Delhiite and my journey as a singer began in the city: Neha Kakkar". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Sabharwal, Punita (11 February 2017). "Meet the Indian Shakira of the Film Industry - Neha Kakkar". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 Rao, Bindu Gopal (5 October 2013). "A voice to watch out for". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Singer Neha Kakkar Willing To 'Take Up Acting.' But, There's A Condition". NDTV. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Sen, Torsha (14 November 2013). "Feels great to be compared to Shakira: Neha Kakkar". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 N, Patcy (20 March 2012). "Thought of meeting SRK makes me go weak in the knees". Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  19. "Indian Idol 10 judge Neha Kakkar is unrecognisable in this viral video". India Today. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
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  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Fernandes, Bradley (19 June 2015). "7 singers who shouldn't act". Filmfare. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Thamassu: Chowta is back!". Bangalore Mirror. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Kedi : Sandeep's best, in a long time!". Bangalore Mirror. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
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  25. Tuteja, Joginder (18 June 2012). "Cocktail Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  26. Shivi (20 June 2012). "Cocktail Music Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
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  28. Tuteja, Joginder (7 September 2013). "Review: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero music is entertaining". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
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  30. "2014: When actors turned playback singers". The Economic Times. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  31. "Yo Yo Honey Singh's 'Manali Trance' from 'The Shaukeens' released, Lisa Haydon rocks it!". Daily News and Analysis. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  32. Redkar, Surabhi (30 October 2014). "The Shaukeens Music Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  33. Basu, Mohar (4 February 2014). "Queen Music Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  34. Chatterjee, Swasti (16 May 2014). "Neha Kakkar's song on her mother goes viral". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Tuteja, Joginder (21 March 2015). "Review: Ek Paheli Leela's music is worth a listen". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  36. Vijayakar, Rajiv (22 March 2015). "Ek Paheli Leela Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  37. Fernandes, Kasmin (8 May 2014). "Kuch Kuch Locha Hai - Music Review". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  38. Vijayakar, RM (20 November 2015). "'Hate Story 3' Music Review: A Typical T-Series Score That Is a Mixed Bag". India West. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Vijayakar, RM (14 December 2015). "'Dilwale' Music Review: A Seamless Blend of Classical and Contemporary Numbers". India West. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Basu, Mohar (28 December 2015). "Neha Kakkar: Honey Singh says my voice is like sex". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Basu, Mohar (17 January 2017). "Music Review: Fever". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  42. "Baar Baar Dekho music review: Katrina Kaif, Sidharth Malhotra film is not all about Kala Chashma". The Indian Express. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  43. Mukherjee, Tatsam (8 August 2016). "Baar Baar Dekho music review: Jasleen Royal, welcome to Bollywood!". India Today. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  44. Redkar, Surabhi (16 August 2016). "Baar Baar Dekho Music Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  45. Vijayakar, RM (11 January 2016). "'Sanam Re' Music Review: Decent Album, Lyrics and Vocals Could've Been Better". India West. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  46. "Divya Khosla Kumar wraps up 'Sanam Re' with Badshah's rap song". The Times Of India. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  47. Swetha, Ramakrishnan (5 March 2016). "'Kapoor and Sons' music review: Nothing exciting in this album apart from 'Kar Gayi Chull'". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  48. Tuteja, Joginder (16 November 2017). "Wajah Tum Ho Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  49. Tuteja, Joginder (7 November 2017). "Force 2 Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  50. Vijayakar, RM (7 March 2017). "'Badrinath Ki Dulhania' Music Review". India West. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  51. 51.0 51.1 Ramakrishnan, Swetha (16 February 2017). "Badrinath Ki Dulhania music review: This album has chart-buster written all over". Firstpost. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  52. Vijayakar, RM (8 March 2017). "'Machine' Music Review: Mechanical Songs Sans Feeling". India West. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  53. 53.0 53.1 Prachita Pandey (22 May 2017). "Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti sanon are slaying it with their hot bod and killer moves in main tera boyfriend". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  54. Tuteja, Joginder (12 September 2017). "Judwaa 2 Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  55. 55.0 55.1 "Himesh Reshammiya, Neha Kakkar to judge Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs". The Indian Express. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  56. "Neha Kakkar to judge Sa Re Ga Ma Pa little champs". Mumbai Mirror. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  57. Sen, Debarati (2 December 2017). "Music Review: Fukrey Returns". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  58. Tuteja, Joginder (19 February 2018). "Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  59. 