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A dip in the ocean

Ask them a question and all the members have different opinions and this may even lead to arguments between them. But they unanimously agree that their journey that began 23 years ago, despite all the ups and downs, has been one great ride. After the demise of one of their founder members, Asheem Chakravarty (tabla, percussions and vocals) in 2009, the present line-up of rock band Indian Ocean consists of Rahul Ram (bass guitar and vocals), Amit Kilam (drums) Susmit Sen (guitar), Himanshu Joshi (vocals) and Tuheen Chakravarty (tabla).

They visited Odisha last in 2009 and, now, after three years, they have come back to weave their magic at IIT Bhubaneswar’s annual fest Alma Fiesta. All the members were head over heels about Odia cuisine, especially dalma.

t2 brings bits and pieces of their opinion on various issues of music and society:

Rahul Ram

On upcoming musicians

The music scene in India is improving by leaps and bounds. When we go to different festivals, we hear a lot of interesting genres of music and in different languages. Till now, people only knew about Bollywood, pop and English songs.

On crime against women It’s horrible when someone kills a person. But then, there is not only gender discrimination also colour, caste and race disparity. Such horrible incidents have been taking place for ages but we are happy that an outrage has sparked now. Men are not comfortable with women getting education and occupying positions higher than them. A lot of men will not marry women who earn more than them.

Can music bring about a change?

Attitudes must change, which happens over a period of time. Music is one of the catalysts in that change but to say music can change society, would be expecting too much.

Have recent music television shows enriched music?

Different musical shows have different formats and you have to kind of fit in. If an artiste is given a free hand, something fruitful can happen. They force different types of artistes to collaborate and produce music in a stipulated time period. It doesn’t work that way.

But shows can help one grow. Internet is something youngsters are hooked on to. It creates awareness. The medium has expanded courtesy the IT boom. Smaller bands are getting exposure. It can take years sometimes to get a platform. Bollywood’s imprint is very deep and severe but such shows can’t diminish that. We are just glad such shows have started but they have to go a long way. Trend of music festivals are another great thing.

Indian Ocean and Bollywood We have also created renditions for Bollywood, like Bandeh, for Black Friday and Des mera for Peepli Live. Filmmakers come to us but 90 per cent of those films never release. We had composed the music for a movie called Shoonya that never saw the light of the day. Next, we are doing a song for Prakash Jha’s next that stars Amitabh Bachchan.

On college rockbands breaking up after graduation

Don’t form a band in college (guffaws). Only a few have the willingness to stay poor for the next 10 years. Students from different cities and different ambitions would naturally break away. It’s entropy. We didn’t start in college but much later. We had supportive families. At 18, parents can tell you that you don’t know about your well-being. At 28, your father can’t yell at you, “You stupid boy, you will waste your life.”

Pratyush Patra

Pictures by Ashiwnee Pati