If India’s contemporary Indie music circuit were a Bollywood movie, Monica Dogra would, in all probability, be its leading lady —drama queen, who throws fans into a tizzy with her aura of mystery and charm.
It’s been over seven years since she first broke onto the scene with her electro-rock duo, Shaa’ir + Func (S+F), but it seems things were never as exciting as they are today.
Read:Pop music is a scary little monster: Monica Dogra
Apart from gearing up for the release of her solo album, she also has quite a few promising acting projects under her belt. In this interview, Monica tells us how things have changed in the music circuit and discusses her new work.
Your name has become synonymous with indie music. Why do you think you enjoy the status of being the unofficial ambassador of indie music?
I’m honoured and a bit frightened by the responsibility. I’m not sure why the status has been given to me. I suppose when S+F began, there were very few women, if any, on the scene — writing and performing their music independently. Also, I arrived onto the scene at a unique time, when many people were fed up of the music and culture being churned out.
With a constant cultural exchange between indie artistes and Bollywood, are the lines between indie and mainstream blurring?
I think so. These days, there are legitimate stars in the indie circuit. We are on TV or performing for thousands; it’s our time.
What, according to you, qualifies as indie now?
I’m not really sure. Honestly, it’s a term that is used exhaustively, as qualifiers are a favourite among us. We are always trying to box in, sort, and quantify things that, I believe, should sometimes just be left ambiguous. But, I suppose indie is a term of endearment for an independent ideology and identity. What I hope to shirk is the sentiment that indie means it is not mainstream. The ultimate goal is to transform what is mainstream by producing free-thinking, conscious music, art, TV or film that it is undeniably loved by many, not just a niche group.
Tell us more about your solo album. How is it different from your S+F albums?
S+F is very much an even split between (guitarist) Randolph (Correia) and me. Stylistically, musically, even personally, both of us are different people, which is why we have such an eclectic sound. My solo album is entirely me — unadulterated and uncensored; purely my melodies, musical style and stories.
What are the other film/music projects you are working on?
I’m working on a film with Vivaan Shah and Naseeruddin Shah. I’ve also just completed shooting a film with Kalki Koechlin and Gulshan Devaiah as well as a short film in Hollywood called Relapse, directed by Rosie Haber, co-starring Casey Legler.