Krishi Pradhan Desh, Krishi Sankat Pe Na Gaur
Ab Yaa Toh Atmahatya Yaa Phir Aandolan ki or
Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Naa Ashe
Awaaz Tumhari Kho Jaye
Awaam Ye Behri So Jaye
Tobe Ekla Cholo Re!
When Kolkata-based rapper Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer aka EPR took the centre stage at the grand finale of India’s first rap reality show with these powerful refrain lines, he instantly owned the audience. With his feet banging the stage and one hand up in the air, he broke into Farmers Of Our Country Unite For We Have Nothing to Lose But Our Chains, which won him the runner-up spot. But even before winning the coveted title, the 30-year-old artiste was already approached for collaborations by several musicians, including DJ Nucleya, Raftaar and Australian hip-hop artiste L-FRESH.
EPR, whose performance video has gone viral on social media after the finale was broadcast last weekend, always wanted to highlight social issues in his lyrics. “My songs are not just about music but equally about lyrics. I have been trying to highlight various cases of social injustice through them. When I got a chance to take part in Hustle on such a popular music channel, I got access to a national platform and decided to use it wisely,” he told us.
From among thousands of aspiring candidates, EPR made his way to the top after kickstarting his journey in the show with a song on slain journalist-turned-activist Gauri Lankesh and Neha Shoree — the slain food and drug administration government officer from Punjab. Naaz Hai, Hum Sabko Tujhpe Naaz Hai / Tere Balidan Par Is Desh Ka Salaam Hai, wrote and performed by EPR, saw him secure his berth for the next stages.
Since then, each of his performance has revolved around some strong social commentary. His journey culminated with the powerful rap on farmer suicides and farmers’ march in Maharashtra that shook the country. EPR also tried to bring focus on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and other inspirations for biopics through his lyrics. On a film being made on Laxmi, he wrote, Ab Ban Rahi Hai Us Par Movie Toh Saari Duniya Janegi / Par Kya Hum Itne Andhe Our Heroes Need A Silver Screen/Kom Na Bani Hoti Toh Mary Kom Kaun?/Aur Jinki Picture Na Bani Forgotten Long Gone. Later, both Neha Shoree and Laxmi’s fathers thanked EPR over social media.
Born in a Tamil Brahmin family in Kolkata, EPR has been a popular name in the city’s music circuit. He is a member of alternative rock/rap rock band Underground Authority and his hip-hop act, Adiacot (A Dream In A Cup Of Tea), is a hit with the pop enthusiasts of the city. “As I said, for me, lyrics is a very important component of my music. I am penning songs since 2002. I drew inspiration from Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda. War poets like Wilfred Owen, too, have had a deep impact on me. For me, it is important to talk about issues taking place around us. So, I use my music as a tool for doing that,” EPR signed off.
Source: Times of India