As artistes world over aspire to push the envelope, reinvent themselves and seek social media clout, so do our local artistes. In fact, there has been quite the metamorphosis as of late. But we're not particularly sure if it's for the better, considering that most artistes have been doling out sub standard content (lyrics, music videos, productions) that our consumers have been obediently accepting with wide open arms.
Never mind that we deserve better. But there's a blatant lack of dissent from the masses which means there is little hope of improvement. This is not to say the music industry in the country is beyond redemption. Many artistes continue to strive to raise the bar and walk the lonely road, a path not really in demand by the local consumer.
Then there are a few artistes who have managed to single handedly cause an industry to teeter on the verge of doing a nose dive into the abyss of cheap, mind numbing content. These artistes blatantly court controversy, delve into the realm of low-grade, tasteless content and now one artiste in particular seems to have sunk to new lows to remain in the public eye.
It may be argued that talking about these artistes increases their views and satiates their end game by continuing to shine the spotlight on them. That may be true, but having reached the point of no return, these artistes have figured out the formula that works. Controversy sells. Sex sells. There is a high demand, so supply will continue. The formula works like a well oiled machine. Said artiste will announce the release of a new video, his fans and detractors will flock to the sight to see what new controversy the artiste has now stirred up. Cue heated posts on social media platforms and discussions over coffee. Artiste wins.
The artiste in question thrives and capitalises on the widespread dissent and hate. Having put out cringeworthy videos, he seems to have overstepped boundaries with his distasteful vilifying of the personal life of a senior respected artiste in the country. His endgame is obvious. But monetising on the distasteful portrayal of someone's personal life is a new low. Even for the said artiste. Without a doubt, the senior artiste would very much have preferred to be excluded from that trashy and vulgarly depicted narrative.
Not surprisingly - and as expected - people have been calling out for a ban on the said video. Posts have been widely circulated asking for it to be reported. Ironic really, considering the fragile and wavering loyalties of the masses - in fact, just a short while back, it was the said senior artiste who drew a lot of flack and ended up the object of derision and ridicule. The butt of all jokes. Few defended and stood by him.
But we also have to ask ourselves, for artistes to continue to supply such drivel, there has to be a demand. Are we as a society so morally regressed that we don't bat an eyelid when artistes continue to put out such crass videos? Because until we collectively stand together and refuse to accept such third rate productions, our local artistes who seem to have 'the tenacity of a roach that keeps skittering back even in the face of nuclear waste and disaster' are here to stay and continue to produce such garbage.
We talked to a few people, most of whom shared their distaste.
Isn't it ironic the 'fictional' story line in this music video draws very close parallels to the story of a well known artiste? What a coincidence! Absolutely accidental! Certain scenes in this music video are totally unnecessary and simply tasteless!.... and that's exactly why they go totally viral!
Methma - (Clinical Psychology postgraduate)
It's beyond words what narcissism and perceived credibility brought by social media 'shares' and 'likes' can do to a community. Producing content that is beyond garbage and trying to capitalise on the word 'radicalism' to justify oneself can get you only so far. Iraj Weeraratne is not a name that is even worth a mention. Even to express disapproval, it is not a name worth mentioning. I'd rather if people took this opportunity to appreciate the gift of music that was given to us by Victor Ratnayake, without even a mention of a psychopath who deserves neither positive nor negative attention.
I guess there was a social message in there somewhere, but between that and all those sexual innuendos at the end, it's safe to say a brother got distracted. What was the social message again? Eat bananas and you'll get… pregnant?
Just because you compose a song by combining few phrases and a melody does not make you a prominent musician who generations to come will remember, Iraj is one example. I won't call him a musician because he is not one. Usually lyrics in his songs are incoherent and meaningless apart from the fact that he cannot sing. Now he has stooped so low, which makes you question whether this man has any morals. This time he invaded the privacy of a renowned musician who is admired and loved dearly by the generations who enjoy eloquent and mellifluous music. We live in a time where popularity is measured by the number of likes, views and shares. There may be people like Iraj who have not learned any moral values. For them Iraj can be a musician, but for people with a moral conscience he is a destructive human who shatters the minds of younger generation in Sri Lanka.
Iraj did not just make us uncomfortable with this video but also the younger generation. By this I'm not referring to adolescents but kids, starting from age 8. It has been really difficult for parents to leave a child in front of the television without observation. I hear people say that these things are common in Sri Lanka now (sex and porn) but these are common behind close doors so I think it's better to leave it behind the doors. People like Iraj are trying to destroy our culture trying to talk about the reality. I think it's time to put the reality behind and give good things to people, children and the coming generation.
Raneesha (Forensic Psychology postgraduate)
It was only a matter of time. He was biding his time with one video after the other. It reached the point where everyone was like, 'Oh. Just another stupid video of his'. So this time, he wanted to hit a personal level with a great artiste that we all love so dearly.
His social desirability and inferiority is so high that his judgement is clouded by it. That is, if he has any moral conscience. Grandiose self-worth, need for stimulation, manipulative, lack of remorse and empathy, shallow affect and failure to accept responsibility - sounds like him, doesn't it? But I wasn't describing him. I was describing characteristics of a psychopath. Is he one? I don't know. You decide.
When you have zero talent and a lot of money, you make your way through one way or the other. That's the level of desperation he portrays and social acceptance he seeks. Iraj insulted a true musician whose career is twice longer and infinity times more legendary than his pathetic existence. Oh but then again, it all comes down to Iraj thinking he is great because these days it is all about views and likes, eh?
When there's controversy, we will always know who the artiste is. I guess it would have been somewhat acceptable if he just depicted the story of the senior artiste. HOW he did it, especially in the latter part of the video showed that his moral compass is skewed. Who came up with a concept for the video? A hormonal 13 year old boy? Just gross to he honest.
I recently watched all his videos and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He has descended into the deepest pits of degradation. Sad that once upon a time he used to have acceptable music and videos.