On Friday, revellers at the Kala Ghoda Festival were pleasantly surprised to find filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Balki in their midst.
They were there to support their friends of the Hindi film industry who have set out to achieve what Bollywood wouldn’t allow them to do. It was the debut performance of a nine-member band called Nine, featuring multi-instrumentalist Chintoo Singh.
The performance began with a narration by the band’s founder, lyricist-author Neelesh Misra, establishing that connecting with the audience was the band’s primary objective.
A senior editor with Hindustan Times, Misra is currently on a sabbatical.
“We’re each of us involved in Bollywood but wanted to break away and do something different,” Misra said.
The band also includes musicians Shilpa Rao, Amartya Rahut and Abhishek Nailwal.
“We don’t want to categorise our music just yet. It is sparse, surprising and not limited to any genre. Our themes are about longing, small-town experiences, nostalgia. And thankfully it’s not a niche,” Misra said.
With their first performance, the band appeared to have achieved what they set out to do — enthral the masses.
Belting out original Indian pop compositions, Rao got the eager crowd to sing along — no small feat for a new band.
“It’s great to have my own creative inputs in the music I sing. As an artiste that is very satisfying and very challenging. There have been no promos, no feelers, these are totally new songs and we’re taking a huge risk,” said Rao.
Nine has an ambitious agenda charted out.
A possible China tour, booking agents in the US and an album called the Magic of Nine, which they hope to release this year. Nine will also fund the operations of a call centre and information centre in Kunaura village, Uttar Pradesh.
“We’re setting out to achieve many firsts,” Misra said.