Shyam Sasikumar recollects his first open mic performance in the city as a scary one “It was in 2017 and I was shaking. Though I have done more shows subsequently, I am still not over my stage fear. But, now I know how to hide it in front of the audience.” This 19-year-old has recently released Needhi, an independent music video album along with his friend Charukesh M, who directed the project. With 92,800 views on Youtube, the video song is about the struggles faced by the family of a rape survivor. “I have sung and done the background score for the song,” he says.
Shyam’s love for music began early and at the age of six he began organ lessons. “By the time I was 14, I began experimenting with music software. I would spend hours in my room composing tunes and mixing sounds,”he says. He has now completed a course in vocal music from KM College of Music and Technology, Chennai. “It opened up a new world to me where I was surrounded by people with similar interests. My co-singer in this song, Sony Komanduri was my class-mate.” Shyam says tunes come to me, sometimes at the most unexpected moments.“It can be while eating bajjis at a road side stall or when I am in the shower. I immediately record the tune in my phone and use it later.”
Charukesh came up with the idea of Needhi eight months ago. “I always dreamt to be an actor. After my studies, I approached many people from the film industry with no luck. So, I decided to do something myself and came up with this idea. I chose the subject as I read about incidents of rape on a regular basis and it affected me.” This is his directorial début. He has also played the role of the lead actor’s brother. “People might think that it is a clichéd subject, but as artistes, this is what we can do. We question the laws that do not give the maximum punishment to the rapists,”he says.
The shooting of Needhi was done at Saibaba Colony. “We were a team of five people. We hired the shooting equipment and it was done in a span of four days. But later we found that the hard disk that contained the files was corrupted. The entire team felt dejected but we pulled ourselves together and re shot it.”
The video got 12,000 views in the first day after the release. “It was thrilling to know that people from different parts of the world watched and appreciated our effort. Actress Nikki Galrani shared our video on her Twitter handle. We downloaded the app just to see the link on her page ,” says Shyam.