Today is perhaps the only day we actually remember the word ‘Independence’ – The Independence Day!
But this piece of thought is not about what ‘Independence’ means to me, this is just about what ‘Indie’ means to me. Yes, INDIE! I still remember my childhood days when I used to end up in a random cassette shop with my dad in search of some new film/festival song cassettes and suddenly start wondering about the word ‘Indie’ seeing ‘Indie Pop’ written on a cassette. I seriously thought then that the word was something related to ‘India’ when I finally came into the conclusion seeing many cassettes with the same word, that it’s not an accidental typographical mistake.
With the advent of social media, this word gained much popularity that we started to use it in our daily lives. Be it an Indie Artist or an Indie Album or an Indie Filmmaker, we love to use the word Indie (At least I do!). I seriously think this is a good change that has been happening in India since quite a while. May be we all are so fucked up with our ‘dependent’ lives that we love to call ourselves ‘independent’. In fact, all our education, higher education and ‘even-higher’ education are supposed to make us ‘independent’. Just ‘supposed to’! We were dependent on our parents till we completed our degrees or even master degrees, and one fine day when we think that ‘yes, now I’m free’, we end up being dependent on our bosses and on the system which leads us to more and more dependency while we are still in pursuit of independency. That’s why people badly need a change. Yes… That moment when you realize that it’s not the world that needs a change but you. Only you! And that will eventually change the world!
When we found ourselves so fed up with our daily jobs, we logged into Facebook, went through some interesting posts around the globe, ended up pondering ‘why don’t I start my own page and start posting my own stuff?’ Yes, we did it. That’s how we got to see pages like ‘Blah blah blah Photography’, ‘Blah blah blah Music’, ‘Blah Blah blah Artistry’, ‘Blah blah blah Films’, ‘Blah blah blah blah blah blah’. Finally, we all became Indies in our own territories. I must say that it was a major major change. Thank you Zuckerberg. We all became independent because you became independent first. But Zuckerberg can only make us independent. Sustaining that independency is solely our duty. That’s why this post!
When you create a page in Facebook, there is no ‘Singer’ or ‘Instrumentalist’ in the list but only ‘Musician/Band’. This is how it works in the global level and it has finally started reflecting in our country too. We had so many amazing singers (I mean legendary singers), amazing instrumentalists and amazing composers, but still we lacked total musicians who can handle everything with ease, from playing, programming, singing, recording, arranging to finally producing a song. This wasn’t our fault. This simply wasn’t the need of the hour then. Singers were always singers and instrumentalists were always instrumentalists. But now the scene is changing. We can’t sustain so long by doing the same thing again and again. There’s so much talent around and more importantly there are so many opportunities for the talents around that people forget you easily if you are still doing the same stuff you were doing 2 years back, no matter how good you are. We had a Music Industry totally dependent on films and we called it Film Music Industry. But now we have Coke Studio, Music Mojo, Mojo Rising and thus we got so many kick-ass bands and so many kick-ass originals. Finally in India, music is getting independent. This is nothing short of path-breaking and it’s a welcoming change for people who started to get bored of the usual ‘melody’, ‘semi-classical’, ‘fast’ genres and the people who always wondered ‘why the hell did Motherjane or Avial not get the deserved recognition here?’ I have to say that from being an entity totally dependent on films, music grew to become independent and at the same time pair up with films or any other visual art to create perfect harmony. You see. Without harmony, music is nothing!!
Before coming to what happened to films, I’ll have to say a few words about other arts as well because Cinema is the confluence of every art form we can think of.
We had a strong blog community even before the social media boom. Nothing to worry, things are only getting better. There was a time when I had to Google to find out some interesting blogs, but now I can simply ‘Like’ my favorite blog pages and consequently receive similar recommendations. No more Googling to find like-minded people! Indie writers worked harder and improved their skills so much just because they got a much bigger audience for their talents to showcase. The same is the case with artists, visual artists, designers and illustrators also. With cinema becoming a much more powerful medium than it was in the yesteryears, the demand for talented poster designers, art directors has increased enormously, thus inspiring amateur artists to give a shot on things which they haven’t tried in their entire lifetime.
Finally, the independency in films!! Gone are those days when you had to constantly chase directors just to show the script you had written and finally end up doing nothing other than keeping your script safe with your other rarely-used belongings and eventually letting it die a normal death with you. We ourselves have witnessed some promising short filmmakers turn into amazing filmmakers. Anand Gandhi, Karthik Subbaraj, Nalan Kumarasamy, Alphonse Puthren are just a few in the list (much more to come). The change is so near that slowly and gradually we can spot at least one familiar face (behind or in front of the camera) in every film we watch! Ain’t it path-breaking? Just remember the times when we used to rush to a shooting set just to click a picture with our favorite celebrity. They were so far from you. Aren’t they??
We had legends like John Abraham and G Aravindan who strongly believed in the power of parallel and independent cinema during a period people hardly knew anything about independent filmmaking. Cinema as an art form so close to people – a dream envisioned by John Abraham has its waves still alive in our industry with the larger public (both critical and commercial) also giving due recognition to the independent films made, which is indeed a heartwarming change. Crowd-funded projects like of Kazhcha Film Forum’s and the concept of Cinemavandi are just the beginning of what to come in future! Be it Sajin Baabu’s ‘Unto The Dusk’ or Sudevan’s ‘CR No. 89’, every independent film getting a place in theatres among other commercial flicks opens up a new ray of hope for better indies to come!
So far so good! The sustenance of the platform social media provided us is what we should learn to be a fully independent contributor of any kind. Let the blogs turn into books; art works turn into art exhibitions; home music videos turn into live performances, singles and albums; short films turn into feature films and yes, thoughts turn into actions!
The ‘indie’ future looks promising! The show is on! Do your part and be the change!