Now that came as a bit of surprise. All the astrologers predicting repeatedly that Musharraf was the one going to be assassinated…. all the cloak-and-dagger attempts on his life ever since he took over….
What a Shame. All over again.
Since 2002, not a single reference to Gujarat has passed without association to The Riots. It’s turned into a conditioned reflex, just like we say earthquake when we hear of Latur, or many pairs of shoes and assorted pieces of jewellery all hidden away when Jayalalithaa is mentioned. And this bypasses even the earlier conditioned reflex – that of associating Gujarat with the Earthquake.
As if Godhra was the only place in India where riots took place…. there have been bloody riots all over India over the question of Religion, these are nothing new. State-sponsored, someone said? Hark back to 1984, New Delhi. I don’t think there was widespread demonization of Rajiv Gandhi, least of all by the mainstream media when he justified the riots spawned by his mother’s death with “When a great tree falls, the ground is bound to shake”, or some such similar line.
Which brings us to the much-maligned man of the moment. Mr. Modi. His is one name that brings up association with Hardline Hindutva (an oxymoron, but I don’t think most people care, or notice). That spells annihilation for the Minority (Er… what Minority? In India, we are all minorities). That brings up the nightmare of draconian laws like POTA being imposed.
That’s not surprising considering the conditioning process we’ve all undergone over the past five years – the mainstream media consider it to be their prerogative to keep it alive in public memory what happened in Gujarat in 2002 – Five years on, the old horse Gujarat continues to rake in the TRPs much, much more than the new-born brat that is Nandigram. Why, even RDB had a SanskritizedHindi-spouting evil politician who was easily distinguishable as a lookalike of the Merchant of Death. But I guess we can’t hold it against Rakeysh Mehra – he wasn’t making any statement; he was only putting together bits of Indian Pop-culture.
And that is not in the least surprising. Nehru, and before him, Macaulay coached us through a woefully inadequate instruction system to feel ashamed of our roots, our heathen polytheistic religion. Nehruvian and Gandhian secularism, which translates to its pseudo counterpart. So today it’s uncool to take pride in belonging to the Majority. Corollary, contrary to Minority-bashing being frowned on as politically incorrect, Majority-bashing is Cool, even a social necessity.
Naturally, when a news item came up, with live action, of the Majority inflicting blows on the Minority, just during the 24HourNewsChannel Explosion era, it was like manna for media moguls desperate for some news to telecast. It had all the necessary qualities for viewers to stay glued, that the Establishment was evil, that innocent lives were being lost, that there was widespread violence. For most of us, the gory images of Gujarat, splashed in newspapers and on TV screens were the first bits of live violence we’ve seen, and hence stay etched in memory.
And Modi, hitherto unknown, was cannoned to fame, as the architect behind it all. Within a few weeks, Gujarat, and its CM would too have faded into oblivion, just like the people of Nandigram. Except that it didn’t. Because the man stood his own. Refused to buckle under any pressure. Stood by what he did. Unapologetic. And ensured that his name and face turned bankable news items.
Since then he’s won his party two elections, both by large margins. Had Non-Resident Gujaratis swear by his commitment to Gujarat. Had someone no less than Ratan Tata saying “It is stupid if you’re not investing in Gujarat”.
So why is the Evil image still not washing off?
I mean, I know that’s a huge thing to forget, but hell, too much time has passed since then. And too much has happened. Especially with regard to Modi, and Gujarat. There has been more violence on the streets in Bangalore alone in the past year than in Gujarat in the past five years. And more terrorist activity, too.
So why is Modi still the Media’s favorite whipping boy?
Because shining light on his good points would be today’s equivalent of a Klansman dining with a Black. And that means hell for TRPs in the long run.
But the current stance of the mainstream media spells hell for India’s image abroad. And I don’t just mean Modi being denied a US visa.
The UPA government will not last forever. I guess Antonia Maino’s masterstroke of ruling the entire country by proxy, with marionettes in both the PM’s and President’s post has angered many citizens, and left most with no doubt of her Rasputin-like intentions. And the educated, who last time, didn’t turn up to vote, and hence lost the NDA an election will definitely vote in the next elections. Or people may vote for the BJP more out of lack of choice than anything else. Sometime soon, the BJP will be in power either at the Center or in some key states.
