Browsing through my Facebook homepage, I couldn’t help but wonder why there are a number of posts about Cleopatra and ‘Jim Pappa’ on my feed. Digging deep into the curiosity I found out that it’s yet another controversial, age-restricted video by IRAJ. Expecting the obvious I searched for the video on YouTube and it was the first suggestion on the search bar.
During the first few seconds of the video, I thought that Iraj has chosen to sing about a ghost story as the theme this time for the video along with some half naked women. But it is not until the end you realize that he is trying to convey an important message through this video, however with the usual goal of increasing the number of views; typical Iraj.
The storyline goes on about a single mother who spends a hybrid lifestyle very different from each other day and night. During the day she would take care of her little daughter and sends her off to school, but at night she would be spending the night in sexy lingerie at dodgy nightclubs, luring men into her arms and making money out of them. But little does she realize that there are a lot of mentally sick men out there looking at her wanting to satisfy their twisted fantasies off from a type of person like her. At the end, she becomes prey to such a man, who abuses her and later kills her daughter and herself.
Due to certain decisions and mistakes we make in our lives which are inevitable, one might end up in a very vulnerable state in life where you have no money, no friends or family, but have to take care of a little girl who has only you. At first, you might try working a regular job for a little pay but soon you realize even though it is enough to cover the daily expenses, you are running a tight ship out there. Hence, from some contacts, you get into a type of lifestyle where men are willing to throw piles of shiny money if you give them a little something. You think to yourself you’ll quit this when you have enough money saved, but it’s never enough. Even though you don’t enjoy the company of these strange men, you enjoy their money. But what you don’t realize is that when you get into such a lifestyle, there are many different types of people observing you and your every move. They might even track you home to get stuff done from you. At this point, you regret what you do and that you didn’t stop when you had the chance. But it’s too late when you realize, it might have already cost you your life and your loved one’s lives.
What I particularly like about this song is its rap part by Kaizer and the below verse really hit the core.
ජීවිතයම කරන් ඉදුල්, සොයන්නේ ළමයට රජ බොජුන්.
ආශ්රය කරාට වන සතුන්, පුතාට නුබ තාමත් ගෙදර බුදුන්.
What is controversial about this song is the theme Iraj has used for the song and for the video. The theme of the song is that for easy money women will choose dangerous means of lifestyle. But what they don’t understand is easy money comes with a huge price and most of the time you have to pay it with your life or your loved one’s lives. One might not realize when they decide to do what they are doing, but there are a number of mentally unstable men out there watching these women to fulfill their twisted sexual fantasies. That is the reason why we hear so many rape cases along with murders in news today.
The theme for the video is debatable because of the display of skin and certain sexual activity that Sri Lankans are not used to seeing from a Sri Lankan music video. This method of getting these type of music videos to the public and to make it viral is a marketing technique used by Iraj, which is argued by a lot in this country. Iraj, who was in struggle to make some quality music for years since he got into this field recently has discovered that getting famous for wrong reasons can also fill up his pockets. Hence, around 75% of his past music videos of the last couple of years have featured controversial scenes and women showing a lot of skin to an extent you might not even see in an American music video. The question here is that whether getting famous for wrong reasons would do any good for Iraj and thousands of viewers in our country. Now it has come to a position where people know when Iraj releases a video it is going to be closer to an XXX video and you have to watch it with the doors closed in your room; I know I have to.
All in all, I applaud Iraj for incorporating niche topic like this into his music. Even though I did not like the song very much, I appreciate that he is trying to convey an important message, one not a lot of people will talk about freely in a country like Sri Lanka. It might make at least a few couple of women rethink what they are doing to hoping to do. But I do not agree with him that he is talking about a sensitive topic, where he can surely incorporate scenes of sexual nature and half naked women into the video with the sole purpose of increasing the number of views for his video. Iraj should rethink about the choices he is making and make some effort to create some quality music like he used to do back in the day with ‘Ahankara Nagare’ or ‘J Town Story’.