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The travelling bards

A trailer for an upcoming music and travel-based TV show became the top trending video this week. The Guide chats up with the brains behind the show

It isn't often that a trailer for an upcoming TV show becomes one of the top trending videos in India. But that is exactly what happened this Monday (September 26). The Dewarists, a show that will air on October 16, started trending online a few hours after the trailer went live. Perhaps, the fantastically shot and edited trailer deserves credit for the same. The video had already received 6,000 views on YouTube at the time of going to press.


The Dewarists - Zeb and Haniya, Shantanu, Swanand. Pic courtesy/ Kunal Kakodkar

The Dewarists is a marriage of two tried-and-tested concepts: the musical documentary and the travelogue. Conceived jointly by production house Babble Fish Productions, artiste and event management firm Only Much Louder and the people at Dewar's, the show will feature artistes from diverse backgrounds collaborating on a track, over an hour-long episode.

However, instead of doing it in the confines of a studio (as was done in the show, Jammin', a decade ago), these artistes will be travelling to exotic locations within India. Along the way the artistes will soak in the musical influences of that region and incorporate those alongwith their own musical style.

The first episode features Bollywood composer/Pentagram front-man Vishal Dadlani collaborating with Grammy Award-winning British singer-songwriter, Imogen Heap. Future episodes will include artistes such as Indian Ocean, Parikrama, Zeb and Haniya, Rajasthan Roots and Shilpa Rao among others. The common link across all shows will be Monica Dogra, actress and one half of the popular electro-rock duo Shaa'ir + Func.

We spoke to Monica and Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, ad filmmaker and vocalist of popular post-hardcore band, Scribe, who is also one of the directors on the show alongwith the UK-based Fred & Nick. Excerpts from
the interview:

How did you come to be associated with The Dewarists? What was your initial reaction to the concept?
Monica Dogra: When I was approached to be an integral part of this show, I felt this crazy surge of opportunity and excitement.  I couldn't believe that we had been given the go-ahead to do something so beautifully cutting-edge, so honest; something so needed!

Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy: I was brought in by Vijay Nair (co-founder of Only Much Louder) to be part of this project perhaps due to my association with the independent music scene. The artistes on the show didn't see me as a director; they saw me as 'that Scribe guy'. This allowed us to get a more intimate portrayal of everything that transpired.

The Dewarists takes two concepts that have both been done several times and merges them into one show. What exactly is so unique about this concept?
VK: It's not about what has been done before as much as what has been done right. There have been shows based on music made before in India, but apart from a Saregama or an Antakshari, none of them stood out.
There's a difference between something made on the basis of a calculated audience analysis, as opposed to a show that is made to capture the beauty in something, which is what we've attempted. We had a fairly high audio engineering budget because we wanted it to sound good. As for the look, we shot with HD cameras and were lucky to have Nick, who is a master of digital filmmaking, on board with us.

What are your individual roles on the show and how did you go about fulfilling them?

MD: I am the eyes and ears of the show in certain ways and in others, an audience member. The show is unscripted, so a great amount of my thoughts and feelings go into the conversations I have with the artistes that are included from episode to episode.  

VK: As a director alongwith Fred & Nick, I had to have the foresight and sensitivity to put the moments we captured into some sort of a narrative and make it appear seamless. We set up the conditions of the experiment and let the artistes do whatever they wanted to. There were several times when we'd line up certain interactions with the artistes in order to get the process moving. But the minute there would be an instrument in the room, they'd drop everything and start making music. It's not like we could ask them to stop! 

The Dewarists premieres on October 16 on Star World. It will be aired 8 pm onwards, every Sunday.

 

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