WION exclusive: 'Manike Mage Hithe' singer Yohani: In Bollywood, I would love to work with A.R. Rahman

WION Web Team
New DelhiWritten By: Pallabi Dey PurkayasthaUpdated: Sep 25, 2021, 06:33 PM IST


Story highlights

Viral Sinhalese singer Yohani, best known for her smash hit number 'Manike Mage Hithe', feels, just like her song, relationships require work. "Love is like writing a song," she tells WION. 

If you have a phone or a television set or both, then your day sure doesn't start until you listen to Yohani Diloka De Silva's--who only goes by Yohani, socially--'Manike Mage Hithe'. The song, in Sinhala language, has been trending globally and even Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Priyanka Chopra Jonas have been humming the soothing tune.

Now, in an exclusive chat with WION, Yohani, who is prepping for her India tour, says that the numbers her single's amassed in the past few months has left her more than just overwhelmed. "It feels unreal," she shares. 

Yohani would like to work with A.R.Rahman, Sonu Nigam, among others, in Bollywood

Excerpts from our conversation with her:

WION: Your number ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ is practically everywhere, and there are very few artists who have enjoyed this kind of fan following amongst Bollywood stars. The pressure of outdoing yourself could very well leave you feeling overwhelmed. Your thoughts and coping mechanisms?

YOHANI: It’s been a crazy experience. Saying it’s overwhelming would be an understatement. I’m quite humbled by all the love and support. It still feels unreal. My teams--Pettah Effect and Theewra Worldwide--have been with me from day one and they take a lot of the pressure off my shoulders. They look into all the collaborations, tours, brand works etc. I get to spend time with the band and prepare for the tour. I enjoy the process and look forward to performing live for as many people as possible.

WION: You are probably one of the first international artists to come to India since the pandemic. What was the reaction of your family when you told them about your tour?

YOHANI: My parents are very supportive. They are confident that my team is taking care of all necessary security and safety measures. My parents are not from a music background to help me with music, but they want to get involved in pitching wardrobe ideas, song ideas, etc. I’m still their kid daughter and I love how they still spoil me.  

WION: The song is filled with love and passion. What’s your take on relationships in this age of hook-ups and speed dating?

YOHANI: This is a very difficult question and this is only my opinion: I believe love is not something that you find, instead it’s something you work on. It’s like writing a song. There are collaborations, different instruments, a language, different voices etc. and everyone has to work on it. Relationships are a result of this working bond. 

I don’t see anything wrong with speed dating or hook-ups. It’s all human experiences and if the individuals who are doing this are content, it’s up to them. We shouldn’t have a box for everyone to fit in. 

WION: So many versions of your cover have come out and in so many languages. Who is that one musician you would want to hear sing your song? And, why?

There are so many. Don’t want to pick a name. 

WION: First the viral song, then the India tour… It is safe to say that a Bollywood (singing) offer is just round the corner. Who is your dream Bollywood composer, and why?

YOHANI: I would love to work with A.R Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Arijit Singh, DIVINE, Badshah and the list goes on.