In game of chairs, Kozhikode studio helps candidates find their beat

While the choice of songs varies, with each party selecting tunes that align with their slogans, there’s a common thread of upbeat and inspirational tracks dominating the playlists.
Rasheed Nas at his studio (Nas studio) in Kuttikatoor, Kozhikode
Rasheed Nas at his studio (Nas studio) in Kuttikatoor, Kozhikode

KOZHIKODE: Catchy and groovy songs are as much an election staple as the smiling candidates, high-octane campaigning and walls adorned with graffiti and posters. Blasting through the speakers, the songs, most of them copies of hit numbers, look to highlight why a candidate is the best bet for a constituency.

Things are no different in the bustling city of Kozhikode. However, there is a twist. Here, candidates of various parties are approaching the same studio for producing tunes that match their campaigning tone.

Nestled in the heart of Kuttikatoor, Nas Studio has become the epicentre of this revolution, crafting songs capable of swaying hearts and minds across the political spectrum.

With the general elections less than a month to go, Rasheed Nas, the studio owner, finds himself at the helm of a creative frenzy, composing tunes that transcend mere entertainment to become anthems of political allegiance. His clientele boasts candidates from various parties: From E T Muhammed Basheer in Malappuram, K Muraleedharan in Thrissur, Shafi Parambil in Vadakara, and Ramya Haridas in Alathur to Elamaram Kareem, M T Ramesh and M K Raghavan in Kozhikode. And Rasheed and his team are busy churning out campaign songs for all the candidates.

His compositions are also finding resonance in the digital realm, as one-minute videos flood social media feeds and 30-second snippets dominate WhatsApp statuses.

“I have been making songs for election campaigns since 2009. I still remember my meeting with former MLA U C Raman, who first approached me to make songs for his campaign. There has been no turning back since; our studio is stacked with work every election. What has intrigued and excited me this year is that the candidates have not sought to criticise or degrade their competitors through the songs,” Nas told TNIE. Drawing inspiration from Mappila songs and film melodies, Nas masterfully crafts songs with lyrics that encapsulate the essence of each candidate’s vision with the .

Through clever wordplay and catchy refrains, he highlights not just the individuality of each politician but also the developmental agenda they champion. For Nas, each song is a labour of dedication and creativity. As he navigates through myriad ideologies and agendas arriving at his studio, his compositions stand as a testament to the enduring influence of art in politics.

While the choice of songs varies, with each party selecting tunes that align with their slogans, there’s a common thread of upbeat and inspirational tracks dominating the playlists.

However, some candidates are pushing for modifications to highlight their party’s development initiatives and accomplishments.

“This election is not just about promises; it’s about showcasing what we’ve achieved,” says MP and UDF candidate in Kozhikode M K Raghavan. “The songs are indeed a boost to candidates like me especially when we are campaigning under the scorching sun,” he says. Singers working for Nas include Ajmal Basheer, Habeeb Rainbow, Sabeesh Kommeri, Jisha Kozhikode and Unnimol Kunnamangalam. Hameed Poovalumparamba pens the lyrics.

“Though all the singers and artists here have political affiliations, it is never reflected in the end product as we create songs for every candidate,” said Nas.

Despite the focus on development narratives, the use of film songs as a medium for political messaging has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Still, in the heart of Kozhikode, where the clash of ideas reverberates through every alleyway, Rasheed Nas’ studio stands as a beacon of harmony, where the melodies of democracy find a voice amid the campaign trail.

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