A documentary on the evolution of indie music in India is all set to go live
Arjun S Ravi has been writing about music for over a decade, and his connection with it arts is than even he can fathom. And he’s particularly keen on independent bands in India. The genesis of the six-part documentary Standing By perhaps began there, and over a discussion with Red Bull Media House, and OML (Only Much Louder) who are also the co-producers of this film. “Standing By is about discovering the roots of the various forms of non-Indian music in India. From rock, metal, electronica, jazz, and even beat music — none of these genres are born in India. And yet, we have made it our own in a very unique way; the sheer number of home-grown artistes that are in the public eye today, playing music that is not ‘Indianw’ is staggering,” says Ravi, director of the documentary.
Western music has been part of Indian culture since before the 1930s, and “we are talking about non-film music of course,” Ravi explains
The documentary features over 120 individuals who are part of the music industry. “We didn’t just talk to musicians, but people who have been part of record companies, event managers, government officials from the art and culture department of India – anyone who’s involved in the music movement in India,” he adds. And the more he dug, the more he unearthed. “People would tell me that since I’ve been writing about music for so long, I must know a lot. I used to think so too, but as the film progressed I realised that I and only seen the tip of the iceberg.”
The documentary has been shot across Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Shillong, and discovers the most unique stories the interviewees could share. “Do you know there used to a Filipino jazz band in the ’40s that played in the Munger district of Bihar, or that in 1988 one of India’s earlier bands, Rock Machine, along with Gary Lawyer, Leslie Lewis, and Louis Banks, among others, went to USSR to play rock music in the Festival Of India!” says Ravi.
Ravi says that he wants people to find interest in these musicians. “If this film could pique someone’s interest to look up these independent musicians or be a little curious – our job is done,” he says, adding, “The website will also have a digital timeline that documents all these stories we’ve collected so far. Click on the link, and you can read everything that’s been included in the documentary, and more!”
From October 14.
— Priyadarshini Nandy