And such character assassination by the media doesn’t go well with foreign relations. People outside the country have their perception of India moulded mainly by what the Indian media says about it; case in question – Indian filmmaking is synonymous with Bollywood. So wouldn’t an outsider think twice before investing in a state, or worse, country, being ruled by what was (and possibly is) portrayed as a far-right minority-hating votebankPolitics-playing party? Or worse, if Modi did become PM, (which seems increasingly the possibility, considering his increasing stature as a development-oriented administrator, the CEO of Gujarat) wouldn’t other countries tread with care dealing with us? Or publicly denounce us?
The mainstream media, the one that shapes all our opinions, needs to do a volte-face on this now. There’s a lot more at stake than TRPs and political correctness.
So I’m Jobless now. F-I-N-A-L-L-Y jobless. And making completely sure nothing upsets the status until a week into the New Year.
I haven’t watched Taare Zameen Par, and this time my intense hatred of Aamir Khan and his “different” movies [1947-Earth was F-art masquerading as Art. Dil Chahta Hai was F-art masquerading as SM-art. Fanaa.... nothing different... Dil Se did the same thing ages ago, RDB was a dumbed-down version of a Gaptain movie] that happen once a year has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it.
And another reason is the Cold. It reminds me of a Captain Planet episode where it was snowing at the Equator, and it wasn’t the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now I’m waiting for Gaia the Spirit of the Earth (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) to send me my Magic Ring…. Till then, you can find me snuggled underneath layers of blankets and woolies, waking up only when the sun is pretty high up in the sky. On the odd occasion I did wake up early, I went for a jog around Mini-Forest, and came back all soaked… and great as my luck always is, there was no power to use the hairdryer…. a-ti-shoo!
I can’t seem to WALK in Jayanagar 4th Block anymore… it’s so crowded, it feels like any movement from place to place seems like a result of crowd momentum… something like those birds that fly in formation so that the weaker ones can fly at a good speed even without spending so much energy. Makes it incredibly difficult when you are walking with a framed glass-painting and extra glass sheets for future paintings, more so when they are for your sister who’s holding it against you that you were two minutes late in getting to the book on glass painting that someone else took it.
And WHAT sort of people! Apart from the usuals, like the Laughter Club ajjas, there seem to be a lot of people of the third gender. I’ve lived most of my life getting lost in 4th Block Complex, and the first-ever time I saw an eunuch was on a train stuck somewhere in Gult-land… and now the place is positively swarming with them! And no, they are not the benign sort who stand for elections or cook biryani at Koovagam. Extortionists, that’s what they are. They don’t spare anyone, not even the lads behind the counter of Subway, or KFC, or Domino’s, or even Davangere Benne Dose. Why, I saw three of them, so impeccably dressed that you’ll think they were going to their job at a bank, extort cash from a couple of unsuspecting boys from Vijaya Junior!
I’ve slowly started getting peeved with the rise in prices of books, even Rupa and Penguin cost hell lot these days. So much that I’m willing to download ebooks, or buy stuff pirated, and I don’t mean only one-time reads like Dan Brown or assorted Chick-Lit. I’ve found there’s no point of banning anything, especially not books, coz I find some thousand copies of Satanic Verses on eSnips. And the problem is, that is the ONLY Rushdie book I find free for download online, and occasionally Midnight’s Children or Fury.
So I was at the Strand Book Festival at Chinnaswamy Stadium, and couldn’t for the hell of me find anything I wanted, least of all Rushdie. And there weren’t any assistants in uniforms walking around the aisles. And just as well. The aisles were really narrow and crowded. So much that you couldn’t turn around without upsetting atleast one pile of books… and bending to pick them up only caused others to trip and go flying. I went up to the billing counter, and in my politest voice, I asked the man there, “Do you people here have Shame?”. His double take made me add, “Salman Rushdie.. novel…”.
