Tihar inmates are giving ‘jailhouse rock’ a whole new meaning. The prisoners will soon become the first in the world to cut a commercial album from inside a jail.
Winners of Tihar Idol after a jam session. The inmates have recorded six songs for an album. Dipti Malhotra/HT Photo
Titled Jaane Anjaane, the album, which will be launched on January 28, has six songs, written and composed by the finalists of Tihar Idol, a talent hunt for inmates. Each song has an accompanying video, shot inside the jail.
Amit Saxena, 34, a murder undertrial who has spent nine years behind bars, has composed and sung the title track, along with Bhagirath, 28, who was arrested for dacoity. “The sleepless nights in jail were tormenting. That’s when music came to my rescue,” says Saxena.
Bhagirath, who landed in prison two-and-a-half years ago, says his two daughters, aged three and six, are his motivation. “Their innocent smiles urge me to sing my pain away,” he says.
Harnam Singh, 28, who was arrested in a murder case after a love affair-gone-wrong, adds tabla beats to the songs. “Love landed me in this mess; now love has inspired me to pursue music,” he says.
The album also has an international flavour.
Jo, a 34-year-old Canadian who was arrested under the NDPS (narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances) act, is the guitarist. “Music can transcend even prison bars. I never thought that I will get to play the guitar in the jail,” he says.
The videos have dancers as well. Swati Mishra, a 19-year-old being tried for attempt to murder, is one of them. “I never imagined I will get to dance in an album. I have not told my family about it. It’s a surprise for them,” she says.
Jail superintendent Rajesh Chauhan is delighted with the group’s performance: “The moment the court orders imprisonment for a person, gloom sets in. Music has served as a great healer. I’m proud of them.”
Naresh Bainsla of Music One Records, who directed the album and will launch it in the market, admits facing criticism initially.
“People believe it’s ridiculous to work with those being tried for serious crimes. But I’m sure these talented people have put their past behind them and will make it big in the music industry.”