Despite his wins, Nucleya isn’t one to claim he knows the secret to Hollywood-success. Spider-man song maker humbly recalls taking 12 tries to hit the bull’s eye
If it comes to counting his achievements over his 15-year career, Nucleya could have us occupied for a substantial period of time. Even then, he makes no claims of being a music maverick when depicting the real picture of pitching his songs for a Marvel offering. “Initially, I offered them two options, both of which didn’t work. Then, I gave them 10 to 12 more, and they liked one,” laughs the musician when establishing that asking him for the “recipe for success” is futile. “If I knew, I wouldn’t need [to pitch] 12 [options],” he says, referring to his work in Spider-man: Across the Spider-Verse, which features his catchy 2016 track, Bakar bakar.
Secretive as the head honchos at Marvel are known to be, the brief given to the Indian musician was simple. “In one sequence, we see Spiderman [erroneously] landing in India. That’s where they needed that song. I thought they would need sounds that were reminiscent of celebration [in India], but the process was like the term — Andhere mein teer chalana. I made 12 attempts, and one hit the target.” Ironically, the musician was once encouraged to sell the song’s rights to a label, but decided against doing so. “I told [my manager] that few would understand this song, so, we were better off keeping this with us, and one day, some big filmmaker would ask for it,” he enthusiastically chimes, as though still giddy with the excitement of having encountered this chance occurrence.
Nucleya minces no words when admitting that he has attempted to decipher the tastes of different listeners over the years. At the onset of his career, he’d often head to America to perform, regardless of the monetary compensation. “You never know what works. But, if there are a few things that I may say, it would be this — [any song] must be easy to understand, and there should be no complexity when it comes to digesting it. Also, instrumental music works well, and is a safe [inroad] into the industry.”
Badal and producer duo Tech Panda and Kenzani
Yet, filmmakers seeking the skills of musicians from this part of the globe are in search of one specific aspect — novelty. “These guys have the experience to understand that anything that is synonymous with what [people have already heard] will not be exciting. Something unique is warranted. I continue to dig into older music pieces to [study] the instrumentation. Then, I try to figure out a way to make it new. So, even if the composition and arrangement are new, there is an element of familiarity. We think of ways to emphasise elements of music that have been in the country for a long time.”
Apart from Nucleya, producer duo Tech Panda and Kenzani created a new version of Post Malone and Swae Lee’s Sunflower for this film. The track’s Hindi version was brought to life by Badal, who rendered the song against the sounds of the sitar, santoor, and flute.