Abhimanyu Kukreja’s ‘Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock’ must be commended for its encyclopedic scope and rich historic detail - The Daily Guardian
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Abhimanyu Kukreja’s ‘Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock’ must be commended for its encyclopedic scope and rich historic detail

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Ever since its Indian premiere at the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival in December 2018, Abhimanyu Kukreja’s documentary film “Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock” has managed to stay in the news, winning several accolades at film festivals across India, the USA and Europe. Despite the film’s success, Abhimanyu always had his eyes set on a digital release as it’s very rare for a documentary in India to get a theatrical release. But in a post-lockdown world witnessing fast-changing paradigms on the long road to recovery, the theatrical release has finally become a reality for Abhimanyu. 

 It all started with a 24-minute documentary titled “Rockumentary: Becoming of Indian Rock” that Abhimanyu made while working as an entertainment journalist for a news channel back in 2008. The underlying idea was to document the development of rock music in India. When Abhimanyu first started the research there wasn’t even a Wikipedia page on Indian rock. Today, of course, there exists a full-fledged page. So, all the interviews that Abhimanyu conducted with the musicians were through word of mouth. He had to do lots of location recces and trails with artists. Naturally, he didn’t go to them straightaway carrying a camera. At first, he had convinced the musicians to trust him with the treasures of their lives.  

 From 2008 to 2012, he was researching and simultaneously trying to convince the bands to talk to him. In 2012, he finally found a couple of co-producers who were willing to fund the project and so that’s when the actual shooting started. Finally out in its finished form, “Rockumentary: Evolution of Indian Rock” is told through eight sprawling chapters spread across eight decades starting with the 1930s. It unfolds at a breezy pace as Abhimanyu takes us on a roller coaster ride replete with priceless conversations with the likes of Louiz Banks, Lou Majaw, Susmit Bose, Bobby Cash, Gary Lawyer, Rahul Ram, Moa Subong, Subir Malik, Tipriti Kharbangar, Rudy Wallang, Luke Kenny, Usha Uthup, and Imtiaz Ali, among others.

 The first chapter opens in the 1930s when a Gorkha musician named George Banks moves to India from Nepal and joins world-renowned American jazz pianist Teddy Weatherford’s band as a trumpeter in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta). The legendary George Banks’ virtuoso son Louiz Banks himself narrates the entire sequence of events starting with the ‘30s to the ‘50-‘60s when Kolkata’s Park Street becomes the undisputed home of rock music in India thanks to the phenomenon called Elvis Presley. Presley inspired the likes of Iqbal Singh, the tall and handsome turbaned Sikh singing and dancing with aplomb, who not only earned the sobriquet of ‘Indian Elvis’ but also went on to cast a spell on the legendary music director duo of Shankar-Jaikishan, compelling them to launch him as a rock and roll sensation in a Hindi film. But everything changed in the ‘70s with the departure of the Anglo-Indian clientele from India trigged by various socio-political changes in Kolkata at the turn of the decade. 

 The Beatles’ famous trip to an ashram in Rishikesh naturally finds an important place in the documentary as Abhimanyu himself takes an adventurous ride on his two-wheeler to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in an attempt to trace the iconic band’s exploits during their stay in India. The documentary film also introduces us to the rise of Atomic Forest, India’s first psychedelic and hard rock band, in the early-1970s. We are also introduced to All-India Simla Beat battle of the band’s contests held in 1970 and 1971 that resulted in Simla Beat 70/71—a garage rock compilation issued by Normal Records consisting of recordings of the bands which attended the annual events.

 The documentary also explores the subgenres of rock and roll that have evolved over the years with many upcoming local banks in different parts of the country exploring hitherto uncharted territories. We are introduced to folk-rock, Hindi rock, and various regional forms of non-English rock in India. During his visit to Shillong, Abhimanyu learns that Shillong’s description as India’s rock capital is highly misplaced. He interviews a bunch of local musicians who tell him that Shillong is actually home to various genres such as country music, blues, etc. and so to narrow it down to rock music isn’t fair at all. As a matter of fact, Soulmate, the best blues band of India, belongs to Shillong. 

