(All screen grabs taken from here)
1. After watching the first episode, I had a very slight concern (prematurely) – that the show would end up following a similar pattern and narrative throughout the season. Two episodes in though, those initial fears have been emphatically dispelled – although, again, two episodes isn’t much of a sample set to make a clear analysis of a pattern or trend (neither is one episode). Basically, the point is that the show does a fine job making a clear jump from the dreamy locales of Manali into the heart of urban city life, aka Bombay. So far, they’re allowing the documentary-format show to move forward through its own processes, instead of over-directing the thing.
2. What that also does is shift perspective, as well as the entire vibe of the show. Bombay naturally invokes a different kind of creative sensibility than Manali, and that reflects in the episode as well as in the final video of the song they make. The focus here is on urban existence – the frantic kind, if you look at Bombay – and the artists are visibly reacting to that spirit here. In fact, that’s probably the most exciting part of a show such as this; obviously, the collaborations are very interesting to see as they materialize, but the different approaches based on the different physical spaces the artists are placed in is something that needs more eyes and ears.
3. This particular episode features Shilpa Gupta, a multimedia/installation artist from Bombay, working in tandem with Lucky Ali of Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye fame (that’s a blatant lie, but how cool would it have been had he been part of the movie?).
4. Oh, Lucky Ali. As I hark back to my childhood days, I think of (a much younger-looking) Lucky Ali, crooning away in the glorious Pyramids of Egypt. Sure, he was an Indi-pop artist strutting his stuff just like all those others were, but even then, he had this aura of coolness that my younger self was enamoured by. He projected an air of indie defiance in a world infiltrated by commercial assembly-line pop artists. I’m not saying he was or wasn’t that – just that I felt he was. Then he went and sang for Hrithik Roshan and acted in something called Sur – The Melody of Life and I forgot all about him. So it’s very cool to see him back in the indie (ish) space – it’s like he’s back where he belongs after having gone and done his thing for the past few years; now it’s his time. Or maybe he's just pretending. How can one ever be sure, and is it even that relevant?
5. Visual installations are a thing of wonder and awe (for this writer). There’s something very appealing about envisioning a physical space not in terms of practicality or logistics but as an aesthetic medium – using unconventional, everyday objects, reducing their accepted meanings to nothing, and then constructing from scratch a work of art that easily sidesteps conformist ideals of art and creation and represents a new meaning. It’s a creative process I’m intrigued by deeply. And interspersing urban life and music with visual art of this sort is theoretically a brilliant idea, an idea that does translate fairly well on this episode.
6. The entry point for the collaboration is “Nowhere – Now Here” – basically, adding one little space to change the entire meaning of the phrase – that Gupta suggests to Ali. It’s not a terribly original idea, but what’s more important is what they actually do with the initial kick-starter, and what they come up with more than makes up for it.
7. The backgrounds of the artists seem relevant enough, and there’s a segment dedicated to the two speaking separately about their craft and their approach and their growth. It’s still a 21-minute show though, which means that other things get left out. Personally, I would have enjoyed watching a little more of the installation being set up and the coalescence between the song Ali writes and the accompanying installation Gupta creates.
8. ‘Khirama’, the final song - inspired by the vision and theme Gupta and Ali try to depict, that of capturing the spirit of modern existence through art - is just a tad underwhelming. It’s a fusion-folk-pop medley of sorts – and there’s a lovely line Ali throws at us during one of the discussions about the collaboration, of someone being lost and yet knowing their way back home – but it still has a somewhat incomplete feeling. Maybe my own expectations got in the way, but I was really hoping for a far catchier hook to the song, which was absent.
9. The video, on the other hand, is phenomenal. It’s almost an exact representation of the forethought the artists put into creating ‘Khirama’, with spectacular camera work complementing the brilliant visual work by Gupta – it’s hard to explicate exactly what she’s done thanks to my inadequate knowledge about the subject matter, but there’s whimsical colour work and a clear meaning that the video conveys, interspersing textual displays, slick editing, multiple shots highlighting blurry lights shuffling in and out of the frame, and lots and lots of other visually emotive scenery that demands repeat viewings.
10. #LIVETRUE. That's the static top right logo visible sporadically through the episode, because, you know, you gotta #livetrue.
We're the Twitter generation, aren't we? I can't quite make up my mind on whether that's a good thing or an awful, awful reality of modern day existence that we all have to live with every single day. The answer lies somewhere in between, I presume.
Watch The Dewarists - Season 3, Episode 2 - 'Khirama' below:
Read our review of The Dewarists Season 3, Episode 1: 'Suspended' here
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