We, Indians, generally love our music. It’s there, deeply embedded, in our rich culture. Throughout the length and breadth of this country, you will come across different forms and style of music and many imminent musicians, who needless to say are pioneers in their respective domains. We love our Rabindrasangeet. We love our Carnatic classical. We love our Bhangra. But, there is this other form of music, which, some might argue, is a new age phenomenon!
The Indian rock music scene started brewing from the mid eighties, when Gautam Chattopadhyay burst onto the scene, with his critically acclaimed band “ Mohiner Ghoraguli” . He is, arguably, India’s first independent rock star! His song, “ Prithibi”, was nothing short of a rock anthem, which the average Bengali rock fans still swears by! However, this song got national recognition, when Pritam bought the rights and did a Hindi rendition of it! The song called, “ Bheegi Bheegi”, was pictured in the movie “ Gangster”, and was an instant hit! Gautam Chattopadhyay had finally got his due!
Parikrama was one band which has been constantly churning out gripping performances in various rock shows throughout the country, since the early nineties. They, by choice, stay away from Indian traditional music, and write out and out English rock n’roll songs! When Iron Maiden had come to India, Parikrama had opened for them. Maiden’s lead man, Bruce Dickinson, was so impressed with them, that he offered Parikrama, the golden chance of opening for Iron Maiden in their next European tour. Sadly, however, this did not get the band noticed as a mainstream band; Neither did their runaway hit, “ But It Rained”. The band, finally got visibility, when Saif Ali Khan toured with them to all the leading metros, as a guitarist! This was a part of Seagram’s initiative to promote rock music in India and ironically they had to hire the services of a commercial Bollywood film star to do it!
Indian Ocean is probably the most classically influenced band in India right now. They, not unlike Parikrama, have been a regular in the Indian rock circuits, for a while now! This band possesses many assets: Ingenious song writing ability, unconventional but highly effective musical arrangement and the beautiful vocals make this band a formidable strength. However, this is India and if you are a rock band then just talent and skills won’t make it for you! So, what did make this band? Yeah, you guessed it right! The answer is Bollywood, again! Anurag Kashyap included their song, “ Bandeh”, in the album for his film, “ Black Friday”. Needless to say, the band got recognition and the fame and money gradually followed suit.
MTV India had come up with this unique show called “ MTV Desi Rock”. Many young rock stars believed that this was their golden chance to showcase their mettle. However, when they had to perform rock versions of commercial Bollywood hits, like, “ Tum to Tehre Pardesi”, their dreams were probably shattered.
Adele did not have to do a “ Sky fall” to gain recognition. She and her band had, all ready, gained world wide fame before that; And it was that fame which had influenced the producers of the movie to hire her services. This is how it works there in Hollywood! However, if you are an Indian rock band, trying to find your footing, you might want to pay a friendly visit to all the Bollywood directors. This, might just, save you a lot of struggle!