The Mollywood actor talks about polishing his musical skills during the lockdown and composing for ‘KozhiPunk’ with Sekhar Menon
Pandemic or not, Malayalam actor-musician Sreenath Bhasi loves to be in the creative zone. While the lockdown laid him low temporarily, he brushed up his music chops to keep things ticking. “In a way, the lockdown initially served as a break because I had been quite busy [with film shoots]. But soon, I was stuck at home for three months or so. Making music was a way of getting out of the stasis,” says Sreenath over phone from Dubai, where he is shooting for Al Karama by debutant director Refiy Muhammed.
Teaming up with musician and DJ Sekhar Menon, with whom he had a notable collaboration in 2012 rom-com Da Thadiya, Sreenath brought out the music video ‘KozhiPunk’ (Chicken Punk) in September 2020, based on a 1971 satiric poem, Kozhipanku, by poet K Satchidanandan. With psychedelic visuals and beats, its subtext is dark, hard-hitting and ostensibly political. “I find the poem quite relevant even today. We, in fact, ended up making quite a few tracks during the period, though we released only ‘KozhiPunk’. We plan to bring out the rest by and by,” he says. Last year, the actor lent his voice as a co-singer for ‘Mathayichan’ in the Fahadh Faasil-starrer Trance.
Sreenath says he had a delightful musical experience as a co-curator of the recently held digital Hip Hop festival ‘Para’ (Say) organised by Kochi Music Foundation that was streamed on YouTube. “It was great to see all these artistes coming and performing under one roof. In Kerala, we now have a talent pool of musicians,” he observes.
On the film front, the actor from Kochi is looking forward to his first release since the pandemic in the family entertainer Sumesh & Ramesh directed by Sanoop Thykoodam. “It is a light-hearted flick revolving around two brothers, Sumesh and Ramesh. I play Sumesh, who is an unassuming guy and Balu Varghese [actor] is my brother, Ramesh,” he explains. His previous theatre release was Kappela, which was removed from theatres a few days after the nationwide lockdown came into effect last year.
Sumesh & Ramesh was shot before the pandemic. However, the first film Sreenath resumed shooting for was Home, directed by Rojin Thomas of Philips and the Monkey Pen fame. “In Home, I essay the role of a writer who tries to finish shaping the climax of an important movie. He tries to get his creative juices flowing against a tight deadline. The movie is about the pressure he faces,” he adds.
Sreenath says once he wraps up Al Karama, he will join the sets of an Amal Neerad venture. He has also signed up for Idi Mazha Kaattu (Thunder, Rain, Wind) alongside Chemban Vinod Jose in which he plays “a school teacher who has gone mad over politics”. Next up is a project with Abhilash S Kumar, who directed the ‘KozhiPunk’ video.
The actor says he does not force himself to juggle between acting and music, as both come to him naturally. “I don’t have to strike a balance. I try to have fun with both. I want to do all these things at the same time and never stick to just one activity. I am also waiting for the gigs and shows to get back on track.”
Sreenath has a diplomatic response to the burning question: OTT or cinema? “I love OTT too. There is no doubt that many prefer catching films on their phones. It is quite convenient. But I certainly love the theatre more. At the end of the day, even I want the cinema halls to be up-and-running as before. Isn’t watching a film on the big screen a wholly different experience?” he concludes.