After participating in a bunch of popular music reality shows in the mid-2000s, Nihira Joshi-Deshpande went on to sing several popular numbers for Hindi and Marathi films. She did a lot of work in the non-film space and lent her voice to films made in other languages as well. Some of her most popular tracks include ‘Mera Dil’ (‘Salaam – E – Ishq’), ‘Sajde’ (‘Kill Dil’), ‘Bhijun Gela Vera’ (‘Irada Pakka’), ‘Funkarichi Wadle’ (‘What’s Up Lagna’) and ‘Tujhyamule’ (‘Shentimental’). In the last few years, Nihira, who is now based out of Germany, has largely explored her musical abilities as an independent artist.
‘Trishna’, a recently released album by Nihira, explores the relationship and the emotions between Lord Krishna and Radha. Apart from featuring her as the vocalist, all the four tracks in the album have been composed by Nihira. The lyrics have been written by Apoorva Kulkarni, Shashi Sharma and Tejas Ranade. While Mayukh Sarkar has produce two of the tracks on the album, a track each has been arranged by Carlos Cano Escribá and Saurabh Bhalerao.
“Ek raat yahin jamuna ke tatt par baithe hue maine kaha tha tumse, tum iss aakaash ki tarah aseem ho…..” – the lines recited by Girija Oak Godbole, a popular face in Marathi cinema, and written by Tejas Ranade, set the tone for “Trishna Antarman Ki”, the first track on the album. ‘Antarman’ is a Hindi/Sanskrit word that translates to consciousness. Through the brilliantly written verses by Apoorva Kulkarni and the immersive composition by Nihira Joshi-Deshpande, we get a glimpse of the thoughts brewing in Radha’s mind. The tracks also boasts of some masterfully played keyboard pieces by Hernán Milla.
Nihira sings the track with a certain tenderness that does complete justice to the composition put together by her. The atmospheric arrangements created by Carlos Cano Escribá give the song en edge. All the instruments, including the piano, flute, percussions and the vibraphone, have been used very well. A flute piece also acts as the bridge between two distinctive layers of the song. At the 4:23 mark, the composition goes into a slightly different direction and surprises you in a pleasant manner.
The electronically created music pieces that you hear at the beginning of “Trishna Spandan Ki” give you a fair idea of what you should expect from it. The ambient, haunting soundscape remains consistent throughout the song. The ‘hollowness’ or minimalism created in the soundscape by Mayukh Sarkar serves the theme of the track very well. Based on shringaar ras, “Trishna Spandan Ki” explores Radha’s longing for Krishna. While Nihira sings the song very well, the lyrics written by Shashi Sharma are memorable.
As compared to “Trishna Spandan Ki”, “Trishna Bandhan Ki” has a brighter soundscape. Mayukh Sarkar puts together the kind of arrangements that are breezy and are in sync with the theme of the track. Nihira creates a layered composition to depict the kind of insecurities Radha goes through on account of being in love with a man whose innocuous charm attracts many beautiful women towards him. Through his verses, Tejas Ranade masterfully creates an amalgamation of intense emotions and playfulness.
“Trishna Samarpan Ki”, the last track on the album, explores darker themes like angst and sadness. The sense of melancholy in the song is brought to the fore effectively by Nihira through her pitch-perfect rendition. Her vocal rendition, undoubtedly, is the highlight of the song. The ease with which she handles several complex notes serves as a testimony to the fact that she is an artist who takes her craft very seriously. The composition grows you on you as you slowly and the lyrics (Apoorva Kulkarni) are of good quality.
While film albums continue to be relevant, non-film albums, for some reason, have been sidelined. In today’s age of singles where mainstream music labels are not too supportive of releasing non-film albums, it is heartening to see independent artists like Nihira Joshi-Deshpande investing their time, effort and money in putting together full-fledged albums and expressing themselves through them. ‘Trishna’ is a wonderful album which shines because of Nihira’s commitment to weaving songs around a particular theme. The album also works very well as all each of the artists featured on it have made the effort to align their creative sensibilities according to Nihira’s vision and work in a collaborative manner towards achieving a singular goal with utmost sincerity.