‘Kodai Still Won’t’: Sofia Ashraf & TM Krishna Hit Unilever Again
We spoke to Ashraf and Krishna on the second instalment of the viral sensation, ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’.
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
Cameraperson: Smitha TK
‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ is a number that everyone in India would remember from 2015 – even Nicki Minaj would. The team that made the viral song, a spoof of ‘Anaconda’, is back again with a sequel ‘Kodaikanal Still Won’t.’ This time the mix of rap, gaana and Carnatic music, featuring vocalist TM Krishna, Indie rock musician Amrit Rao and Sofia Ashraf (who sang the viral rap video) has called out ‘Unilever’s Environmental Racism.’
The song aims to bring the spotlight once again to the issue of mercury contamination at a Unilever plant in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.
Clean up right, clean the site. Treat us like we were white.
The video featuring rapper Sofia Ashraf of the viral Kodaikanal Won't fame, also has eminent Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna and Indie rock musician Amrit Rao belting out a catchy number fusing Carnatic, rap and Tamil Gaana Kuthu genres.
The video was shot in Kodaikanal and directed by Rathindran R Prasad (Kodaikanal Won't and Chennai Poromboke Paadal), with Shreyaas Krishna as the director of photography.
The music video is meant to be a vehicle for gathering signatures in a petition hosted by Jhatkaa.org targeting Unilever CEO Paul Polman. Jhatkaa has also announced a “Missed Call” campaign that allows people to sign the petition by giving a missed call to +917338730702.
Don’t accept different standards. All humans same. We need gov to agree and move #UnileverPollutes. Determined to solve fast. Too slow progress.Paul Polman, Chief, Unilever on Twitter
The company has, however, promised a sub-standard cleanup of the mercury remnants at the factory site. It is this double standard that the music video is calling out.
Activists allege that the company’s proposed clean-up will leave behind more mercury in Kodaikanal’s soil than is considered safe.
After the company claims to have cleaned up the factory site, there would still be mercury at 20 times more than the permissible limits in UK and more than 66 times than the permissible limits in Netherlands.Nityanand Jayaraman, Environmentalist
The activists urge the government to insist the company clean up the soil according to international standards as the mercury has already affected its quality, the Pambar Shola Reserve Forest, and the water. The city might look pristine and beautiful as the mercury has sunk to the floor of the water-bed and is not visible, but it is still extremely dangerous, say activists.
This is pocket change for them. It’s not even something that is going to affect them financially. Even if it does, they have committed a crime by allowing mercury to leak into the soil and affect peoples lives. It’s their job to clean it up. Through this song we hope to gather public support more voices and bring this issue back to the front.TM Krishna, Singer
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