'Undefeated Triumph of Nithila' tells the inspiring story of Nithila Rajasekar from Tamil Nadu, and her inspiring journey with music.

Watch AR Rahman shares heartwarming story of Nithila disabled 18-yr-old piano prodigy
Flix Music Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 15:22

The frame opens with a pair of hands playing a fast paced and complex melody on the piano. As the story unfolds, we begin to understand who, and just how special, that person is.

Award-winning composer and music maestro AR Rahman on Children’s Day (November 14) shared the story of Nithila Rajasekar, an 18-year-old from Tamil Nadu, born with mild facial deformity and hearing impairment. What makes her story so inspiring is that Nithila did not let her disability stand in the way of her passion for the piano.

The short film is titled Undefeated Triumph of Nithila, and features her parents Raji and Rajasekar as well as her teacher Dr Surojeet Chatterji, head of the Russian Piano studio, KM Music Conservatory, all of whom talk about Nithila’s journey.

Rajasekar begins by narrating that just a few days before Nithila was to be born in February 2000, the doctors told them that something was wrong with the baby. “It’s the most painful thing for any mother… expecting something wrong with her baby,” her mother Raji says.

Nithila faced trouble from her very first day out of her mother’s womb. Her parents reveal that she could not breathe, and had to be rushed into neonatal ICU, and had to have several tubes inserted into her frail body. “We could not understand how the baby was taking so much torment,” her mother says. After the doctors conducted some tests, it was found that Nithila could not hear.  

However, Nithila’s parents did not give up hope, and worked to make her independent, to deal with the stigma of her disability and deformity. With this in mind, they took up the suggestion of a family member who introduced them to a boy in their neighbourhood who could play the piano. They decided to encourage Nithila to playing the piano as well.

Praising Nithila, Dr Surojeet says that while many of his students at the KM Music Conservatory have broken down because of his strict ways, he has never seen Nithila shed a tear.

The short film also features a sequence of Nithila playing ‘an early Czerny in F major’ on the piano, and one can see what her parents and mentor are talking about. The teen plays the complex tune with expertise and dexterity.

Her parents reveal that the secret to Nithila’s positive outlook and success is that she has not accepted that she has a ‘problem.’ “She decides to be happy no matter what,” Raji says.

Watch 7-minute short film here.

The film is directed by Amith Krishnan who told The Hindu that it was Rahman who approached him with the idea of telling Nithila’s story. He added that Undefeated Triumph of Nithila is part of Rahman’s bigger vision to tell more such inspiring stories.  

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