Comments (0)
Review |  14 Oct 2015 22:05 |  By RnMTeam

'Standing By': A reminder of the past and a promise for the future

MUMBAI: If the first episode is anything to go by, the much-awaited documentary on the Indian independent music scene offers enough to educate oneself on the evolution of the community and the music in India. The first episode of the series was screened at blueFROG, Mumbai on 13 October, followed by an hour-long set by Mumbai-based band Spud In The Box, who were joined by familiar names from the circuit – including Rohit ‘P-Man’ Pereira, Uday Benegal, Saurabh Roy and Vasuda Sharma. The series, divided in six episodes, explores the aspects and figures that played the essential role in the growth of the independent music through the 60s and 70s.

The episode starts with Naresh Fernandes explaining the ‘Jazz culture’ that existed in the country before Rock was introduced to the masses. The ‘Taj Mahal Foxtrot’ author is one of the 120 personalities interviewed by Arjun Ravi, in a mission to unearth and reveal all the struggles, the journey and the inevitable success faced and embraced by legends from the scene. The series focuses on elements that have not only laid the foundation or platform encouraging independent musicians, but also on vintage images and never-seen-before videos, through which the docu-series addresses the rise and decline of jazz, the influence of western music – The Beatlemania, Woodstock and disco.

Several fascinating stories are well-documented through the interviews with artists of both, yesteryears and today. Louis Banks, in the episode, recalls the time when RD Burman first noticed him in one of his gigs, further enlightening the pianist’s unfamiliarity with mainstream movies. The series, however, does not restrict itself to just musicians, but aptly covers the importance of journalists, record labels and producers during the underground scene’s early steps.

Spud In The Box ensured the theme of the night’s music justified the mood for the occasion, covering tracks by popular outfits like Parikrama, Split, Tough on Tobacco, Zero, Thermal and a Quarter and a few others. Rohit Pereira set the mood by singing Tough on Tobacco’s ‘Smoke Some Ganja’, followed by The LightYears Explode’s vocalist/guitarist Saurabh Roy who raised the tempo (without his guitar for the first time) with Superfuzz’s ‘4 Times’. The set also saw Vasuda Sharma, Uday Benegal and Amandeep Singh collaborate with the band for renditions of ‘Am I Dreaming’, ‘Colourblind’ and ‘Zephyretta’, respectively. Monica Dogra, to the attendees’ delight, did an impromptu appearance during Tejas Menon’s set where the duo effortlessly played with ‘Embrace’, a Shaa’ir and Func original.

The producers and makers of the series have dedicated many hours and knowledge to the making of the series, and the first episode stands as proof of that. The engaging, informative, bold, and honest episode reflects the history and the present situation of the ‘scene’ albeit keeps you wanting more.
The trailer suggested the series would revolve around the indie scene, although if you love music and documentaries, this just might be your thing.