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Rock and Rule

By Kriti Gupta | April 24, 2009

Split Magazine: Hard Rock CafeHard 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.”

Split Magazine: Rolling StoneCulture 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.


4 Comments. Post Yours Here.
  1. April 26, 2009, 2:48 am mojo rising

    wel..the change is certainly visible..though the rock fanatics are well aware n mature enough not be discouraged by the remarks of the political hypocrites..
    let there be peace n music..

  2. April 30, 2009, 1:47 am Diva D

    The nature of Rock, as culture usually appropriates it is to be subversive. The momentum of this movement in whatever strain it is witnessed in India, should not allow itself to be hindered by situations like that in B’lore. Subversion should lead to resistence. Resistence to an overthrow of foolish Dogmatic politics.

    For the Indian Rock movement or scene to become authentic as an experience it should itself feel, it must draw strength from oppostion to what tries to contain it. Music in itself becomes the most powerful medium of opposition. The the ties of ROCk to such an opposition I hardly need to stress.

    Simply, Rock the demagogy of foolish politics of pseudo-indian cutlure and its very vella promulgators…

  3. June 2, 2009, 4:31 pm Sugandh Singh

    I would not really agree with the whole discussion of Hard Rock Cafe coming to Delhi and changing scenes. If no body has heard, then i must tell that “Turquoise Cottage” has been the most genuine place for the Rock lovers in Delhi, promoting Delhi bands to play live since 97′.

    Hard Rock Cafe will be comparatively expensive and the crowd flocking to this outlet will be primarily club foot and spendthrift who are not as interested in Rock, leave Hard Rock for good.

    Yeah, Bands will get chance to perform on one more Platform.
    But again the concept of food has never been a specialty of Hard Rock Cafes, so not a big deal if you are not getting good service or enough tasty grub to eat here.

    And to these fanatics, like the Bajrang Dal Guy and other morons with absolutely no Knowledge of music, how can they comment and then motherfucking compare Rock with the “Paramount” Indian Music.
    Ha… ha… he must be a Himesh Reshammia fan.

  4. July 9, 2009, 6:37 pm kriti

    I’m glad to hear that people still consider Indian music paramount. Not being threatened by rock goes to show that with firm roots one can fly very very high! :)

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