To add to this, I was with a young cousin of mine, someone who is almost as good as me when it comes to knocking down stacks of books. Apart from that, the normally well-behaved kid can’t keep his hands off books, and has to finger everything. And having a clumsy AND bossy older sister around didn’t in the least help him….. me and him proved to be a lethal combination for people who tripped, who tripped us…. And also for nosy senior citizens. One of them wanted to know what I thought of Kancha Ilaiah, when we both were looking through copies of his latest bit of tripe, and then was surprised I had such strong opinions against him…. and said I was too young. Another asked my geeky bro to not go through the book on Network Security, as it would be a negative influence and make him a spammer. Or worse, someone who spread viruses, a black-hat hacker. Bro muttered something about Linux and hence no viruses, and won a free appointment to install Ubuntu on the old-timer’s antique system.
And so I was pretty frustrated at the end of it all, and when I was paying for the stuff we bought, I saw this young man plunge his hand into the middle of a carton piled high with tiny books that taught the Alphabet, causing a dozen to fall into a pool of dirty stinking water below. “Young man,” I said indignantly, as I picked up the fallen books, “I’m never ever bringing you anywhere again. Never. And if I forget, remind me”. At which point I turned behind and saw that bro was digging into Tintin, nowhere near the counter, and there was a little boy near me, with his face buried in his mother’s saree.
Since this morning, my usual routine of channel surfing (Zapping) has been rudely interrupted by the Gujarat Elections. Yeah, so the BJP was on its way to a two-thirds majority. Surely that is not something extremely surprising, or something that has never happened before, or so interesting that all 40 Indian news channels would stop all news about kids falling into ditches, or the latest Bollywood lyrics which offended animists in East Timor. Or have SRK’s six-pack get less screenspace due to the screen filled with popups about how and where which party was leading. The whole damn day dedicated to discussing Modi? “Rock-star Status”, as some analyst said, is right. I found some site dedicated to Mr. Modi… this one goes too far.. there are even Modi Wallpapers and Screensavers! Great heavens, I don’t think even his fellow Gujarati (from Valsad), Mr. Farrokh Bulsara has such honor.
That apart, it was fun watching Margaret Alva go red in the face, when Rajdeep Sardesai asked her “Modi seems to be incorruptible… isn’t it something you must learn?”. “What do you mean!”, she yelled, and corrected herself with a hurried “I mean… it’s something everyone must learn…”, before she went on to say that Modi appeals to the middle class, and rural areas and tribal areas would have not done well, just before Mr. Sardesai went on to show that Saurashtra, Kutch, and other tribal regions were exactly where BJP had made some big gains, and ousted the sitting Congress MPs.
It’s holiday season now, as we can judge by the large amount of red clothes lined with white fur that we can see all around…. I wonder how it is Down Under, in Oz? Anyway, here’s wishing everyone great holidays, in the words of John Lennon,
So happy Christmas,
And a Happy New Year!
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.
Once upon a time, around Christmas in ’91, there was a news item on TV. It showed Christmas and Hanukkah being celebrated in Russia. People were lighting lamps. People were lighting candles. People were singing carols. People were rejoicing.
Remember this was 1991, Doordarshan. This was before “Holi is being celebrated in Mumbai” and suchlike tidbits featured in national news.
“Why…”, I asked my aunt next to me. She told me that it was the first time in many years they were celebrating festivals. “Why..?” I asked again. And she compressed Marx, Trotsky, Lenin, Stalin and Gorbachev in one small sentence – “You would be jailed if you prayed to god”.
Shook me up, that did. What did kids do there if they were bullied (like I was in playschool… and the teachers never did believe me, so what was a kid to do other than pray and wait for judgement day when the evil three-foot somethings would be cast in hell?)? When they were in a state of shock, did they self-censor themselves when they said “Oh my God!”? Were they supposed to worship the Devil or what?
And that was how I was introduced to the idea of Communism, at age four.
Occasionally, much later, I confused the word with communalism. The textbook said you needed to avoid communalism at all costs. Whoa, why were they so emphatic about that?
