Singer Neha Kakkar turns 34 on Monday. Neha was kicked off of Indian Idol, but she went on to become one of India’s most popular singers. She even went on to judge the same show where she was kicked off. Neha gained a lot of fans not only because of her hits like Manali Trance, Garmi, and Aankh Maarey, but also because she was a judge on Indian Idol.
On the show, Neha became known for having a soft heart and being an emotional person. She would often cry when she heard how hard things were for the contestants. But once on the show, Neha cried when she thought about her own past.
In an episode from the show’s 10th season, which started in 2018, music composers Vishal Dadlani and Anu Malik joined Neha Kakkar on the judges’ panel. A young man walked up to the stage and said his name. Neha soon figured out that he was the son of her old landlord, who had recently died. She told her fellow judges, “When me and Sonu didi (her older sister Sonu Kakkar) used to sing at jagrans, his father also sang at a lot of jagrans. We used to sing for him when he had a band. We were just kids. We have even stayed at their house. Oh my God.” Anu Malik was amazed by how everything worked out.
She added, “Kitne dukh ke baat hai. Us waqt hum kaafi gareeb hua karte the, bahut hi zaada gareeb the humlog. Us waqt kaafi help bhi ki thi inke papa ne. It’s so sad that my dad and mom won’t feed me, and I can’t go to their house to do anything. Back then, we were so poor. His dad did a lot to help us. He fed us and even let us stay with him. Neha also said that she was sorry she couldn’t meet the contestant’s father.
Neha asked the contestant to sing for his father’s memory. He sang Mann Ki Lagan from Paap. Neha started crying during the performance. The contestant’s mother then joined her on stage. She thought back to when Neha and Sonu sang at jagrans, and she remembered that Sonu had her own poster. “We sang all night long. Sonu didi is more to blame than I am. When she began singing, she was so young. She said, “If I’m a singer, it’s all because of her.”
Tony Kakkar, the brother of Neha and Sonu, also writes and sings music. Tony had said before that she would send money to him and Sonu when they were having trouble in Mumbai, even when she was still in Rishikesh. Tony told Mumbai Mirror in 2020 about his sister, Neha, “At first, only I and Sonu moved to Mumbai, and Neha still performed in Rishikesh. The hardest thing we had to do in Mumbai was look for a place to live. We couldn’t afford to buy a house, so we used to rent a small apartment. But the rent was going up like crazy and we didn’t have a steady income. Sonu got 500 for his very first recording. Then, the amount kept going up steadily, but we managed to stay alive. There, Neha also sent us money.”