From KM to Jagga Jasoos, tracing Nikhita Gandhi's musical journey
Even before she could answer how she was enjoying the stupendous success of the Raabta title track,
dentist-turned-singer Nikita Gandhi found herself making news with her new song Ullu Ka Pattha from Jagga Jasoos. Was she a stranger to fine arts? Her 13-year tryst with Odissi and Hindustani music say no. Was playback singing the intended goal always? Nay, says her Bachelors of Dental Surgery.
Nikhita accidentally sang her way into the world of music when she had the second thoughts about dentistry. “I wanted to keep in touch with music to break the monotony of studies,” said Nikhita about joining AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in the beginner’s course titled Pratulekhi in 2011. She joined KM’s choir which gave her the opportunity to tour with a German Orchestra. Opportunities to sing for bands soon came her way, and soon, AR Rahman himself noticed her talent.
The Rahman Effect
“I froze for a second, but it passed very quickly” admits Nikhita about her first meeting with the virtuoso, AR Rahman. She confides that the key to working with him is to wriggle out of the mesmerising impact of seeing him and work with him as one in the troupe. Nikhita shares that the composer possesses a multi-dimensional vision about a singer. “The fact that he chose me, a North Indian to sing Ladio written by Madan Karky which has archaic Tamil lyrics, says a lot about how he can foresee the evolution of a singer” reveals Nikhita. This is loudly testified when he zeroed in on her for Theera Ulaa from O Kadhal Kanmani, a soulful melody and Sarattu Vandiyila, a rustic wedding number from the latest film Kaatru Veliyidai.
On her thrilling stint with Rahman, the precious lesson she learnt was “Know your song well, learn how to read and edit it,” discloses Nikhita.“The hunger of learning new music and appreciating the old formats drives him and in turn, inspires us too,” says the 26-year-old singer. Seeing him work on a song from scratch, Nikhita feels that his ability to visualise the progression of the song and evolving sense of music makes him the Mozart of Madras. Talking about her future ventures, Nikhita hinted at releasing singles composed and sung by her in the coming months. To all the young adults who have set on their musical journey, Nikhita advises, “keep doing what inspires you and grow organically.”