When the Spanish hip-hop star Jesus Brillo decided on his next project – a record that would have five videos – he started looking for filmmakers who would make his vision come to life. As he searched for a collaborator one name seemed to pop up in a conversation with a UK-based agency: Dubai-based Keralite Harish Menon. “When I heard his stuff I was quite impressed with it,” he tells Gulf News in an interview. “The music production company that they have is very well known over there. The singer has a huge fan following as well.”
“Plus, somebody pitching me from UK [doing it was a no-brainer],” he adds.
There was of course a hiccup in their collaboration – Menon couldn’t speak Spanish and Brillo, who is best known for his songs ‘‘La Paca’ and ‘ Detecto La Dema’ wasn’t fluent in English. “So we had to put someone in the middle – a translator,” he laughs.
“Basically, he [Brillo] came up with five music videos. It’s a huge production; so I told him we’d start with one first and if you like the idea and the style of making, we’ll sign the second one,” says Menon. It turned out that the singer was more than at ease about it – the Menon has been contracted for the rest of the videos as well.
The video for ‘Tamo Fresh’, says Menon, was conveniently shot in Dubai; “From experience, no one can compare with Dubai’s facilities,” says the movie-maker who has lived in the UAE since 2011.
He explains that in the past two years in spite of a global pandemic, there’s a reason Dubai’s become the go-to locale for artists. “We are blessed in the way that most of the models, the major companies, they are here in Dubai and they can freely work as well.”
He explains that when they took permission for Brillo’s shoot, the police was on hand to help. “Even though I faced some issues during the shoot – within no time they fixed the issue. These people who are coming from the other side of the world – they are also witnessing all this, right? Support from the government – and the hygiene, security and some of the best models are available here,” he says.
And so, why would you go anywhere else? Four out of five videos are set to be shot in Dubai. Call it a melting pot of cultures – and a meeting hub for artists.