(All screen grabs taken from here)
1. What the hell is up with that animated/stop-motion/whatever montage that serves as the main The Dewarists theme sequence and comes in at around a minute and a half into the first episode? It's this claymation-esque guy with a violin and another woman standing opposite him and there's crystallized water/whiskey flowing through them both and it all sort of merges into the logo of The Dewarists by the end of it. And it's fantastic. Wow. We watched it in high definition because we have fast internet and we were highly blown away by the creative aesthetic and the sheer visual craft of the montage.
2. As for “The Dewarists”: it’s belated but what a brilliant name. This is how you sidestep archaic media and entertainment laws in the country, not through “surrogate advertising” and packaged water and soda.
3. Monica Dogra, the host of the show who also does a collaboration in this particular episode, can seemingly do anything. She's an excellent singer, a natural performer, a great host, a brilliant dancer, an actor too, and she’s extremely charming and charismatic on TV. So it's only fair that there’s at least one thing that she cannot do, which is lend her voice to a voiceover. Well, she can, but she ends up sounding like one of those faith healers or hypnotists who speak in hushed tones over ocean sounds and creep me out.
4. For those of you who own a television and a set top box, the show now airs on MTV on Sundays at 8 PM. Ooh, channel wars.
5. It’s essentially a travel-music show, but this episode also features Eric Paré, who does stunning light painting, a photography technique where lights are manipulated to add a motion vibe, forming vivid and colourful mosaics to still images. It’s also used in the final music video that the collaboration yielded and is quite fascinating to watch.
6. Monica Dogra writes a song with Prashant Mistry, founder of Engine-Earz Experiment. Mistry doesn’t quite make it to the final music video of the song they work on – called ‘Suspended’ – which features Monica Dogra in multiple attires and make-up accentuating the light work as well as a few sequences of aforementioned light painting. So instead, Mistry is given a little solo montage in the middle of the forest in Manali where he’s playing his keys and manipulating all sorts of sounds. It’s like a music video preceding the actual music video – appeasement, maybe? Cool, nonetheless.
7. All of them are highly evolved artists of a certain stature, so naturally, their approach to music is also appropriately advanced, as is their way of talking about it. Maybe I’m not cerebral enough, but all the talk about the infinite universe, flow of energy, visual expression and music perception, duality and truths and and feelings and vibes and positive energies and so forth just flew way over my head. It’s all hippie jargon, the very worst kind there is (is there any other kind?), and I thought the show could have very well done without such a barrage of all that mumbo-jumbo. It’s cool and intimidating in small doses, not so much when it’s ever-present. Having said that, maybe it’s because they were shooting in Manali…*nudge nudge*
8. Oof, the production values. The show looks splendid and the visual documentation of the entire process just oozes class – albeit slow moving class. It’s obvious that The Dewarists is now a reasonably big-budget production, but the crew actually does justice to the apparent funds at their disposal, with lovely and super sleek shots and editing. It’s well-directed, and even the possibly-staged wistful shots of Monica Dogra as she pondered over the lyrics to the song and scribbled them in her little notepad seemed to work in the overall context, as did most of the individual/collaborative sequences of the three artists. Had it been me directing/producing, I would have given the top guys a shoddy or average product and blown up all the extra cash on an assortment of bling products.
9. On to the actual song – composed by Mistry and Dogra – called ‘Suspended’. It’s this electronica driven thing with lots of shivering and lush synth sounds punctuated by a staccato, slightly unorthodox rhythmic backbone, over which Dogra lends a very otherworldly energy through a delivery that’s restrained when it needs to be, and powerful as required too. It’s not really a bad song – fairly decent, I would say, after a couple of listens – but it’s not extraordinary either. It’s exactly what you would expect from a short collaboration such as this, done for the purpose of shooting a television show. Make of that what you will.
10. It’s a good start to the season – not a great one, mind, but that’s natural. The standout elements have to be the look and feel in terms of production values, with a pretty good accompanying score to the sequences. The music may or may not always work when it comes to collaborations such as these due to their novelty nature, but hopefully, the changing locations and the associated moods they bring out in the music and the setting will maintain a freshness through the show. Until next week.
Watch The Dewarists - Season 3, Episode 1 - 'Suspended' below:
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