The delineation between modes of presenting entertainment are more vague than ever before, much to the delight of modern viewers. Film, TV, web-based productions…all of these have allowed artists to cultivate and present their own unique and artistic voice to a public who is constantly searching for what appeals to their specific tastes. The model in the past was to find something that was appealing to a little bit of everyone’s taste but the new model is to find that which appeals to a highly interested and motivated section of the public. This has enabled, in fact even encouraged, artists to test the waters of other formats with their abilities. Shreekrishna Padhye has written many films but he wanted to write a treatment for a music video to see what he could come up with. The reaction was incredible! His script for Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”, inspired by a horror theme, has received 7.7 million views on YouTube thus far, an astounding number for a first time offering! Besides encouraging this writer to present more music videos, it has led to fans of his style seeking out his film work. The access of fans to works by artists whom they admire such as Padhye is a benevolent feature of the modern entertainment industry.
As a creative person who has spent times in both his homeland (Raichur, a small town in southern India) and Western culture, Padhye finds the combining of these two for inspiration. When someone of artistic temperament witnesses interesting things, their natural inclination is to create and share this. Shreekrishna found the song “Tiptoe through the Tulips” as well as the original performance by Tiny Tim to be equally enchanting and creepy. Referring to the world famous Bollywood productions, he felt moved to write a storyline for a music video. Not all Bollywood productions are enormous choreographed dance productions; some are simple romantic musical moments. Borrowing an emotional quotient from both of these, he wrote a storyline that created a traditional romantic film moment where the male and female lead frolic through field to a cute romantic song and adapted this style into a dead couple rising out of the grave and frolicking and dancing in the graveyard…emphasized by the sweet and haunting Tiny Tim vocals. The eccentricity of the singing underscored the ghostly couple whose love has endured longer than their corporal shells. While not an avid follower of the horror genre, Padhye notes that this cocktail of influences resonated with him. He tells, “This might seem silly but watching a horror film is an overwhelming experience. I enjoy thrillers which can get scary at times but when a film’s sole purpose is to scare the audience I cannot enjoy it. I watched the film Insidious with a few friends because they wanted to see it and I found myself intrigued by the song in the film. I don’t regret watching the film because it introduced me to Tiny Tim. I really appreciate artists who have their own voice regardless of the medium.” The action of the video shows a dead man rising from his grave, feeling lonely in the moonlight. He picks up a ukulele and emotes his feelings with a romantic song. Attracted to the tune, a dead woman who has spent countless lonely nights in her wooden quarters six feet under finds her love. The reunited lovers spend a wonderful night frolicking in the open fields of the graveyard.
While he has penned numerous films (the crime drama Misprision, dark comedy “Longshot”, “Sick Leave”, etc.), this was Padhye’s first foray into music videos. Conceding that he had no template for writing a music video treatment, Shreekrishna fell back to his comfort zone and wrote his treatment like a short film. This brought an originality to the video that was contemporary and remarkable. As the video’s cinematographer T.M. Malones communicates, “For the video, Shreekrishna framed this song around death and decay, and used his cultural background growing up with Bollywood films and combined the two ideas to create a macabre yet romantic Bollywood musical number set in a graveyard. I was more than happy to shoot this because it is such a charming and uplifting story that Shreekrishna has crafted with his clever imagination. For many, Shreekrishna’s video contextualizes the song in a way never done before; it brought the song’s haunting yet dreamlike nature to life. The video profoundly resonated with viewers, achieving viral status on YouTube with more than 7.7 million views, an overwhelming commercial success in online film standards. This is proof that the public has a strong emotional reaction to a nuanced writer such as Shreekrishna and his artistic vision.”
It’s telling of Padhye’s artistic sensibilities and motivation that this video which received such massive attention and praise online was simply uploaded by him to enable his friends to see his experiment into the world of music videos. He concedes that he was overwhelmed by the near eight million views it has received thus far. This occurrence reinforces the long held contention in the entertainment industry that if you are truly talented you will be discovered. Shreekrishna’s established work as a writer of films has intersected with online fans of his “Tiptoe through the Tulips” video creating an enormous new audience for these productions. Even with this success in the realm of music videos, you won’t see this writer concentrating on the medium in preference of film. There may be one lasting effect though. He tells, “I’d be somewhat disingenuous if I said I wasn’t thrilled about more people becoming aware of and fans of the films I’ve written as a result of the attention the music video has received. I’m incredibly grateful that the public has embraced the video so much but I’m just as happy when it steers them towards my film work. Film is where my heart truly is. I love the length that it affords me to develop characters which is where I find my voice. Never say never, but I don’t see myself writing horror films. When writing I am always thinking about its impact on the audience and the way I do that is to put myself in the shoes of the audience. Horror movies are actually to frightening for me. Ha. I’d likely scare myself.”