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  • Reenita Malhotra Hora

True Fiction Project - Shadow Realm with Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Shadow Realm podcast to introduce you to my other podcast, True Fiction Project which is a podcast that explores the origins of fiction. This episode interview is with Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran, the composer and conductor of the Shadow Realm soundtrack. He is an internationally renowned music composer, educator, and scholar known for his sustained contribution to music and community for the past 25 years. We talk about his incredible work on the soundtrack of Shadow Realm, a podcast project based on a young adult fantasy fiction book that I wrote. Dr. Kanniks shares how his imagination was instantly captivated by the vivid literary descriptions and how he utilized Sanskrit chants, an ancient language of India, to musically portray different characters. We also talk about the inspiration he found from his travels to the ancient village of Hampi, India. The latter part of the episode showcases Dr. Kanniks’ work as we listen to Episode 8 of Shadow Realm and hear a portion of Arya’s story.


  • [00:01] Kanniks Kannikeswaran introduced

  • [02:02] Purpose of The True Fiction Project

  • [03:12] His process of writing music

  • [10:50] Explaining lyrics and Sanskrit

  • [13:40] The Medicine Woman

  • [16:55] Rishiji’s Theme

  • [25:57] Where to find the music

  • [28:30] Episode 8 of Shadow Realm

  • [29:03] The Vanar’s theme

  • [39:06] Rishiji’s theme


  • Shadow Realm is a young adult fantasy fiction story about Arya, a 15-year-old boy who fell through a fault and finds himself in the land of the Ramayana. He has to fight demons in this mythical world in order to get back home to save his mom and tackle demons in his ordinary world

  • Dr. Kanniks’ main inspiration came from his travels to the ancient village of Hampi in India

  • The vanar represent the prehistoric people descended from old world tribes, best translated as monkeys or monkey people

  • For the “Vanar March,” Dr. Kanniks used Sanskrit chants to create a joyful chant to go along with the vanar as they joyfully frolic and jump around

  • For “Rishiji’s Theme,” Dr. Kanniks used the pentatonic scale, most commonly known for meditation, to create a serene humming that captures the magic and mysteriousness of the mystical mentor

  • The Medicine Woman is a representation of a source of wisdom for us all

  • Dr. Kanniks created a total of 14 tracks to complement the podcast project which is now available on Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming platforms.


Shadow Realm was written and executive produced by Reenita Hora. Based on her middle grade novel When Arya Fell Through the Fault, this story constitutes ‘Part 1 of The Arya Chronicles.

An original soundtrack was composed for this story by Kanniks Kannikeswaran (

Audio adaptation by Shane Sakhrani. Audio Direction and Production by Daniel Gonzalez and Gabe Mara.

The narrative for the trailer was voiced by Carnie Wilson (

The podcast features

Recorded at Studio City Sounds and The Room at Melrose.

Chapter 13 uses “Lake Waves Hjalmaren” by Owl

Chapter 17 uses “New Holland Honey Eaters 32x Slower” by digifishmusic

Chapter 18 uses “New Holland Honey Eaters 32x Slower” by digifishmusic

Episodes are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Music is available on Spotify.

If you are already a fan of the show, tap the share button in your podcast player and post this trailer on Facebook or Twitter.

Or text it directly to someone you know who’d love to journey through the Arya Chronicles.

For more information visit


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