Actor Neeraj Madhav ‘beats’ lockdown blues with Malayalam rap song

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Mollywood actor Neeraj Madhav has taken the beat route to stay upbeat amid the lockdown blues. He recently posted on social media a video of him singing a rap number in Malayalam, ‘Oru Kadha Parayam’, that he had written to a free beat downloaded from the Internet. “Oru Kadha Parayam, which is technically in mixtape style as the beats are borrowed, was written in two hours or so,” says the dancer-turned-actor, who featured in the Bollywood web series The Family Man last year.

The song video, which has gone viral, shows Neeraj in a round-neck black T and yellow snapback cap worn backwards in true hip hop style, crooning the verses and gently grooving to the rhythm. “The video was shot on phone at my residence in Kozhikode (in Kerala). I had the beats played loudly on speakers in the background. There was no mixing or mastering,” he says, adding that the two-and-a-half-minute sequence was captured in a single take. Of course, Neeraj, who was last seen in Mollywood in Gauthamante Radham, had to learn the entire lyrics by heart.

Neeraj says he decided to give a go at a rap song after starting to feel a tad restless a few weeks into the lockdown. “I felt the need to pen something creative. However, I wasn’t really in a mood to attempt a full-fledged script or anything since whatever is going around is truly concerning. I was looking at something compact and effective,” he says. Music, for him, is “a comfort zone” and, this time, served as a tailor-made medium to give “vent” to his pent-up energy. “When you feel low, find your own way… listen to your inner voice and find your own inspiration. That’s the generic message I intended to convey through the lyrics,” says Neeraj, listing the likes of Lil Wayne, Eminem, Logic, Kendrick Lamar and Busta Rhymes as some his favourite Western rappers.

The actor feels that rap and hop hip as genres are gaining popularity in India, especially after the recognition of the Ranveer Singh-starrer Bollywood musical drama Gully Boy last year that revolved around the story of a street rapper. “Personally, rap is a genre of music I strike a vibe with. Perhaps, because I learnt how to play chenda when I was young since both are primarily based on beats. I find it uplifting,” he explains.

On the big screen-front, Neeraj is awaiting the release of Ka, directed by Rajeeshlal Vamsha, in which he plays the lead.

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