Updated: August 26, 2021 8:20:10 am
Music composer and DJ Nucleya chooses his Bollywood projects carefully. Yet whatever he makes, stands out. “I tend to become a little more creative in the process, and if I can’t be creative, it becomes difficult for me to do that project,” he says. Nucleya, who is also known for composing “Let’s Nacho” in Kapoor and Sons (2016) is content with creating independent music and making the world more aware about desi songs.
However, for the unversed, his latest track “Jaldi Aao” is a little different from what he usually does. Apart from the fact that the song features half-a-dozen film celebrities, it is also a desi twist to the “Bella Ciao” anthem for Netflix’s upcoming season of La Casa De Papel or Money Heist. A camera-shy Nucleya has given music and even made an appearance in the song.
“Everyone including myself who has worked on this project, is a serious Money Heist fan. When I was approached to make music for it, I instantly said yes. You really need to be passionate about this particular show to be able to deliver a product like this. What I wasn’t aware of is I have to be in the video as well,” Nucleya shared with a laugh during an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
“Jaldi Aao” is similar to the tunes of Money Heist’s theme song “Bella Ciao” but with desi flavour. It has vocals in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu too. Featuring stars like Anil Kapoor, Rana Daggubati, Shruti Haasan, Radhika Apte, Vikrant Massey and an unexpected gig by cricketer Hardik Pandya, the song has received a thumbs-up from fans on social media.
According to Nucleya, it was the fondness for the Spanish crime-drama that made all the celebs come onboard with utmost honesty and expression. “There are two ways of doing projects like this. You either get the most famous faces from the film industry to get more viewers, or you find people who personally love the show. And you can see the passion in everybody’s eyes. Dar and the Jugaad team have done a wonderful job.”
“Bella Ciao” is probably among the most recreated songs across the globe in several languages and versions. Nucleya faced the challenging task of keeping it different, yet memorable. “I think everyone wanted to play around its beautiful tune. I went online to check what people have done in their own versions of “Bella Ciao”. There are hundreds of videos online which you can watch all day long. So the aim was to make it musically different in terms of instrumentation, yet keep the essence of the show, the music intact,” Nucleya shared.
The music composer revealed that everyone involved with the track ensured that it was a jovial atmosphere with people singing on the set while filming the video. “That gave me the confidence that we are in the right direction in terms of the creativity towards the music.”
While Anil Kapoor plays Denver, Shruti Haasan aces Nairobi and Rana Daggubati takes on Berlin, Nucleya himself does a Palermo complete with his eye-patch. The musician was hesitant to face the camera in the beginning. However, this time, he loved the experience. “I think there’s an actor inside me. But since I haven’t worked hard on it, I know I can become a butt of jokes (laughs).”
So can we guess anything about the upcoming season five, given that we see him as Palermo and getting into an intense gun fight? Nucleya laughs it off with a cheeky reply – “I’ve categorically been asked not to speak about it.” He however continued, “Even if I knew about it (plot of Money Heist season 5), I would still watch it because it’s such an incredible show.”
Nucleya has been spreading the knowledge of Indian music across the world. His independent songs include “Aaja”, “Bhayanak Aatma”, “Laung Gawacha”, “Akkad Bakkad” and “Jadi Buti”, along with “Paintra” in Mukkabaaz (2017). How important does it become for promotional songs like “Jaldi Jaao” to reach the core audience for the benefit of the project? “That’s what I’ve done in past 10-15 years, played at festivals even beyond India. The aim was to take Indian music in multiple languages everywhere,” he says.
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He further elaborated on his little work in Hindi films. According to him, the final decision is not with the music composer, but the director, which makes him averse from taking up frequent Bollywood projects. “In film industry, your vision is a part of the vision. The director has a wider perspective. If he gives you full freedom, I will be excited to do it. At other times, you’re just doing a job, and I don’t want to do that. So I become insanely picky. I wish I can do different projects. I like watching Hindi films and I’m a huge fan of Hindi music too,” he adds.
Remembering the story behind “Let’s Nacho”, Nucleya shared that the song was initially made for another project, but had a long journey until Karan Johar chose it to be picturised on Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Fawad Khan. “I made that song for another film music composer long back. Then my wife told me it’s a very nice song and I should not give it to anyone. So I kept it with me. Later on, it was part of a big ad campaign. For some reason even that didn’t work out. I remember it was part of a project I was doing for Sony as well. I played that song to Benny Dayal who loved it. He said he needs to figure out something as he wants to sing it. That’s how “Tamil Fever”, which is the first version of “Let’s Nacho” took place. If I’m not wrong, Karan Johar heard “Tamil Fever” and said he wants to make a Hindi version.”
As he has been around for more than two decades, what according to him has changed in terms of viewers preferences? Nucleya pointed out at how musicians nowadays “jump on the bandwagon of one success formula” instead of keeping their music unique. “You see my back catalogue, all my compositions are drastically different. So if you want your music to shine, the first thing you need to do is be as unique as you can. Then if the audience likes it, great, or else I’ll compose another song!”
We also asked him how he became Nucleya, as his real name is Udyan Sagar. Calling it a “very sad story”, the musician-DJ shared, “It was my email password back in the days. So I picked that only,” because he’s not good at naming his music and songs. “These things aren’t my cup of tea. I’ve tried and failed, so I don’t pay attention to it now. Maybe if I had waited for ten more days, I would’ve come up with a better name. But I’m always in a hurry (laughs),” he said.
Nucleya’s upcoming project is a collaboration with singer-songwriter Ritviz Srivastava. The album is titled Baaraat. “Ritviz is very keen that I sing in the album as well. I said I can’t do it but he is persistent, so I’m going to give it a shot at some point. Post that I’m working on my own album as well,” Nucleya concluded.
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