And then there was the economics teacher in class 9 who professed how communism was great for the economy. “China and India became independent around the same time. Why, then, are they so far ahead of us? Or for that matter, the USSR took considerably lesser time to fly to outer space than the Americans, though they had been free since the 18th Century”.
That was also the same time the media started preaching pseudosecular ideals. And demeaned India. Nothing Indian could ever be good, in their eyes back then, even worse than it is now. The corruption, the vote-bank politics. So communism seemed a great idea. Lal Salaam and revolution were the buzzwords of the day. Though something in me didn’t quite agree with the large-scale human rights violations and the censorship. But, I supposed, those were a small price to pay for good governance and high economic growth rate.
The joblessness at times got to me. I even began watching movies in Bengali, a language I had no clue about… all thanks to DD Bangla and subtitled movies. These ’80s flicks were all the same – about communism, feminism, naxalism. They almost always had a strong female central character, who is invariably waiting for her Naxalite/Communist/Naxalite-Communist-Journalist sweetheart to return. When he does return, she doesn’t follow his philosophy. She thinks agitation and revolution are meaningless, as is loss of life. So Mr. Naxal goes on to explain his philosophy, a passionate speech colored with rhetoric, a propagandist speech the director possibly used to get his ideals across to the audience. The lady put forth a few arguments, but these were always refuted, leaving her confused, her being a teacher/doctor/nurse who abhorred violence and loss of life. She wants a marriage. He feels institutionalizing union of two souls is unnatural. Something that shackles people. He appeals to the feminist in her – One flick I remember had this bit of dialogue:
He: Tell me something, why do married women wear sindoor?
She: Because it looks nice?
He: Well, in that case why don’t men also wear sindoor?
She: Because…. *state of confusion*
He: It’s a symbol of subjugation. That you belong to someone. You are marked territory. Asking the others to lay off.
This was followed by another speech on chastity and how it shackled women, that it was just another tool used by men to keep women subjugated.
Aaaaaand he managed to lay her immediately after with no need to worry about the consequences. Any criticism of that scene because of the crudity, and it would be put down to “Indians are such prudes”. And if she became a single mother, there would have been rhetoric about how claustrophobic Indian society was, that a lone woman could not raise a child on her own.
Back then, I didn’t know to see through the now-blatant evasion of responsibility. But the Internet and Wikipedia saw me through to what my beliefs are now.
I read copiously. Through pages of articles by Nehruvian socialists who asserted Nehru did right by leading India to a democratic path. But more effective were the unconventional viewpoints of Indian rightists. And discovered that Communism always came along with censorship, laws curtailing freedom of speech, revulsion to religion or religious displays of any kind, and large-scale human rights violations.
Cases in question for the last one: Gulags. Tiananmen Square in 1989. Chile under Pinochet. And the worst and the most brutal of all of them, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot.
Reading about the execution methods of the Khmer Rouge roused nothing but sheer disgust. The Week had a short piece about the new Cambodian cuisine that developed from the Pol Pot regime – the main ingredients included rats, spiders and assorted insects, the only readily available ingredients in such a setting. No philosophy on earth can justify such brutal violence against the very people who the movement was supposed to liberate.
There’s nothing new about the ideas. The poor man only hears “Bread for the poor” and “Land to the tiller”; no wonder the peasants supported these movements at first. But the worst-affected have been the peasants themselves, dying of man-made famines when they were not dying from government brutality.
A much-softened me also didn’t understand their emphasis on only the hard sciences, leaving out things that also matter, like literature and psychology. Or the overt emphasis on heavy industry, as if it was the only sign of growth and development, and that agriculture was something backward. That they didn’t get it that development need be measured not only in terms of economic growth, but also by how advanced a society is culturally, in aspects like freedoms, human rights and equalities of race, class and gender.
I still don’t get the correlation between communism and totalitarianism. Why do all Communist states go the way of 1984? The Jews practised Socialism in their own way, through the Kibbutz movement. And it has been nothing short of redeeming to Israel, and nowhere has it been brutal, and wherever it erred, it is a case study for errors in judgement about abolition of private property, gender equality, and the like.