59.0 59.1 Punwani, Umesh (8 March 2018). "Hate Story 4 Music Review: The Only Good Thing Is Himesh Reshammiya's Retained Voice". Koimoi. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  60. Mukherjee, Shreya (13 July 2018). "Dhvani Bhanushali's Dilbar tops Billboard YouTube chart". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  61. Benjamin, Jeff (30 May 2019). "Bollywood Channel T-Series Is YouTube's First To Hit 100 Million Subscribers". Forbes. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  62. Devansh, Sharma (13 August 2018). "Satyamev Jayate music review: Neha Kakkar's Dilbar is a clear winner, but Tanishk Bagchi can do better". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  63. 63.0 63.1 Vijayakar, R.M (4 October 2018). "'LoveYatri' Music Review (T-Series): After Eons, a Riveting Score for a Film with a New Pair". India West. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  64. Tuteja, Joginder (16 May 2018). "Veere Di Wedding Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  65. 65.0 65.1 Devansh, Sharma (17 October 2018). "Badhaai Ho music review: A fun, inventive album replete with hilarious lyrics, quirky compositions". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  66. "Mouni Roy teases a glimpse of her KGF dance number, Gali Gali. Watch here". Hindustan Times. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  67. "Neha Kakkar returns to Indian Idol, this time as a judge". The Indian Express. 27 April 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  68. "Fraud Saiyaan Review". Bollywood Hungama. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  69. Tuteja, Joginder (25 February 2019). "Luka Chuppi Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  70. Punwani, Umesh (2 March 2019). "Luka Chuppi Movie Review: It's All About Finding The Missing Story, Sense & Substance!". Koimoi. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  71. Sen, Debarti (9 May 2019). "Music review: Student of the Year 2". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  72. Ganguly, Pratishruti (7 August 2019). "Jabariya Jodi music review: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra's film offers a soulless, fragmented album, lacking in originality". Firstpost. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  73. Nair, Vipin (16 August 2019). "'Mission Mangal' and 'Batla House' music review: Inspirational, but not memorable". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  74. Sen, Debarti (9 November 2019). "Music review: Marjaavaan". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  75. Tuteja, Joginder (30 December 2019). "Pati Patni Aur Woh Music Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  76. "Neha Kakkar : Voice Study & Deep Analysis - Vocal Range - Paarth singh". YouTube. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  77. KK (17 October 2018). "Artist of the Week – Neha Kakkar". Bollywood Music Reviews. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
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  81. Paul, Shreya (16 May 2019). "De De Pyaar De music review: Soundtrack of Ajay Devgn's film is as problematic as the plot seems to be". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  82. "Budding Bollywood singers say more female voices need to be heard". Gulf Today. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
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  84. 85.0 85.1 Shekhar, Mimansha (27 August 2018). "Music industry explains why Bollywood is recreating old songs". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  85. 86.0 86.1 IANS (21 April 2017). "Kala chashma singer Neha Kakkar launches original Punjabi song". India TV News. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  86. Kumar, Ashwani (9 January 2019). "Recreating old songs a positive trend: Neha Kakkar". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  87. 88.0 88.1 Goyal, Samath (10 April 2017). "Neha Kakkar on why musicians prefer singles over albums". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  88. "Neha Kakkar's siblings join her on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs". The Times of India. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  89. 90.0 90.1 90.2 90.3 90.4 Yadav, Sidharth (29 December 2016). "Versatility is key". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
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  91. Dhankar, Riya (14 July 2018). "The best part about being a playback singer in Bollywood is that it gives good faces to my voice!" Neha Kakkar gets candid". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  92. Rai, Aishwarya (26 February 2020). "Neha Kakkar Inspired Uber-chic Hairstyles You Can Style For Any Occasion; See Pics". Republic World. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  93. "Indian Idol 10: Neha Kakkar gets trolled for being a cry baby; gives a befitting reply". The Times of India. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  94. 95.0 95.1 "Neha Kakkar Becomes First Indian Musician to Receive Instagram Award". News18. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
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  98. Lulla, Sonia (15 October 2018). "Neha Kakkar On Indian Idol: Co-Judges Wondered What I Was Doing Here". Mid Day. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  99. "Neha Kakkar's voice makes Kriti Sanon 'smile'". The Statesman. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  100. "Neha Kakkar's celebrity fan". Mumbai Mirror. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  101. DNA Web Team (12 April 2018). "The truth about Neha Kakkar's relationship with Himansh Kohli revealed". DNA. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
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  113. Jain, Arushi (10 November 2016). "Tum Bin 2: Mouni Roy is making TV stars dance to Nachna Aunda Nahi". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 March 2020.

External links[edit | edit source]