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We Tried To Find The Real Meaning Of Indie Music In India. This Is What We Got

We Tried To Find The Real Meaning Of Indie Music In India. This Is What We Got

Fans are cheering for it, cool brands are throwing money at it. Hell, even Bollywood is borrowing talent from it. But will the real Indie please stand up?

If there is one music-wala word that has been more overused than your wafer-thin soled, toe print-inscribed bathroom chappals, it is none other than ‘indie’. Even as I proudly declare myself as an ‘indie’ music fan, the mystery of what really qualifies as ‘indie’ continues to baffle me. Especially when its definition behaves like a road from Andheri East – always in a state of flux. Allow me to historically chronicle my friend Indie’s identity crises in the last two decades.

  • 1. The Renaissance of Pop-Till-You-Drop (1994 – 2002)

    The Daler Mehndis and the Baba Sehgals churned out cassettes with religious regularity, and although they were signed by big labels, these artistes had no relation whatsoever with the even bigger Bollywood music industry. Their mere non-affiliation to the mainstream film industry was enough for them to be considered independent. In other words, Indie lived more or less a happy life.

     {Indie = Indi pop}

     

    The Renaissance of Pop-Till-You-Drop (1994 – 2002) Daler Mehndi
    Daler Mehndi
    Photo source: Daler Mehndi/Facebook

  • 2. The Crusades of The Adulterous Bollywood (2002 – 2010)

    Indie got into an adulterous relationship with Mainstream, and started losing its identity. The Daler Mehndis and the Baba Sehgals desperately tried their luck in Bollywood; a few succeeded while most sucked. What triggered this affair? Apparently, Mainstream was finally coming of age and Indie wanted to be a contributor to the big change. However, Indie could never really seal the deal with Mainstream. The Euphorias and the Indian Oceans continued to play college shows and getting paid peanuts for Rock Nights, while, all the fat cash was stuffed into the pockets of the Sonu Nigams and the Shaans who played the Bollywood Night. The catch was that Aam Indie (Indie’s country cousin, the one that played weekly Metal Nights at the local bar and never made it to a cassette or a CD or even MTV, and awaited its own Arvind Kejriwal) took the worst hit.

    {If Indie = x, find x}

    The Crusades of The Adulterous Bollywood (2002 – 2010) Parikrama
    Parikrama​
    Photo source: Facebook/Parikrama

     

     

  • 3. The Golden Age of The Aam Indie (2010 -2015)

    Thanks to mushrooming music festivals and a spurt in gigs across the city, this age finally proves that Indie could mean anything you want it to mean. Eureka! Sing covers at an early set at a nightclub? Call yourself Indie. Signed to a big label? Koi nahi jee, you are also Indie. A big fan of DW-DIY (Don’t Wanna Do It Yourself) ethics? Indie welcomes you aboard. If you are worth your salt, you could even land a prestigious TV show deal.

    {Indie = What’s-In-A-Name}

    The Golden Age of The Aam Indie (2010 -2015)

    Currently, Indie’s lurking at every street corner. And to make things exciting, there are doppelgangers and clones everywhere. For now, excuse me, I need to go to a Big-Fat-Brand-Presents-Indie gig, folks.  

     

    Words and cover image: NS