To sum up, and I don’t assert here or anywhere that this is a well-researched and unbiased bit of writing, I’d say Communism is a provenly failed philosophy. It is counter-intuitive in the long run. Equality of outcome is admittedly counter-productive compared to Equal Opportunity. You can’t change human nature, and the most optimal solution would choose not to even try to perform that futile exercise, but take it as a given and make it part of the solution.
The ideals of erasing class inequalities and gender inequalities can be pursued even without the philosophy of communism. Revolutions have come and gone, but have only changed the names and titles of the people looting the public. Communism is standing proof for the fact that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The only solution is to educate the public well enough to choose their own leaders effectively.
Freedoms have been earned by too much sacrifice to be frittered away in the name of economic development. Lack of education is no excuse to have someone else making your decisions for you. Class differences are inevitable with division of labour, the only thing the State should do is to ensure fluidity – that class isn’t something you are born into, but something that you earn. The culture of a people should evolve due to its people, not be dictated by a government.
And… it’s counter-intuitive to ban God…. it wasn’t any evangelist or philosopher who introduced God to me, it was a playschool bully. God doesn’t mean much more than Hope and optimism, hope that things will definitely get better, that anything is possible, Deus ex machina, a bountiful mother, and an inspiration that lets you have faith in yourself, that enables you to dream higher, and achieve the impossible. As for banning that….
The sky is blue. Cats eat rats. And I am a big fan of ’90s Indian non-filmi non-remixed music.
I’ve been wanting to do a post on Indipop/Indi-rock for quite a while now, and somehow the universe reminded me of this now by filling my random playlist with some of my favorite songs from the ’90s.
So… well, here goes… here are the songs that were a breath of fresh air back then when Anu Malik and Jatin-Lalit held sway. And whose videos were such a soothing sight for eyes sore with the same old Saroj Khan choreography.
- Asha Bhonsle’s Raat Shabnami/Jaanam Samjha Karo: Whatay lyrics. Whatay tune. Whatay Asha’s voice. And last but definitely not the least, Milind Soman. True, Mr. Soman had attained fame with that appearance in Alisha Chinai’s Made In India, but I thought he looked nothing short of idiotic in that one. I didn’t know it was the same person with Aditi Govitrikar in this video at first. Oh, and Leslie Lewis of Colonial Cousins fame composed this song. He even has an appearance in the video playing the flute. Years later, he composed the music for A Band Of Boys (who seem to have sunk without a trace), one of who was Asha Bhonsle’s nephew (or maybe grandson) Chaitanya aka Chintu. This was quite apparent to me when I heard the song (the common composer, I mean)… Meri Neend had a few chords and melodies sound so similar to Jaanam Samjha Karo.
- Anaida’s Piya Bina. I don’t remember why, though. And where on earth is Anaida now?
- Heer – I can only assume this was based on the legend of Heer-Ranjha. It was from Mitti – Songs of the Soil composed by Sandeep Chowta, and was sung by Sukhwindara Singh. Nice song. Eerie video in black-and-white.
- Suneeta Rao: Every school annual day had to have atleast one performance of Kesariya hai roop.
- Parikrama: Their But It Rained was some darned bloody different video. But that definitely isn’t their best song. Their instrumental, Open Skies, is one of the most feel-good songs I’ve heard. It’s surprising they don’t innovate these days and restrict themselves to performing in college fests. And I’ve heard it’s the same playlist each performance.
- Dere Dere by Shubha Mudgal: She is best known for that husky voice and Ab Ke Saawan. And maybe that socially-relevant album called Mann Ke Manjeere (whose music IMO was nothing to write home about). This song, however was just feel-good, no storyline, just showed three girls having fun. And then there was also Seekho Na with Vidya Balan in the video. That was when her presence started getting on my nerves. And it hasn’t yet stopped.
- Tumse hi pyaar by Aasma: Coke [V] Popstars II. There was Chandu Ke Chaacha, with the funky dance steps, but this one was way more appreciated.
