Their shoulders are swinging softly, their feet tapping on the stone floor and some of them are shutting their eyes in intense passion. This is a group of seven — Shamim, Amit, Prateek, Riaz, Nipun, Yash and Shanky. The boys are singing in a hush as if not to disturb Feroze Shah Tughlaq, the 14th century ruler who is buried in the tomb, around which they are standing.
This is Hauz Khas monument complex. And these school students are shooting a documentary, a part of their classroom project.
It’s a musical “We are making a musical on college life,” says Nipun, who, like others in the group, is 16. Yash takes up from there, saying, “These are students who are an academic failure but have passion for music.”
Looking up at the blackened dome, Nipun, who wants to be an architect, says, “This needs renovation.” Amit differs, “No, if you renovate the monument, it will lose its naturalness (sic).”
Amit and Nipun are the group’s problem boys. They are the regular latecomers. Nipun is also known for frequently squabbling with Shanky. Inevitably Riaz, the sober one, ends up as the peacemaker. He shares a strong bond with Shamim and Prateek. “We have formed a love triangle,” Prateek says with a laugh.
The band of brothers
In the documentary, Prateek plays the rock band’s lead guitarist. Shanky is the second guitarist. Nipun sits on the keyboard; Yash is the drummer. Riaz and Amit are vocalists. Shamim is filming the documentary with his digicam. There is no director, no script. Everyone give their inputs. “If you don’t score well in exams, you are labelled a failure,” says Amit. “Our film is about finding your hidden talent.”
The theme sounds suspiciously like that of 3 Idiots, the blockbuster that rued the soul-killing conformity of colleges. “Yes, we were inspired by it,” says Nipun. “But our storyline is different. The characters in the documentary are not good in academics, but they connect with each other through music.”
An hour before the boys had an argument. The characters had to be shot in a depressed mood. Cameraman Shamim wanted a forest background so they went to a secluded spot in Deer Park that overlooks Hauz Khas. Yash objected, saying, “When you are feeling low, you don’t go to such a wild place.”
The boys are shooting another scene, instead. They gather in the garden outside Tughlaq’s tomb. Prateek, the lead guitarist, sits in the center and the boys start humming a song from 3 Idiots.
Give me some sunshine
Give me some rain
Give me another chance
I wanna grow up once again
What will be the film’s end? “The band gets famous,” says Shamim. “We boys become a success.”