KOCHI: Indian curry has a reputation for being too hot to handle all over the world. When Kochi-bred, Bengaluru-based hip-hop producer Parimal Shais got stuck at home during the lockdown, he really missed his mother’s fish curry. Inspired, he made Curry Chatti Beats – a lockdown project featuring collaborations with multiple artists, recorded over samples of old South Indian melodies. While his earlier release, Kumarikandam Tracks Volume 1 was all about the sound of the south side, this new IGTV series is a very real, fun yet aesthetic take on underground music.
While the first episode featured Bengaluru-based rapper Suraj Cherukat aka Hanumankind, the second features Irfana Hameed, Kodaikkanal-bred, Garden City-based artist. Alongside model Randy Scarhol, Prasanth/Bahaar drops fiery verses, making it hard to believe that it is her debut performance. A yoga instructor who studied political science in college, Irfana has experimented with trumpet and veena, and studied Indian classical, until hip-hop took over her. “I write poetry, and rhythm comes to me naturally. When Parimal spoke to me about working together, I was very nervous. I pulled together some old verses I had, and it came out better than I expected,” she says. Irfana is planning to release an extended play record very soon.
DIY is the way to be
For Lendrick Kumar (he wishes to stay anonymous), the man who made the song the visual treat that it is, Curry Chatti Beats was an unexpected, yet delightful plot twist. “When the lockdown started, I was in a bad state of mind. But this project has taught us all big lessons about making the best of now,” he says.
Lendrick’s friendship with upcoming artists triggered both the storyteller and photographer in him. “What happens inside a studio is pure magic. The struggle, the focus, the energy. It needs to be documented for the world to see. This is as real as it gets, and that is what makes it special. For Irfaana’s recording, our mic was broken, but that never stopped us,” he says.
In hindsight, Curry Chatti Beats being all about ‘having fun’, seems quite relevant at a time like this. Music industry is being stripped of its embellishments – labels, big venues and million-dollar investments. Social media and the internet decides who is good and who isn’t, and good music is being appreciated for what it is. For Parimal, who has proved that he is not scared of change, the response that Curry Chatti is getting is ample motivation to experiment more.
“Diversity and creativity should be normalised. I have been lucky enough to work with few great talents, and I will continue to, because that is my focus. The lockdown has taught us that establishments can fall. But quality music and content will always have takers,” he concludes.