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The song was composed in half an hour and recorded in 10 minutes. Sometimes that’s all it takes to hit the right note,” says Shaan Rahman. He knows something about composing a hit song; in the eight years that he has been working in the Malayalam film industry, many of Rahman’s compositions have busted charts and gone viral. The song Thiruvaavaniraavu from Jacobinte Swargarajyam, for example, was the hit of the season last Onam and as he began working on the music for this year’s big Onam release, Velipadinte Pusthakam, Rahman says that many asked him if another festival song would be forthcoming. “But I had no such thing in mind. All I wanted to do was compose something with a folksy, raw feel to which people could dance, so I did that,” he says over the phone from Kochi, where he is based.
The resulting composition, Entammede Jimikki Kammal (My Mother’s Earrings), exceeded all expectations. Since it was released a month ago, the song has become something of an anthem in Kerala, with the “Jimikki Kammal fever”, as it has been dubbed, spreading to other parts of the country as well. “To be honest, I am very surprised by the response to the song. The enthusiasm is of a completely different level,” he says.
What Why This Kolaveri Di was to 2011-12, Entammede Jimikki Kammal seems to be for 2017. The comic ditty, performed by Vineeth Srinivasan and Renjith Unni, is pictured on a challenge issued by a college group to their rivals. As part of the publicity for the movie, the filmmakers created the “Jimikki Kammal Challenge”, asking fans of the movie’s star, Mohanlal, to make videos of their own for the song.
The response, says Rahman, was nothing short of overwhelming. So far, the composer’s favourite video of the song is the one made by the students and staff of Indian School of Commerce in Kochi. It has nearly 10 million views on YouTube and was even shared by American TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who seems to have been amused by the similarity between his name and the title of the song. The video has made an overnight star of Sheril Kadavan, one of the students seen dancing in it, with other videos and memes dedicated to her cropping up on the internet.
“The song is being played at functions all over the state, in schools and colleges. Many people danced to it during their Onam celebrations. I’m getting two to three videos everyday even now, and just today I received a video from Sweden,” he says.