- Remo Fernandes and his Flute Song: Is there a video for this one? Actually, most of that album (O Meri Munni) was absolutely brilliant. Including the Goan ones – Maria Pita Che, and Maya ya, if I remember right. And… I’ve been trying to get that famous song of Remo’s called Hello Mr. Rajiv Gandhi (The story behind this goes that Remo and his band, The Syndicate wrote this song, and the local editor of The Hindu carried out his vendetta against him mainly by criticizing the song constantly. Remo took a chance, and sent the song to Rajiv Gandhi himself, who wrote back saying that he liked the song(!!)). Anyone who has the song/knows where to get it, kindly get in touch with me.
- Piya Basanti: The entire album was a superhit. And the videos with the very beautiful Nauheed Cyrusi (and a nondescript young man) stayed at the top of the charts for ages. It gave a whole new dimension to the concept of Music Video. Many imitations followed, of music video with a story, more notable of which were one called Sunset Point, which, I think, had lyrics by Gulzar, and had some storyline about a pair of twin girls falling for the same guy, and one makes way for the other – all in four minutes. Though it wasn’t any worse than Piya Basanti which had a bonny lassie and a bandit falling for each other, eloping and getting married, all in a two-part video, each of four minutes. I guess where the video scored was in having great music (Sandesh Shandilya) and great vocalists in the first place, and being shot in very beautiful locales (Arunachal Pradesh).
- Krishna nee begane baaro by Colonial Cousins: Fusion. And very good fusion. Our saviours from the endless stream of wannabe Western musicians. The video of this song isn’t anything all that great, but the song is a Phenomenon by itself; the flagship song you’d identify the Colonial Cousins with. The other popular songs aren’t bad – Kai Zhala, The Way We Do It, Sa Ni Dha pa… but my alltime favorite is Guiding Star from the album Aatma. I’d however say their best fusion numbers are Parula Nu and (this one which I’ve been humming continuously since a week now) Funky Freedom.
- Jaane Do by Agosh – The band name is short for the name of the bandmembers – Anand, Gopal and Shaleen. They wrote a hit song called Paisa, which struck me as out-to-make-money and very-wannabe. Then I heard their other songs, one of which is called Saiyyana, with lyrics that went like Meri ab manzilein toh hai / Aur kaarvaan bhi hai / Meri apni wafa hai, aur dil jawaan hai, ab chodo mujhe darana / kyunki ab main saiyyana ho chuka, ho chuka /. Their other song with a video was Jaane Do, which had Nauheed Cyrusi again (but this time with a better-looking dude called Shahrukh Mistry [who had a bit role in Rahul Bose's Everybody Says I'm Fine]). The reason it appealed to me and my friends was coz it enumerated everything that could possibly go wrong with our lives back then, in class 12 – Garmiyon ki chuttiyaan, Sardiyon ki chuttiyaan, holiday homework, jaane do /Woh haseen ho gayi, hum jawaan ho gaye, phir bhi na teamwork, jaane do and also Ladkiyon ka roothna, apne dil ka tootna, kismaton ka phootna, jaane do / Aur phir ministeron se leke thaanedar tak sabka humko lootna, jaane do. And most important of them all IIT exam mein fundae gol ho gaye, jaane do. But the same song also gave us hope – Zindagi haseen hai, mastiyon ka scene hai, gadbadi jo hogi toh hogi, jaane do. Oh, and I turned a bigger fan of these guys when I got to know they were the ones who composed the Radiocity jingles in the initial days (and I’m having you know compared to those ones, Bolo Whatte fun sounds like something the tomcat was yowling at four in the morning).
- Mantra by Euphoria: These people are normally known for their Maeri or Aana Meri Gully, but this song is way, way better than those. It’s a single, and wasn’t that great a hit, but what made it stand out among the rest was that the video was way better than the others. Maeri might have been a brilliant song, but the video with Rimi Sen was too cliched. Gully had Vidya Balan in it, AND Sandhya Mridul, and hence twice as irritating. Meri Saanson Mein is a really great song, but the video about the dying/dead girlfriend was irritating if nothing else. That way, Dhoom Pichuk was way better. Hum with Mehnaaz for [V] Jammin! might have been a good song and a well-made video, but Palash Sen took off his shirt, giving us three minutes of unmitigated torture. So… in comparison, Mantra really came out tops.
