Published: 03rd July 2019
From YouTubers to composing for Mahira. Here's why this musical jodi's journey is awesome
UP Rakesh and Nilima Rao, two musicians based out of different cities, Bengaluru and London, communicate through Skype to compose music
Meet UP Rakesh and Nilima Rao who, via Skype, compose music and write lyrics for their songs. And till date, they have composed and uploaded six songs, both in Hindi and Kannada, on their YouTube channel RaknNiliTV. While Rakesh lives in Bengaluru, Nilima lives in London and works there as a Software Engineer. The duo has been in the music field for a long time now. Nilima specialises in Hindustani Music and has been singing since she was a child. She says, "My father is a musician and he was the one who encouraged me to take up singing. When I was in college, I used to perform in several concerts. After the completion of my degree from Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, I worked for an MNC, moved to London and stayed on after my marriage. Now, many Indian groups and Kannadigas invite me to perform on different occasions. I have received a lot of recognition for my music even abroad."
Meanwhile, Rakesh has been playing the guitar since 2001 and loves rock music. It was his passion for music that led him to quit his job as a full-time creative associate in 2007. Later, he attended guitar classes for three months and also learnt to play by watching various YouTube videos. When we asked Rakesh about how they met, he says, "We met in 2011 when I was looking for a playback singer for one of my songs and had posted about the same on social media. Prakash Kanchan, who is a mutual friend, connected me with Nilima. I shared my track with her along with the lyrics. She recorded the song and shared it back with me. I was happy to have zeroed in on the right person to sing my songs and decided to collaborate with her for future projects as well. Apart from this, we want to compose songs by integrating Western and Hindustani music so that more youngsters listen to it."
Music makers: Rakesh and Nilima have produced six songs and posted on their YouTube channel
Nilima flew to India for her vacations in 2011 and the duo produced their first song Sochna Hai Kya in Hindi for which they got over 8,200 views on YouTube. Except for one song, all the other songs have been shot using a green screen. Shooting the Kannada song Kannalli Kannittu was a particularly challenging project for the duo. "We shot this song with different backgrounds. Rakesh shot his bit first with the sea in the background and I had to look for a similar location. A bit of my video has been shot in a forest too. It was challenging for us because the climate in London is always cold and my husband really had to wait for sunny days for outdoor shooting. We also experimented extensively with a professional DSLR camera and it was totally worth it. Now, when you watch the video on YouTube, it won’t look like it has been shot in two separate places," says Nilima, whose song has got over 12,000 views.
Creative work: Kannalli Kannittu was shot using two different screens and synced together while editing
This musical jodi got their biggest break a few months ago when Mahesh Gowda, the director of the movie Mahira, and producer Vivek Kodappa met Nilima at one of the concerts in London. They also listened to her songs and enjoyed the videos on YouTube. Both the director and producer were impressed with the creativity of Nilima and Rakesh with regards to their videos. Rakesh has composed music for four songs in Mahira and one of the songs, Yendu Helada, is sung by Nilima. "Before working for Mahira, we had worked for Mahesh Gowda's short film O Olave. When he asked us to work for a bigger budget movie, we could not say no. Our talent, which was earlier limited to YouTube, is known to everyone now. Most members of the audience gave us a positive response. We will be collaborating for future projects too and I will fly down to India soon to coordinate with Rakesh for a different movie and more YouTube videos," says Nilima, adding that, "Our life partners have also supported us with the projects that we have taken up so far. I think this is another reason for our individual growth."