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Unstoppable till the end

In the big league

A MARVEL Nirmika Singh

Her five-year-old cat Gulasha purrs rather contentedly in the background in her apartment in Bandra as we chat at leisure on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Poet, lyricist, singer and music critic — add to that executive editor, Rolling Stone India — Nirmika Singh is justifiably basking in the rich acclaim of her latest work — the Roke na rukenge Hindi anthem for the upcoming Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame is raking in.

“I met Rahman sir through a common friend who mentioned that I write poetry as well. Rahman sir immediately said Suna do kuch (recite something you have written) and I instantly swung into my performance mode,” laughs Nirmika with her signature candour. So began her collaboration with the music genius as she began to shuttle between Chennai and Mumbai to work with him on projects. “We were in Los Angeles at the Grammy’s, and soon enough the magical Marvel project happened. It was a dream come true for me to collaborate with sir on an international project that almost has a sort of cult following across age groups in all parts of the world,” says Nirmika.

Creative freedom

The song is a vivacious celebration of the treasured human values of freedom, resilience and determination, with the hook line Roke na rukenge summing up the soul of the entire rendition. “It is the endgame, the final call, so the lyrics are congruent with that essence of the movie as well. Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo, was also down for the release of the song, and though the language is a bit of a barrier, he was in perfect sync with the feel and the emotional core of the entire composition. He says he gets goosebumps each time he listens to the song. It has luckily chimed with whoever has listened to it,” shares Nirmika, the happiness and satisfaction shining in her voice.

Prod her more about her experience of working with the music great on a project as colossal as this, and she says, “Rahman sir is an absolute visionary. I find his melodies fresh and breathtaking. He is very cool to work with as an artiste as well, as he gives his co-creators all the freedom they need, making the musical partnership a creative collaboration in the truest sense. This song was wrapped up in 10 days,” she smiles. The song has been composed and sung by AR Rahman, with the rap portion been penned by MC Heam. “As for me, I couldn’t have asked for more. My debut film project with an Oscar-winning composer,” says Nirmika. The anthem will be released in Tamil and Telugu versions as well.

Cathartic

Meanwhile, her written and spoken fluency in Hindi, her ease of speech, her candour, and her heartfelt emotions have been pouring themselves into her pulsating poetry project #AurSuno — that combines the spoken word with music. “I cry a lot,” she confesses with simplicity, with no inhibitions. “It is a sort of catharsis for me. This usually happens when I am elocuting my poetry and people are moved to tears. Writing poetry has liberated me in many ways,” she says. Her biggest reward is that the words help her to connect with people at an intrinsic level.

So when do her creative juices begin to flow? “Honestly, I do all-nighters a lot, writing and giving my thoughts a caress, a push, a shove, a direction,” says Nirmika. “Though I do not endorse this clock for anyone else,” she adds quickly with a laugh. Personally, I do not know any other way to be. I am a compulsive, creative soul, very restless by nature. My day is not complete till the time I do stuff from scratch: whether it is writing poetry, or editing, or making a dish in the kitchen from scratch. I keep scribbling on the big whiteboard at home whenever I am around. And yes, I always like working on two to three things at the same time. But no complaints at all.”

“I am very happy with the way my #AurSuno project is shaping up,” she says. What’s next? “I am off to be at the grand finale of American Idol, where for me the highlight is that I will get to meet Lionel Richie.” Woo hoo!

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