Rock and Rule
Hard Rock Café image courtesy HardRock.com
Hard Rock Café is opening a new outlet in Delhi next month. Rolling Stone Magazine was recently launched in Delhi. There are several record labels mushrooming in the capital that provide opportunities to rock musicians. Rock music fans are aplenty and they attract sponsors who are now spending money in this industry.
The rock music boom seems to have hit Delhi — and music fans are rejoicing. “Indian rock music is improving in quality by the day. But Delhi is still not hosting enough performances. There should be more gigs. [The] coming of Rolling Stone, opening of Hard Rock Café, etc. will throw open doors for musicians. This development most definitely excites me,” said Krittika Singh, a psychology student from Delhi University and an authentic rock lover.
Ten years ago, there were very few venues for rock music fans in the country, and the audience was limited to a small elite niche. However, with growing accessibility and awareness, today the scene is very different. Nitin Malik, lead singer of Parikrama, explains how it is all about the business of music. This is a factor responsible for the increased growth in this industry. “Back in 1991 when we started, the gigs were few and far between. Today, we spend our days touring all over the country. There is an audience and the popularity is increasing day by day, there is a lot of money. It is a huge pie and everyone wants a piece of it.”
This is evident with big players entering the Indian market. Rolling Stone manager Sanjay Seth explains: “We discovered that lots of Indians were hooked on to the Rolling Stone international web site. So, we thought, why not start it in India anyway. We serve the people who are into music. And they are responding very well.”
There is a lot of money. It is a huge pie and everyone wants a piece of it.
Similarly, Hard Rock Café saw a good response as music lovers flocked to the café despite the times of recession. Says general manager, Amandeep Singh, “A new Hard Rock opens in Delhi next month, while another has been planned for Hyderabad later in the year. Delhi is a potential market because of the popularity of rock bands. Young people feel like they can relate to this culture. They believe that no one understands them and that this makes them unique. Hard Rock brings out their culture.”
Culture becomes an important question here. According to Prakash Sharma, youth wing leader of Bajrang Dal, it leads to corruption of the young as they indulge in the 3 Ds — Drugs, Dance and Daru (alcohol). “This music is polluting our society, it must be controlled. Indian music should be held paramount,” he said.
This sort of thinking may be bad news for rock enthusiasts. Today, due to conservative governments in certain cities (such as Bangalore), many movements in mainstream music have stopped completely. Rock music has become an underground phenomenon. The youth who cannot be understood are fighting for their rights through subversion. Tanvi Srivastava, a student in Bangalore, contends, “Rock [music] seems to be dying in Bangalore, it is sad. The love for the music is strong, but no one is allowed to express it. While rock grows stronger in the country, anti-rock is also gaining momentum, though this is only for political games.”
Delhi seems to be spared from this stereotyping. Delhi and Bombay have witnessed record growth in the music industry according to Rolling Stone India. Rock music lover Krittika Singh says that there is no set Indian culture. “Our strength lies in diversity. So rock music becomes a part of that diversity.” Adds Sanjay Seth, “The British government couldn’t shake our foundations after 100 years of rule. Indian culture is very strong and rock music cannot be a threat to it.”
Thus, despite growing fundamentalism in politics, the masses welcome the new music. Srivastava remarks that music is a universal language and should be separated from politics. For cities where political agenda does not interfere, the rock music industry is growing in leaps.
The stage is set. The youth in angst, the music lover, the composers are audiences — ready and waiting. They are bringing in money and sponsors. The rock musician can finally sing to his own tune.