 The film must be commended for its encyclopedic scope and rich historic detail. Some other important bands to feature in the documentary include Avial, Agnee, Blue Temptation, The Local Train, The Vinyl Records, The Circus, Undying Inc, Peter Cat Recording Company, and Summersalt, among others. An interesting recurring motif in Abhimanyu’s film is the exploration of historically iconic venues such as Rang Bhavan and Slip Disc in recent times or the restaurants in Park Street, Kolkata like Trincas, Mocambo, and Blue Fox during the early days of rock and roll in India. Some of these venues have gone defunct owing to various reasons while others have endured in one form or the other. Abhimanyu ends the documentary with the hope of expanding it into an exhaustive documentary series on Indian rock.   

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COVID-19: ABHISHEK URGES PEOPLE TO ‘KEEP MASKS ON’ FOR SAFETY

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Mumbai: As India has crossed the grim milestone of over 2 lakh daily COViD-19 cases on Thursday, Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan urged people to follow all health protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to ensure the safety of their family, elders, friends and loved ones. The ‹Big Bull› actor took to Instagram and posted a selfie wearing a mask, and requested people to take the most necessary precaution amid the pandemic. in the picture, Abhishek is seen donning off white shirt and a matching muffler. he accessorised his look with a chunky pair of sunglasses and a blue face mask covering half of his face. By giving an apt example to people, to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, the ‹Dhoom’ star wrote in the caption, “ to Please, please, Please KEEP YOUR MASK ON!!! if not for yourself, think about your family, elders, friends and loved ones. # maskupmaskon.” Celebrity followers including filmmaker Nikhil Advani and more than 37,000 fans liked the post within an hour of being posted. Fans chimed into the comments section to praise the actor’s initiative to spread awareness among people. One of Instagram users wrote,” Now that is the correct mask (Clapping emoticons) No the one with valves (laughing emoticon) BTS Big Bull rocks! (heart-shaped eyes emoticon).” On the work front, Abhishek, who was last seen in the biographical drama, ‘The Big Bull’, has ‘Dasvi’ and ‘Bob Biswas’ in the pipeline.

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ARJUN KAPOOR SHARES TEASER OF ‘DIL HAI DEEWANA’ SONG

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ew Delhi: The teaser of the upcoming music video ‘Dil Hai Deewana’ by Tseries, featuring Bollywood actors Arjun Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh was unveiled on Thursday. it’s safe to say that the romantic dance track that was recently shot in Mumbai will have your feet tapping away with its upbeat tunes. The ‘Gunday’ actor took to his Instagram handle and shared the song’s teaser along with the caption “A love story that is filled with fun! #Dil haiDeewana Teaser out now. Song releasing on 17th April 2021.” The fun-filled teaser features a story of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Pretty’, featuring Arjun and Rakul in a super cool and suave avatar, as they groove to the peppy song. Rakul also shared the teaser on her Instagram and captioned it as, “Are you ready for a little glimpse of our love story? DilhaiDeewana Teaser out now. Tune in now: http://bit.ly/DilhaiDeewana Teaser Song releasing on 17th April 2021.” ‘Dil Hai Deewana’, composed by Tanishk Bagchi and penned by Shabbir Ahmed, reunites Arjun with his ‘Aurangzeb’ co-star turned singer, Zara Khan, who has lent the female vocals for the song along with Darshan Raval

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TRAINER REVEALS TIGER’S FITNESS REGIME

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MUMBAI: Jai Hemant ‘Tiger’ Shroff is known for being a highly talented actor and his thrilling action flicks. But none of these comes easy as the actor trains hard daily to maintain proficiency at everything he does from action, dance, martial arts, fitness, singing to acting.

Tiger Shroff’s trainer, Rajendra Dhole said, “If he is not shooting, he is either lifting weights or doing kicks or his gymnastics. He basically spends 12 hours every day training for some set of skills or other like dance, kicks or weights and when on shoot if there is no gym we focus on bodyweight training and the main focus is always diet on the go!

The young actor often shows us views of his hard training in the gym on social media be it boxing, working out or doing martial arts, he is always at it. Tiger is the only actor in Bollywood to ace the space of dancing, fitness and singing, effortlessly as he works long and hard everyday to be on top of his game in all his ventures. He is currently working on action-drama films like Heropanti 2, Baaghi 4 and Ganapath. 

