Rapping the Reality – NAARI

Jyoti Shekar

Bharat ki naari, Atyaachar hai jaari,
Phir bhi tune humko sambhala, Hum tere aabhari.

go the words of an amazing rap song NAARI written by a group of college boys with One Million+ views on Youtube. While I accidentally bumped into this track, the lyrics struck a chord with me. In the era of #MeToo movement and Nirbhaya rape cases, with real feminism still finding its feet, NAARI found a home in my heart. Very rarely does one find a group of young university students, writing some deep lyrics and creating a video touching upon the very prevalent social issue of injustice against women. I mean, when have you seen men come out in open, acknowledge the atrocities, and then send out a gratitude note to the women?

NAARI does just that. It touches upon women exercising their freedom to wear and do what they want (just as the other gender would) and then not only getting attacked with acid or rapes, but getting blamed for it as well!

In these times of social media popularity and TRP ratings, not many young artist show an interest in socially relevant issues. Yet, we have these four boys here who put their ideas, heart and soul into this song.

The video is made by this awesome team of Shlok who wrote the lyrics, Iqlipse Nova who raps the song, ably supported by Ruhell who set the music, and Nishant who shot the video. All of them are university students. Shlok, who also takes Maths & Science tuitions from 9th to 12th grade students, had written the song when he was in his first year at college.

We spoke to Shlok and Iqlipse to understand what made them write such a hard hitting, high impact rap song.

Jyoti: To start with, I loved the song. Every time I realise the unfairness of this issue, it hits me hard and I try harder to reach out to the masses. Some people listen to talks, some to songs, and some understand through art. I was so glad to hear this rap song. What made you write it?

Shlok: Actually I started rapping five years ago but when I created my Youtube channel, I was looking to put some great content on my channel. Then I realised that my first video has to be something real, you know which can show the true image of society. One day I was sitting in tuition, and my student was doing her homework. Looking at her, suddenly I came up with the idea of writing a song on women empowerment and the struggle of women in our ‘manly’ society. But I was clear that I wanted to approach it from the other side. So I wrote the first verse as sarcasm, making it look like I am standing on the boys’ side, at least the ones who justify their eve teasing acts, and say that rapes are because of the girl’s choice of clothes. Then in the second verse, I clearly oppose that thinking, so that everyone can relate to this.

Jyoti: So how did it take the form of a video? How did you approach the other guys?Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 12.26.15 AM

Shlok: I made the song and uploaded it on my Youtube channel. Then I performed it in IIT Delhi where Nova saw me performing. Then he approached me and asked if we could do a remake of this track, and I agreed. That’s the story of NAARI.

Jyoti: So how did you plan the whole video? Clearly the goal would have been to make it high impact so that it can reach people in the right perspective.

Iqlipse: As soon as I heard Shlok perform this song, I loved it. And I was sure that I wanted the video to be different. Since it was a song favouring women empowerment, one thing that I was sure of from the start was – we need to feature girls who can symbolise strength on screen. Then I hit upon the idea of making the girls rap in the video, instead of doing it ourselves. So I asked the team about the idea and they all enthusiastically agreed.

Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 12.26.57 AMSo we featured six girls in the video. Now the idea was not to make it for one girl or one type of girl. This song is for every girl out there and we needed to show it. Every girl is unique in her own way. Though it is tough to show it in a song of just three minutes, we managed to symbolise it by giving completely different outfits, aura and demeanour to every girl. We also shot them at different locations according to how they were dressed. We shot the video at different locations of Delhi – Chandni Chowk, Jungle, SDA market, an old fort, etc. And the rest is there for all to see.

Jyoti: Very interesting. What do you think it takes for women rappers to make their mark?

Shlok: Well, actually there is nothing like only boys or men can rap. This is art and art is for everyone; irrespective of the gender. So if a girl wants to rap, she is welcome to join the community. But one should take to this art form only if he/she really loves to do it, and not just because it is trendy. He/she should learn it properly, should practice hard and then go in front of the mic.

Jyoti: In light of the ‘yaar dosti‘ songs from the popular singers, how important and how difficult is it to sustain a social issue song? I mean what is your take on TRP vs. Social Awareness?

Shlok: Look, every type of music is important, every single genre. The Yaar Dosti tracks are also important and tracks like NAARI are also important. But I think if you do it properly, then you can leave a very strong impact on society. That’s why after NAARI, I decided to do another track for social cause ‘SANDESH. It is about drug abuse and children who start smoking at very young age just to look cool. It is still one of my best songs and is available on my channel – OFFICIAL SHLOK. After that I also came up with mainstream hip hop, commercial tracks. For me, art is vast and artist should be versatile.

Jyoti: Very well put. Anything else you want to add or any message you have for our readers?

Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 12.27.14 AMShlok: I just want to say that I think music is the only way to penetrate into someone’s soul and get straight into one’s heart. Only music has the ability to destroy hate. So listen to the music, sometimes for fun but sometimes to change, to bring change in the society. Keep spreading love in these hard times, and keep spreading positivity.

PS – Do not miss their latest rap song on the ongoing pandemic.

*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design, used with permission of the interviewee or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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