Delhi riff guide
EMI/Cartwheel, Rs 199
You know right from the start that this is going to be a different kind of rockumentary. The opening shots with the credits take us through the hustle and bustle of Delhi. But what you notice is the sound — the music — all around: filmi music blaring, the noise of traffic, the incremental sound of beggars with dholaks...
And from this sound-noise-music, we realise comes the deeply original music of one of India’s most tenacious, respected and popular bands, Indian Ocean. Through interviews with band members and footages of practice sessions and concerts that run through 286 minutes over two discs, we get the story and sound not only of Indian Ocean and their rather amazing trajectory, but also a non-fictional soundtrack of Delhi itself.
Guitarist and bedrock of the band Susmit Sen tells us how the band was first formed when he teamed up with the late Asheem Chakravarty on percussion and vocals. We hear about the entry of dynamic bassist Rahul Ram along with drummer Amit Kilam entering the fray. Past band members such as the late bass guitar extraordinaire Indrajit Dutta who left the fledgling, struggling band to work as an architect (“I regret not pursuing music”) are also on film. Jaideep Varma’s tender, free-flowing documentary mirrors the band’s music as being more than just a collection of visuals stapled to sound. There’s a scene in which Rahul is on the roof of the house where Indian Ocean has been jamming for years and tells the camera how there’s a neighbour who keeps throwing his booze bottles on to the roof and told him that the band could use his studios “for bedroom scenes too”. “He must have thought we make blue films,” chuckles Rahul.
A delightful film for Indian Ocean fans, music lovers and anyone who wishes to see what happens to a bunch of extremely talented people who sink their teeth into something they love and never let go, no matter whether the outside world has caught on to them yet or not.