Four years ago, Shilpa Susan Jacob cut her hair short, which, she remembers, raised many an eyebrow. Now, she has let her hair down with her ‘Mudi Rap’ song that has since gone viral. The Kottayam native’s rap number captures the story of her hair and how the simple act of cutting it put her in the cross hairs of unwelcome attention and questions.
Shilpa says she was inspired to come up with the song after watching playback singer Indulekha Warrier’s ‘Penn Rap’ that went viral a few weeks ago. “‘Penn Rap’ was done brilliantly and I found the lyrics hard-hitting. Despite being shot at home in a no-frills style, it still reached so many people and I wondered if I could attempt something similar,” she says. After penning the lyrics for ‘Mudi Rap’, Shilpa shared it with her friends who encouraged her to give it a go with rap beats. In fact, Shilpa chose the same free beats available on Instagram that was used by Indulekha for ‘Penn Rap’.
Shilpa recollects how “the society” was splitting hairs when she first cut her hair short for practical reasons four years ago. “It was a personal choice but there were so many passing their comments about it. I had some hair issues and decided to cut my tresses short. But soon, I realised that the way our society saw such a simple act was surprisingly different. There were those who asked me if I had some illness and made fun of me. Of course, some remarks were in good humour but others were sarcastic. Then there were others who decided that I might have become part of the LGBT community as if that would be wrong,” she says.
A student of Chartered Accountancy, Shilpa moved to Bengaluru the next year. She is now doing an internship with an accountancy firm in Bengaluru and is back home at Kangazha in Kottayam due to the pandemic. She exudes swagger in the ‘Mudi Rap’ video when she sings “lokamake maari ketto, ningalokke maaru ketto…. (listen, the world has changed/ listen, please change yourselves too).
Shilpa says she has received a barrage of “both warm and adverse” comments on social media for her song but does not want to respond to the negative ones. “I was just trying to tell my story. I wanted to say that it is not your hair or your appearance that matters, but what you do,” she adds.
The video was shot at her home with the help of her sister Sneha, and Shilpa says her family was supportive when she posted the track on social media. “After all, I am not naming or blaming anyone,” she says.
The song has since been shared by Indulekha herself and actor Pearle Maaney.