AYM’s ‘SHOWKALI’ SHOWCASES INTERNATIONAL RAPPERS
by RINKU GUPTA
When Gautham Vasudev Menon announces a flick it creates a sure shot buzz. Add to that the music of AR Rahman and expectations hit the roof. When some songs lyrics of their latest movie together, Accham Yenbadha Madamaiyada (AYM) were released, they were widely appreciated on social media. In one song called Showkali, we see the coming together of international Tamil rappers. SRI RASCOL, a Malaysian Tamil has written and sung the Tamil rap in the song along with ADK (Aryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam), from Sri Lanka. While ADK has sung several songs for Kollywood previously, this is Sri Rascol’s debut into the film industry. We catch up with this debuting Tamil rapper and dancer who chats with us from Malaysia and gives us a peek into the making of the track and his working with AR Rahman and Gautham Menon.
The first thing that strikes us is his unusual name, Sri Rascol. He laughs, “My real name is Sri Pagenthiren but as a kid I’ve very often been called Badava Rascal by my mom since I was a very naughty kid! So I made Sri Rascol as my stage name since its trendy and quirky.” Sri Rascol has been known as one of the fastest Tamil rappers and has been into music ever since he was 14 years old. His speciality is the B Boy music (mix of hip hop and Break dance) and Tamil rap. But it was thanks to good friend ADK that the opportunity to enter Kollywood came about. “I’m indebted to my generous hearted good friend, rapper ADK. It was he who sent my demo recordings to Rahman sir with whom he has worked with. In a few minutes, Rahman sir responded that he wanted to chat on Skype with me. It was like a dream, that a living legend like Rahman was speaking to me! He’s someone I look up to and only because of ADK I got this opportunity. He told me he would like to feature me in a song in AYM and after telling me the song situation, he told me to write and record and send it to him. Then ADK and I combined together and wrote the rap for the song, Showkali. I’ve been in the Malaysian music industry for years but it was my dear brother ADK who facilitated my entry into cinema and Rahman sir and Gautham sir gave me the opportunity to work in their film. It was always a dream to enter cinema. It’s the biggest event of my life. I’m deeply indebted to all three of them.”
Speaking about Gautham Menon he recalls, “One day when I was sleeping I got a call from him. I couldn’t believe I was actually speaking to one of the leading directors of Kollywood! He gave us a lot of freedom and while he shared ideas we gave our inputs and that’s how the song was born.” Later, actually meeting AR Rahman in Chennai to record the demo and Telugu version of the rap was an unforgettable moment in his career.
Observing Rahman and Gautham Menon has taught him a lot. “I was amazed when on Skype itself he told me ‘take all the time you want.’ He just gave us the word Showkali and left the rest to us. In my experience, I’ve never seen any music producer give anyone so much freedom. When I met him, his humility was striking. No matter how far you go, just be yourself, is something I’ve learnt from. He’s an excellent example of how a musician should be. One thing I’ll never forget is the way he appreciates a person’s work. He never brags and has absolutely no attitude. After the one year journey of the Showkali song, I met Rahman sir again recently, this time in Malaysia. I travelled one hour in a car with him when he came to Malaysia for the Nenje Ezhu concert in May 2016. I did the closing rap for the show and the way he introduced me on the show was the biggest moment of my life. I told him that he has influenced my life as a person and musician. He told us, ‘avoid negativity and get positive vibes always and you’ll be a success. Have your parent’s blessings. Do good and be good.” Gautham behaved like a normal person and used to call us ‘brother’. He kept encouraging us, saying ‘you guys are good. You’ll go far.’ It was a great learning experience to be so humble in life from these great achievers.”
Director Vignesh Sivan has written the lyrics of Showkali with Adk and Sri rascol. Showkali has been sung by Aditya Rao, Adk and Sri Rascol, for the film starring STR and Manjima Mohan in Tamil and Naga Chaitanya and Manjima in Telugu.