Talking point: How subcultures become part of the mainstream

An event this weekend will see an academician, a musician, an entrepreneur, a dancer, and a venture capitalist discuss the evolution of subcultures

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Nov 10, 2016 21:38 IST
Manali Shah
Manali Shah
Hindustan Times
HT48Hours,Godrej India Culture Lab,subcultures in India
An illustration of the adda session(Imaging: Shrikrishna Patkar/HT)

An event this weekend will see an academician, a musician, an entrepreneur, a dancer, and a venture capitalist discuss the evolution of subcultures.

As recently as five years ago, leaving a corporate job to follow your dream and start your own company was considered outlandish. Today, you have a slew of new-age Indian start-ups and success stories. Even our pop culture reflects the rise of entrepreneurship — TVF Pitchers, one of the most popular web series, is about four friends who attempt to launch a start-up.

How subcultures go mainstream is an idea that will be discussed this weekend at the Godrej India Culture Lab, Vikhroli. At Subcultures to Sab-culture: A Public Adda on Newness in Contemporary India, a panel will explore how various underground cultures have changed what we consume and how we think.

The panel, curated by Godrej India Culture Lab’s scholar in residence, from Brown University, Brian A Horton (he is a PhD scholar in the department of anthropology) is an eclectic mix of personalities: venture capitalist Sandeep Murthy, DJ Pearl, dancer Terence Lewis, Kalyani Khona (founder of Inclov, a matchmaking app which focuses on people with disability) and AF Mathew (associate professor in humanities and liberal studies, IIM Kozhikode). “It will be interesting to look for points of commonality in how these minds think and anticipate. For instance, is Sandeep’s pattern of tracking a trend the same as Terence’s?” asks Parmesh Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab.

Besides touching upon on her two-decade old journey as a musician, DJ Pearl will talk about the evolution of house music in the country — a genre that went from underground to a popular choice among DJs. “I’ve spent enough time observing my own subculture of electronic music grow and evolve, to have a good grasp on what made it take hold, grow and finally tip over. And even what might spell the end for the current cycle since it has become so commercialised,” she says.

Interestingly, the format of the session will be shaped like an adda (an informal discussion, usually in a circle) of the yore rather than a staid panel discussion. “Although panel discussions are interesting, rarely are the solutions or discussions actually actionable. Everyone walks away just having said their piece. I think an adda sort of setting will work because it’s casual enough to encourage people to be more forthright. Who knows, we might get a lot more audience participation too,” adds Pearl.


What: Subcultures to Sab-culture will take place on November 11, 5pm.

Where: Godrej India Culture Lab, Vikhroli (E)

Entry: Free via registration on

First Published: Nov 10, 2016 00:00 IST