CHENNAI: From winning a music reality show, quitting his cushy IT job in 2013, joining KM Music conservatory to pursuing music full-time, Nakhul Abhyankar’s journey has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. Last month, when a group of artistes led by AR Rahman jammed atop a terrace, Nakhul found himself amid the harmonious confluence, playing the keyboard to the tunes of the maestro. “It was a surreal experience,” says the singer-music producer, popular for rendering songs including CEO in the House, Koode and Neeli Kanumallo.
“The idea for the terrace jam was not just to promote the movie 99 Songs, but was to also spark a sense of hope in the hearts of people during a tough time like the pandemic. What better way to do it than through music? With scintillating songs, the sun rising on the horizon and all the artistes singing and jamming together, the concept was to rub off the vibrant energy on anyone who witnessed it. The entire jam session was sir’s idea and it was incredible to be a part of it. It was symbolic of new beginnings,” narrates Nakhul, recalling how all the 12 musicians, who were part of the video, had only two days to prepare. “We had to rehearse within two days, remember the words and tunes, and go through multiple takes from 5 am onwards on the day of the shoot. Despite being sleepless, none of us felt tired. When Rahman sir came at 5 am and we started running through the shots, there was a surge of energy and positivity; we jammed for over an hour,” he shares.Sharing an equation that went beyond being simply amicable with his fellow artistes, made the experience all the more wholesome, he says. “From Benny (Dayal), Shashaa (Tirupati), Rakshita (Suresh) to Kumaran (Sivamani), we have all been working with each other for quite some time now. So, the camaraderie we shared translated beautifully. The ambience was like what one would experience during their college days — full of joy!”
With the pandemic taking a serious toll on the arts community, bringing live performances to a halt, Nakhul says that it has given him time to reflect on life and made him mindful of his priorities. “As a musician, we lead two lives. One is in isolation in the studio, making music and the other one on the stage, performing with friends and like-minded people. For over the last year, we have been getting moments of the latter in pockets. During the initial days of the lockdown, the focus was on learning more and focusing on our family. But when we live a few events, like the terrace jam, for instance, it makes us realise how much we miss those moments. Over time, I realised the importance of getting together, jamming with friends, interacting and sharing thoughts and ideas. Now, I am trying to be more mindful of my choices and when everything goes back to normalcy, I want to spend more time with people that matter, doing the things that I love than being sucked into social media the entire time,” he shares.
However, Nakhul notes that social media has also enabled several collaborations, making the ecosystem healthy and thriving, albeit virtually. “Collaborations have always been an integral part of the arts community but now, social media has been playing an important role in making them happen. It has given so many artistes visibility, been vital in identifying new talents and discovering new genres,” he shares.The artiste’s upcoming project as a composer includes a web series titled Humble Politician Nograj starring Danish Sait. “I am also working on Love Mocktail 2, a Kannada film as a music composer. I’ve also worked on the film Thalaivi and I am looking forward to its release,” he shares.