By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Thirty-year old Nisha Madaran, an artist from Suriname, who began singing at age 16 in her family band, made history last week by becoming the first Surinamese, and perhaps first in the Caribbean diaspora to sign a Bollywood playback singing contract.
Madaran signed the contract with director Chandrakant Singh for his film ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhoom, and she has other Bollywood projects lined up.
In Suriname most East Indians, also known as “Hindustanis,” speak Sarnami Hindustani, a combination of Braj, Maithili, Awadhi and Bhojpuri and were recruited as indentured labourers from 1873 to 1917. They mostly came from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and to this day speak their mother tongue unlike in Guyana and Trinidad.
Madaran was noticed by Prime Minister Modi of India when he praised her on his Twitter account for her “soulful” and “a must hear” rendition of the song, “Vaishnav Jan To.”
This caught the attention of Singh.
“That made me curious, and I immediately sought this singer and heard her voice. PM Modi was right. I was sold immediately because, outside of India, I have not heard a voice like this before. I immediately called a colleague of mine in the Netherlands to make the contact. Coincidentally, Nisha was in the Netherlands for a concert. I flew to the Netherlands for a first interview. That is how the ball started rolling,” the film director told the Waterkant.
Madaran wasn’t just thinking of herself. She wanted Suriname and the people of Suriname to get something substantial from the deal.
Madaran told the Waterkant, “It clicked from the first moment. We talked about the possibilities of my singing in his films, which was already good as an appointment. But I wanted to get something out of it for Suriname, namely the agreement that parts of the promotion and music videos could also be filmed in Suriname, or if he would also like to consider shooting one of his upcoming new films in Suriname and also whether there are also trainings can be brought to Suriname in his field so that our video and filmmakers in Suriname can be trained.”
Madaran then flew to Mumbai for a meeting and signed the first contract in Suriname last week.
Singh studied cinematology in Los Angeles and has worked on nine films. He is known for introducing newcomers.
Madaran became popular in Suriname and the Netherlands after her “Dream Girl” album featuring the popular song, “Tu hi Mere Dil (You are my heart)”