Like all good motion pictures, this one too, begins with a practice pulling right into a station. “…serumidam Vyasarpadi”, proclaims the background monitor. The gaana-influenced music ‘Vyasarpadi’ has been created particularly for the Chennai episode of That is My Hood, a docu-series by Crimson Bull Media Home and Supari Studios, exploring the roots of hip hop tradition in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Sweeping pictures of vibrant clotheslines criss-crossed between closely-spaced buildings, unforgivingly vivid skies and budding footballers exhibiting off their strikes on earthen grounds — that is Vyasarpadi, as proven by director Niyantha Shekar. Based mostly in Mumbai now, Niyantha is from Chennai, and in July, he got here again to analysis the hip hop tradition within the neighbourhood, assembly with rappers, B-boys and B-girls, graffiti crews and singers. The episode takes viewers by way of the parks, tea kadais, motta maadis, and streets that allowed an rebellion of protest music. The story is advised by way of voices from the neighborhood like rapper Sunil Raj, Tenma and Logan from The Casteless Collective, Pa Ranjith’s gaana band, and B-boy Velu aka Ok Vadivelan.
Proper at house
Niyantha, who has additionally directed the Delhi and Kolkata episodes, explains what stands out concerning the Chennai one. “In a lot of other cities, we find hip hop artistes already in the mainstream. But whoever we met while shooting for this episode, was just starting in their journey — Logan founded his band, Black Boys, during those three months. Or they were at the cusp of change, at a turning point — B-boy Velu got his first job as a choreographer in a Tamil movie during this time. The hip hop movement is just rising here, so there is a lot of energy and excitement in the community.”
Niyantha first met B-boy Velu, who then launched him to rapper Sunil, who launched him to different artistes. They took him round to the locations they jam at, that are typically the streets proper exterior their houses. Within the episode, Sunil introduces viewers to his inspiration — his mom, and the home he grew up in, at Sathyamoorthy Nagar. “He wants to be a rapper, I want him to be a lawyer, I hope both of our wishes get fulfilled,” she shrugs within the video.
Logan later tells us, solely half-jokingly, “In Vyasarpadi, you can see a footballer in each house, a gaana singer in each two houses and a lawyer in each 10.”
The boys make a particular point out of Ajwa Tea Store, crediting proprietor CS Salaam for giving them house to jam. They sit exterior his store, slapping beats on stools and empty water cans. By the point Salaam will get them their drinks, they’ll have completed jamming to 1 music — or if inspiration strikes, even writing one.
Tune of our individuals
- Author Tamizh Prabha opens the video speaking about how, in the course of the British Rule, North Madras had been segregated as ‘Black Town’. All through, the long-standing sentiment that comes by way of is that not sufficient alternatives got for Vyasarpadi to develop, regardless of expertise locally. Sunil and Velu describe the judgement they really feel once they inform others that they’re from this a part of town.
- Logan, who just lately based Black Boys, a crew of 32 members, some as younger as eight years outdated, chronicles love, politics, and societal points by way of his songs. “Our first song, ‘Do something/edhachu pannu’ stresses on the importance of education for our children,” he says.
- He provides that Black Boys’ motto is to show these beliefs to younger kids and youngsters, in order that they develop as much as be politically conscious people.
- “In this way,” says Niyantha, “Vyasarpadi has more parallels to the original hip hop movement in the Bronx than any other city.”
Within the video, the B-boyers take to deserted heaps exterior railway stations, amid heaps of rubble. Nonetheless, they often practise at streets and parks like Sathyamoorthy Park. My Girl’s Park in Periamet is one other favorite hub, because of its clean granite flooring and shaded canopies. As one of many B-Boyers places it, “Here, we may not have food or water, but we have a Bluetooth speaker, two legs, and two hands — we have fun.”
That is additionally, believes Niyantha, what makes Chennai stand out. “In Kolkata, the community had taken to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the city. In Delhi, they faced issues with resident welfare associations, and had to go to public parks further away. But here, what’s cool is that the neighbourhoods they grew up in are the same where they practised their art. They did not have to find another destination. We could also see family and society supporting them.”