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SANJAY DUTT NEVER GOT HEALTH ISSUES ON THE SET: ZAHID ALI

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Mumbai : Coronavirus has not spared anyone and everyone’s life has been affected due to the deadly virus. Entire nation has suffered losses of life, business and their daily lifestyle. Covid-19 has not left even the bollywood from it’s wrath. Year 2020 was full of OTT releases and delay in theatre release of movies. Abhishek Dudhaiya directorial film Bhuj: The Pride of India is going to be a much awaited film for fans. The film features Ajay Devgn as Karnik, alongside Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Nora Fatehi, Sharad Kelkar, Ammy Virk and debutante Pranitha Subhash, Ihana Dhillon and Zahid Ali. The film’s shooting is over yet the release date has not been announced. Since the starcast is filled with renowned actors, fans have curiosity to know more about behind the scenes. Zahid Ali who is going to play antagonist in the film spoke about his experience on working on this project. Talking about the role Zahid said, “the role is very special as it has his own shades. Character is different from the roles I have played in past. Actors like Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt are joy to work with.” Talking about Sanjay Dutt’s health Zahid informed that Sanju Baba never got any health issues on the set. While shooting Sanjay used to be very calm and always used to guide other actors to perform better. “Dutt who has been a great villain in several films always helped me to get fit into my role, in fact some of dialogue deliveries has been done by him to bring the character out rightly,” he added.

The makers recently announced that it will stream directly on OTT platforms Disney and Hotstar worldwide. 

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COVID-19: ABHISHEK URGES PEOPLE TO ‘KEEP MASKS ON’ FOR SAFETY

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MUMBAI: As India has crossed grim milestone of over 2 lakh daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan urged people to follow all health protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to ensure the safety of their family, elders, friends and loved ones.

The ‹Big Bull› actor took to Instagram and posted a selfie wearing a mask, and requested people to take the most necessary precaution amid the pandemic.

In the picture, Abhishek is seen donning off white shirt and a matching muffler. He accessorised his look with a chunky pair of sunglasses and a blue face mask covering half of his face.

By giving an apt example to people, to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, the ‹Dhoom’ star wrote in the caption, “ to Please, please, PLEASE KEEP YOUR MASK ON!!! If not for yourself, think about your family, elders, friends and loved ones. #maskup #maskon.”

Celebrity followers including filmmaker Nikhil Advani and more than 37,000 fans liked the post within an hour of being posted.

Fans chimed into the comments section to praise the actor’s initiative to spread awareness among people.

One of Instagram users wrote,” Now that is the correct mask (Clapping emoticons) No the one with valves (laughing emoticon) BTS Big Bull rocks! (heart-shaped eyes emoticon).”

On the work front, Abhishek, who was last seen in the biographical drama, ‘The Big Bull’, has ‘Dasvi’ and ‘Bob Biswas’ in the pipeline. 

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I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE PROCESS: RADHIKA APTE ON HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

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Mumbai: Actress Radhika Apte has donned many hats while portraying different roles for her films and now she has taken up direction too. The actress released her directorial debut ‘The Sleepwalkers’ trailer in the lockdown at Palms Spring International Short Fest which won ‘The Best Midnight Short’ award.

Making her directorial debut with the short-film titled The Sleepwalkers, the actress in a recent interview with a leading publication shared, “I had never thought of making films. There was no such plan. I just had the urge to write because sometimes you want to create content that challenges you. Roles that come your way are not necessarily from the space that you want them to come from. I just wanted to write something that interested me. There are things that I passionately want to do. When I bounced off the story to Honey Trehan and Abhishek Chaubey, they decided to make it. I had 10 days for the prep and shoot. When I finished writing, I realised I didn’t want to act in it, but I wanted to direct it. And, I absolutely loved the process.”

Fans of the actress cannot wait to witness the magic Radhika has created, this time being behind the lens. The trailer of her short-film has been showered with lot of appreciation from the audiences.

 Her performance in the recently released OK Computer was widely appreciated and she will be next seen in ‘Mrs Undercover’ playing the role of a housewife who turns Undercover agent.

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