Six-part web documentary on Indie music scene

Oct 13, 2015, 08:26 IST | Suprita Mitter

The first episode of Standing By, a six-part web series about the Indie music scene across decades, will be screened tonight, followed by a gig you wouldn't want to miss

 After year and a half of research and scanning 400 hours of footage, sifting through dusty old albums and interviewing musicians, journalists, band managers, promoters and venue owners, director Arjun S Ravi is ready with a six-part web documentary, titled Standing By.

The Combustibles. Pic Courtesy/The Combustibles
The Combustibles. Pic Courtesy/The Combustibles

This exhaustive web series, produced jointly by Only Much Louder (OML) and Red Bull Media House is an attempt to uncover the history of independent music in India. Through the six episodes and a mammoth digital archiving effort, the series unearths interesting stories, fundamental to the formation of the now thriving independent music scene in the country.

Human Bondage. Pic courtesy/Radha Thomas
Human Bondage. Pic courtesy/Radha Thomas

Pan Indian sound
"Ours is an attempt to gauge influences of all kinds of Western music on the Indian independent scene, including on the regional front like Bangla Rock or music from Khasi tribes. The regionalism could be reflected in the language, instruments chosen, mood or lyrical content but the influence is Western," explains Ravi. "With the given scene of cultural policing and a strong definition of Indian-ness, these forms of expressions need to be encouraged," he asserts.

Arjun S Ravi, director, Standing By. Pic Courtesy/Prarthna Singh
Arjun S Ravi, director, Standing By. Pic Courtesy/Prarthna Singh

Apart from stalwarts like Usha Uthup, Louis Banks and Carlton Kitto as well as journalists such as Jug Suraiya and Aruna Dasgupta, the documentary also features names from the current music scene, including Vishal Dadlani, Uday Benegal, Nikhil Chinapa, Rahul Ram, Monica Dogra, Nucleya and Dualist Inquiry. "It was much tougher to be in the independent music space in the 1940s. Back then, the lone reference points were what people heard on radio and a few newspaper articles about bands like The Beatles coming to India," shares Ravi. He ponders about how things have changed, "Today, information about different genres is available at the click of a button. In the last five years, alternate musicians have begun to tour the world, performing to packed stadiums."

The Jets.Pic Courtesy/Suresh Bhojwani

The first episode will be include a special screening, followed by a performance by Spud in the Box and gigs by musicians across decades, like Uday Benegal, Randolph Correia, P-Man, Vasuda Sharma and Tejas Menon. The documentary will feature never-seen-before footage and vintage images. Complementing the documentary series is a digital archive, hosted on "We intend to create an archive such that when people click on a certain year, they can find details of popular artistes who played then, photographs and all information that gives a good idea of the independent music scene then," concludes Ravi.

High. Pic Courtesy/Tejan Balakrishnan

On: Today, 7.30 pm onwards
At: blueFROG, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
Log on to: for more photos from their archive

Collegium.Pic Courtesy - Manoj Pant

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