She’s unstoppable

Anjali Jhangiani
Friday, 19 April 2019

Nirmika Singh, the lyricist of the Avengers: Endgame anthem Roke Na Rukenge, shares how thrilled she was to collaborate with A R Rahman, and how she is excited about the film just like any other Marvel fan

At the beginning of the month, Joe Russo, of the Russo Brothers who directed four Marvel movies including the Avengers: Infinity War, and the second part of it releasing next week, Avengers: Endgame, visited India to interact with the fans and launch the anthem for the film. Though the video of the song Roke Na Rukenge had divided reactions, the lyrics resonate with the ehtos of the film and motivate  fans to “rise up and take charge.”

We speak to lyricist Nirmika Singh to find out all about this high-energy number:

- What was your reaction when you were approached to write the lyrics for the anthem?
When Rahman sir asked me to write lyrics for the Avengers anthem, I was absolutely incredulous! Then when it sunk in, there was just thrill and excitement! We were in his LA studio working on another project when this came along. Working on this song with him has been a wonderful experience, and I feel extremely honoured and privileged that Rahman sir gave me this opportunity. 

- What is the basic concept of the song? What was your inspiration for it?
Both musically and lyrically, the Marvel anthem conveys the unshakeable ideals of humanity. It is a sort of clarion call for everyone, especially the youth to rise up and take charge, and to never stop, come what may. For me, the goosebumps-inducing melody composed by Rahman sir was the biggest inspiration. 

- What kind of a difference did it make to your song-writing process knowing that A R Rahman will sing it?
As a lyricist, my foremost endeavour is to write a song whose words will resonate with the listener in any voice. Of course, it is an exhilarating feeling when certain voices just elevate your words. For example, the combination of Rahman sir’s soul-stirring voice and the chorus line Roke Na Rukenge is priceless.

However, as a poet and lyricist, I aspire to write words that retain their essence when sung by anyone. 

- You were a guest of Rahman at the Grammys earlier this year. Were you two working on this project since then?
Yes, this project came about then. We started the early work on the song in LA last month and wrapped it up recently in India.

- The film, and the MCU at large, has quite a few badass female characters. In fact, right now, Captain Marvel is their only hope. Does this strong female edge reflect in your writing too, considering you are a pretty badass feminist yourself?
Roke Na Rukenge might not be overtly labelled a feminist anthem but I can say every line in the song could well be an ode to women’s struggles, hopes and triumphs. 
Sample this: Aasmaano se oonchi
Dariya se bhi gehri manzil hai
Rahe na rahe yeh duniya
Darne wale ab yeh usool nahi apne

- Have you made your family/friends hear the song? What feedback did you get from them?
Oh yes, and they were more thrilled than me upon hearing it! My nephew and niece, who are 9 and 10 respectively, were the most excited. They all totally loved the combination of the big visuals and the big sound! 

- What has been your experience being associated with such a huge brand that has such a huge mainstream fan following — Marvel?
I really couldn’t have dreamt that my first-ever film project as a lyricist would be a collaboration with Rahman sir for the Marvel anthem! It feels surreal and I do consider myself lucky for having had this opportunity. Marvel fans in India are a very passionate lot, so writing an anthem for a film they have been looking forward to, also makes me want to live up to their expectations. 

- Have you been following the MCU movies? Are you a Marvel fan?
How can one help not being a fan of the Marvel universe! My favourites are the Iron Man and Avengers series.

- Lastly, what are your expectations from the film? What do you think is going to happen?
Well, the Avengers: Endgame is about making the most of that one final opportunity to save the world. With all the nail-biting drama and larger-than-life visuals it promises, I know it will be one helluva experience. I think the Avengers will manage to avenge us after all!

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