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    Pepsi MTV Indies brings curated  features, original content and fringe artistes to the main stage

    With indie music reigning at the Grammys with Ryan Lewis and Mackelmore, and India paving way for the likes of Parvaaz, Dualist Inquiry, Brahma and Shaa’ir + func at sold out shows, MTV gives these musicians the biggest platform yet – Pepsi MTV Indies, a new television channel dedicated solely to independent artistes. Bobin James, editorial head of the channel tells us more about the concept and how programming is ‘shifting from Lucky Ali videos’ to original content with insight into iconic albums, backstage antics and avant garde art.

    The specific concept
    MTV India had a segment called MTV Roots for the past few years which focussed on Indian independent music. And now felt like the right time to grow that block into an entire channel. There’s more original music being made in India now, than ever before. And Indies is also an opportunity to showcase other independent sub-cultures, be it films, comedy, or art.

    Beyond the music
    While music is and will remain the mainstay of Indies, we will also be promoting all other independent subcultures that I mentioned. For instance, our vignette series, called Open Files, profiles illustrators and designers. Another series called The Unusual Suspects has us speaking with motorcycle customisers and fashion designers, who are all interlinked to the indie concept.

    New on the tube
    As of last week, we have taken the next step with longer original content on a new show called The Ride with veteran of the Indian independent music scene, Rishu Singh, in conversation with independent artistes like Kalki Koechlin, Randolph Correia, Kailash Kher, and Vishal Dadlani. Rishu is not your conventional talk-show host and The Ride is not your conventional interview show. These are conversations that bring out stories you have never heard before.

    Original programming
    This week, we kicked off Indie Talkies, a weekly block that showcases indie films. The first one was Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan. Apart from this, we have partnered with other important players in the indie space to get their content onto television — Blue Frog, IndiEarth and Balcony TV. All three of them have some great content but it’s available only online. We have procured that content to put up on television, thus giving the artistes a much-deserved wider reach. We will be showing older music videos too – where technical specifications permit, as a lot of the older videos might not meet our technical requirements.

    In the pipeline
    One For the Road is where we get the biggest names in Indian independent music to perform for audiences outside of usual venues. Think Shaa’ir + Func on the Carter Road promenade in Bandra, Mumbai and Indus Creed and Papon in an old fort in Bandra. Pro Pick sees bands speak about their favourite artistes and favourite videos. Indiecator, starting this week, is a ‘news’ show about what is going on in the indie world.

    —Aakanksha Devi

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