Parikrama@25: A rock band that refused Bollywood yet stayed on top

  • Namita S Kalla, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2016 13:03 IST
Subir Malik, the guy who is often called the cementing factor in Parikrama, says they began as a bunch of music lovers who wanted to popularise the kind of rock music they grew up listening to. (Parikrama)

The oldest rock band of the nation will turn 25 this June. The band that began with just two things--low publicity and oodles of confidence in their music, has survived the test of times. And while the latter is going steady, the former has grown manifold. The band Parikrama needs no introduction. Almost every music lover in India is in love with this band, the effects of which can be seen scattered all over social media and at their live shows.

Just before the band completes their 25 years of celebration of music on June 17, Subir Malik, the cementing factor of Parikrama, gets candid exclusively with Hindustan Times. Excerpts.

Give us a peek into the history of Parikrama.

Parikrama isn’t old. So it does not have a history. Parikrama is young. It is only 25. It has just begun to breathe a new air. But it does have a story.

Coming to your question, we began as a bunch of music lovers who wanted to popularise the kind of rock music they grew up listening to. We had no idea what we were doing, all we knew was we were keen on living our dream and our passion for music.

Watch Parikrama’s But It Rained here:

Back then not many opted for music as a career choice. Yet Parikrama took the plunge. We fought many a battles. From saying no to Bollywood, to fighting audio tapes and CDs, and singing to those who barely knew what a rock band is all about, we have survived it all.

Besides we were the first music band to introduce ourselves to technology. We did this way back in 1995. By 1997 when many people had no clue about internet and technology, we had our own website. This is the kind of forward thinking we had and still have. And today we have more than a million fans across the planet.

Read: Parikrama completes the group’s 23-year revolution

Subir says Parikrama is a live band and hence they refrain from bringing out albums. The band members seen here in a photo taken in 1993. (Shakeel Qureshi )

What kind of celebration does Parikrama intend for its silver jubilee?

They say if you love your work, you haven’t worked a day. I will say, if you have music as your work then it is celebration all the way, every minute, everyday.

Frankly it doesn’t seem as if we have completed 25 years. Everything is just the same. We, the members of the band are the same, both as people and as musicians, the enthusiasm is the same, the love, the dedication, and the zeal to perform even better with each song, is still the same. The only change that we have seen is, the love of our audience that augments every year.

The audiences don’t just listen to our music, they prefer to live it, as much as we as a band live it. That is the kind of connection we have developed with them in the last 25 years. And this in itself is a huge celebration. And thus we decided to will give our fans a peek into our 25 years of music. We have a huge event lined up on June 19. It is called Parikrama@25. We turn 25 on June 17 and June 21 is World Music Day, hence we aptly chose June 19 to mark the celebration.

The band completes 25 years on June 17. Seen here, Parikrama members in a picture from 1991. (Shakeel Qureshi)

Describe your band members in one word.

That’s injustice. They are all so powerful that it difficult to discount upon their talent and squeeze it in one word. Yet let me try.

Nitin Malik, (Subir’s brother) is the master songwriter. Sonam Sherpa, I will call him the Boss of Guitar, and Gaurav Balani the heartthrob of a million girls. Then we have Saurabh Choudhry who is a killer guitar player and Srijan Mahajan the loudest drummer ever. Imran Khan happens to be the ultimate showman, and last but not the least Shambu Nath is grand classical tabla player. Ours is a strong team with stronger ethics.

Read: We believe in piracy of our music, says Subir Malik of Parikrama

Have there been any differences among the band players? If yes, how do you all resolve them?

When different people from different backgrounds club together, differences are inevitable. The two best things about our band are that firstly we extirpate all our differences by conducting healthy discussions and listening to one another. Secondly, even before we, as a band, made music, we made certain rules. And we abide by the rules with great commitment. Rules like, no one will drink before the show/stepping on the stage, we will keep ourselves grounded in every situation, we will refrain success from going to our head, we will all be punctual, and lastly each one will have a chance to put forward his voice/opinion.

Subir says at Parikrama they promote piracy as it believes music should be free.Seen here, a picture of the band members from 1996. (Sohail Akber)

For the nth time, the world wants to know why Parikrama is abstaining from launching an album.

Parikrama is a live band and that is how it is supposed to be. Parikrama means revolution, and we are a revolution, in the sense that we never gave in to audio tapes and CDs when they were the best options to choose. Besides we are revolving across the planet all the time, so where is the need to restrict ourselves to one album?

Read: Subir Malik, Parikrama’s driving force

Moreover we are popular on social networking sites. Our music is freely available on our website and can be downloaded from there or also from our Facebook page.

Watch Parikrama perform at Donington Park, UK here:

While the world is shouting ‘No Piracy’, your band seems to have turned a deaf ear to it. Comment.

Parikrama has been in fact promoting piracy for its music. And no matter how much one tries there is no stopping to piracy. We all love things that come for free, don’t we? Besides something as beautiful as music should be available for free. Then it has a larger reach. More people learn to appreciate and understand good music. Newer talent comes out. We have been and will always be promoting piracy for our music.

In the last few years a plethora of bands have come up. Do you feel a sense of competition?

We have come all the way from a ‘No band in the city’ to ‘Gali gali main band thing’. Today we have greater talent coming up. People are opting for music as a full time profession and this is good news. Additionally the audiences too have woken up to a variety of music. I believe it is a good sign.

Talking about competition, I think there is no competition. We can all evolve in our music and keep striving to do better than what we did in the past. The competition is always with our past performance and not with any other band.

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