The 'Kabali' director says that art is political and that he wants to take forward conversations with young people through the Collective.

Pa Ranjiths The Casteless Collective A coming together of rock rap and gaana
Features Music Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 18:16

Pa Ranjith announced The Casteless Collective today, an event that aims to take independent music to the younger generations. This a fusion of rap, rock, and gaana from musicians hailing from underprivileged backgrounds.

Pa Ranjith, who has always been vocal about caste discrimination in society, said that the name 'Casteless' Collective comes from Iyothee Thass. “When the government was taking its Census, Iyothee Thass, a 19th century Dalit writer, named the population that is discriminated against as 'Tamils without caste'. That’s where the name comes from.”

Through the Collective, Pa Ranjith hopes to open up access to music as well as promote independent music, all the while conveying his core political message of equality of human beings.

Speaking to TNM, the Kabali director said, “We are doing this because we want to open up independent music. Art is political. I believe we can have a lot of conversations through art. That’s how I see cinema and that’s how I see music. If art is for the people, then it is political. What kind of discussions can we create out of the art?"

Ranjith has also tried to throw light on social problems through his other projects. He says, “We did a play called Manjal and a photo exhibition on the lives of workers called Naanum Kuzhandhaithan (I am also a child). Similarly, we want to explore what can be done with music using gaana, rap, and rock. We want it to be political, like the music of Bob Marley and others.”

In preparation for the event, he conducted a workshop with the musicians. He says, “They’re all kids from slums. They are self taught in music and writing. We also have those who do acoustics as independent musicians. We also have a collaboration with Paul Jacobs and the Madras Records team. They are interesting people that we’re working with for this political fusion. We’re hoping to take this political concert all over the world. We should take the value of independent music to the youngsters.”

When asked what he was trying to convey through the effort, he says, “The message we are trying to convey is equality among humans. There is a need for this now. There are efforts to promote equality while at the same time there is opposition for it. We need to take this to youngsters. We’ve never discussed these topics before. We need to reach out to youngsters through music, poetry, literature, photos and documentaries. We’ve already done three workshops, a play and a photo exhibition. Even in my cinema, I convey political thoughts. This is about human feelings. The aim is to create a cultural effect.”

Will Pa Ranjith use independent music, coming as he does from the film industry which has established musicians? He says, “Independent music should be just as popular as film music. From my first film, I have used gaana songs in my music. So of course I will use it.”

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