A casting call for director Emcy Joseph’s next film in the form of a rap song

A casting call in rap form, which has emerged on YouTube, acknowledges the challenges of chasing the film dream

‘Rejection Rap’ is unusual as far as casting calls go. Usually, in the Malayalam film industry, these tend to be a poster or post circulated on social media. However, this casting call video, released on YouTube on January 20 and viewed more than 90,000 times, will resonate with many looking for that elusive break.

Filmmaker Emcy Joseph wanted the casting call for his second film, Ennittu Avasanam to be meaningful. “We thought of the ‘target group’, those struggling on a daily basis to get a chance. Even then, in the end, not all make it. This song acknowledges their battle,” says Joseph.

Emcy Joseph 

Rather than a melodious number, he felt rap would convey a struggling actor’s angst best. “I felt it apt to express anger, frustration and a sense of wanting to revolt against all that is going wrong — which is basically everything. This is something that has to be told and heard,” he says.

The lyrics and music are by childhood friends, Nithin M Maenon and Yadu Krishnan: Maenon has acted in the video while Krishnan is the vocalist with inputs from Maenon. Krishnan, who has sung for films such as Kilometres and Kilometres and Soorarai Pottru (Telugu version) is part of AR Rahman’s Sufi ensemble.

Nithin Maenon in the video 

Rejection and audition are refrains in the song, which speaks about talent not being enough; of being ridiculed by family and society while being constantly told to “get a real job”. An aspiring actor and musician himself, Maenon says they took inspiration from their lives as artists looking for a break. Although his parents have been supportive of the engineer/MBA’s aspirations, Krishnan says, he has faced his share of jibes for quitting a well-paying job for a career in music.

The brief given was that the song had to tautly express the scorn a struggler faces.

“We had written an extended version of the song — around two-and-a-half to three minutes — but Joseph wanted it to be a crisp minute and a half. He sat down with us and we came up with this one,” Krishnan says.

Yadu Krishnan 

Joseph adds, “I struggled for five-odd years before I made my first film — Vikrithi. It is not easy, and I know that. This video is an acknowledgement of that.” The last scene has the frustrated, ‘struggling’ actor leap off a bridge, land in a fishing boat passing under it on which a film is being shot. The actor finds himself facing a camera, unwittingly.

The tag line declares ‘even if you leave cinema, it will not quit on you’ as the casting call is announced. “It is also about hope, like it happens in the climax of the video. You never know when luck changes. Not everybody makes it, but there is always a chance one might,” Joseph says.

His advice to those who chase the film dream without a Plan B, “Having a back-up, another job for example would be a good idea rather than putting everything into trying for a chance in films. Not everyone makes it, and if you don’t, there is something to fall back on.”

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