- Lucky Ali: He first writes a bluesy number. Then sings it in that raspy voice that suits only singing. Then shoots a video in a foreign country. With a woman. No, make that a Woman. The Woman is always suave, powerful, and alluring with that air of mystery about her. I didn’t like O Sanam and that veiled lady (rumored to be his wife) – all you see of her is her eyes and her fingernails, and she had a cruel-looking clubbed thumb (it’s supposed to suggest a very low level of evolution). Malaika brought alive Kitni Haseen Zindagi. One of my favorite shots in the video is where she’s watching him on TV, and suddenly the TV screen zooms out to show her watching him on TV. The video in the US (Dekha Hai Aise Bhi) was depressing. But the one in (presumably) South Africa, with that mysterious-looking African model, Tere Mere Saath, was just mindblowing. So it really killed me to see two young things prance around in one of his videos – then I heard apparently the recording co. didn’t want to risk anything by casting the greying Lucky Ali as hero in a video that would cost a nuke to shoot, and so preferred to have two young things dance around airports to Mr. Ali pursue a Brazilian model halfway across Rio De Janeiro.
- And some others here which I don’t like all that much, but which certainly bring back lots of memories – there was Dhagala Lagli Kala, the ultimate Rain Dance Song back then. There was also Kya Soorat Hai – somehow it fit Raju Sundaram (the guy in the video) like a glove, and the gag about the Feast bar (is it still around?), and there being three of everything… Another one that comes to mind is Rabbi Shergill’s Bulla Ki Jaana, the one with the typical music video-ish montage-ish music video, complete with English subtitles. And… remember Shaan’s Tanha Dil? And Loveology? Or Strings and their Duur? Or their very first Sir Ki Yehi Pahaar? Or Faisal Kapadia strumming his guitar for Anjaane? It felt odd, didn’t it… loking at license plates that said Karachi or Lahore, or at signboards saying ‘Islamabad – 60 KM’. And then Junoon singing Sayyonee. And then the very wannabe Fuzon. Silk Route with those idiotic videos that ruined their good music. And Alms for Shanti who really need to get back to music….
And now, a few years, later, there are none. Everyone seems to have quit the scene. And the ones on now are as wannabe as they can get, truly “aping the West”…. And one reason I’d say these musicians didn’t – and don’t – really take off was – and is – ‘coz of their complete lack of professionalism and determination. They don’t dare to innovate, they don’t come up with anything new. And worst of all, they don’t stick with it. So what if there’s no money in it, just upload your singles on your website (or if you’re too lazy to get your own domain, googlepages will gladly do). If you’re good, you’ll be famous, at the very least – and, independent music is designed to appeal to the college crowd, isn’t it, who don’t ever buy music? Sure, you might not make it like a Madonna or a Britney, but heck, it’s gonna be a cult thing, something übercool, to listen to your music, something the trendsetters will be the first to do, and something the wannabes will follow blindly. Kids will throng your concerts, remember you as the dudes who performed in the concerts they first got wildly drunk in, FinalYear junta will remember you to be the folks whose concert was the last one they all attended together, you’d give the freshers their first-ever rock concert experience…. and they’ll ask you for guitar tabs, for mp3s…. your music will flood their LANs, be exchanged multiple times over GTalk, your website will be linked by some hazaar student bloggers, your videos on YouTube will get a gazillion hits every day, your inbox flooded with fanmail ……. Yeah, it might not be Big as in Sunidhi Chauhan or Bryan Adams, but it sure beats strumming your guitar only on weekends, or occasionally at your workplace during your culturals, and feeling a twinge of regret and cursing the system whenever anyone says, “Heyy…. you play quite well…..”
PS: 2000-word post, I realize, but I really do love and miss independent Indian music, which didn’t blindly ape either Bollywood or the West, but combined the best of both….oh, I’d better stop now. Cheers.