No lengthy poll speech catches voter attention like a parody song

Making the Scene Contra for candidates parody songs rule in Kerala election campaignsAbdul Khader Kakkanad
news Kerala 2016 Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 17:21

By Febin Jose

While everyone knows that election season is the busiest for candidates and campaigners, there is another set of people working overtime as well: parody song writers. Parodies are one of the most efficient ways to get attention, and play a major role in election campaigning.

“There are no elections without parody songs. If a party needs to win, they need these parodies,” says Abdul Khader Kakkanad, a well-known parody song writer based in Kochi.

One of the mainstays of election campaigns in Kerala, election parody songs convey their message more effectively than lengthy poll speeches. “I’ve been in this business for almost 20 years now and I have never seen anything that can capture the attention of voters more effectively than this. If you need to win, you need a good parody song to back your party with,” says Abdul Khader.

Elections come and go but these songs are imprinted in the minds of the people for a long time and that is their triumph, he says. These songs both capture the various achievements of a party and simultaneously point out the failures of the opposing parties.

“We are very professional when it comes to writing parody songs. We make sure that our personal political biases never affect the quality of our songs,” says Majeed Vilakathu, another parody song writer who tailors his work for the northern part of Kerala. He adds that as songwriting is a business for them, they make sure that whoever pays, irrespective of their ideologies, always get the best material.

The songs are often customized for candidates based on regional specifics. “It all depends on where the candidate is from. If he is from one of the northern districts, the songs are usually done in the tunes of popular Mapilapatu. As we travel towards the south, choices tend to Christian and cinematic songs as they are more popular due to the huge density of youth in the middle and southern regions of Kerala,” clarified Abdul Khader.

This time, most of the songs are being composed in the tunes of various super hits from the movies Premam, Amar, Akbar, Antony and Ennu Ninte Moideen, like “Scene Contra”, "Premamennaal" and "Mukkathe Penne", because the demand is highest for them. Recent issues like the Solar Scam and various other corruption cases play a major role in these songs.

Both Abdul Khader and Majeed Vilakathu agree that it is easier to write against the ruling party as there are plenty of events to write against. But this does not mean that they ignore the needs of the ruling party.

“Though we use the same songs in many cases for different parties, we make sure that not even a single line is repeated among the songs. We put in almost two hours into writing and another three hours into composition to ensure that we deliver quality songs for the clients,” claims Majeed Vilakathu.

Most of these productions also act as efficient platforms for upcoming singers to showcase their talent. “Music is a dying industry for upcoming singers as most of them never get an initiation. We ensure that we provide opportunities to mostly new singers in the industry,” Abdul Khader explains.

With an affordable price tag of around Rs 5000 per song, parody songs are now one of the favourite means of campaigning for candidates across the state. And with a good variety ranging up to six or seven songs per candidate, the composers ensure that the voters are never bored.

With the elections nearing, new parody songs will be rolling out across Kerala before the end of the month.

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