Leaving Home – A Music Workshop

This is a documentary on the struggle and creation of the Indian rock band – Indian Ocean.  It was a 15 year long struggle. A band of nobodies, a band of somebodies.  Creators.

The movie is a biographical depiction of 4 lives. The narration is simple and non-dramatic.  The filmmaker clearly adores Indian Ocean and does not believe in slowly introducing the subject. It is a movie about music; it is a movie about music makers  – four guys , namely, Ashmeek, Rahul, Amit and Sushmit. These guys are your regular next door boys whose passion for music and creation of music glued them together.  Each of them has some or the other unique talent which helps the group moving forward.

While watching the movie, the audience is not beaten to death with the fact that Indian Ocean was rejected and turned down by most music recording companies. It was subtly reinforced at different junctures in the movie. Of course, there was a struggle trudging uphill for these boys. But that is not the main theme of the movie.

The movie is brilliantly divided into 4 parts. Each part depicts the contribution of one guy and his individual struggle. As the story progresses one sees how destiny brings the 4 of them together. The last one to join the band, the drummer, Amit, is actually a guitar player. He is most versatile. He plays the flute, he plays the keyboard and helps in the recording of their songs.

Of course, Ashmeek is immediately my favourite, a tabla player who is also the group’s vocalist.  Sushmit with his pointed determination towards creation of music comes across as the one who has brought this group together.  And finally the most lovable Rahul. He has been the composer and singer of one my favourite numbers – Maa Rewa.  Maa Rewa is song that simple villagers sing in the honour of the river Narmada.

This group has uniquely managed to convert simple folk songs, Kabir’s couplets and such other poetry into vibrant, moving music.  The music is their heart, the music is their mind and the music runs through their veins.  Their  respective families accept that they could not have supported them in the beginning.

The movie is mostly shot in their workshop – that’s right. The place where they create music. They sit together and just play, listen to each other, play more and stop when they feel they have found the right tune/rift.  Then they improvise on that rift. No song is passed until all four of them have given their assent. Democracy in music. The fact that they have been able to create only 30 songs over the last 19 years (approved by all of them) is evidence of the tediousness with which they work on their music. It also tells you the level of frustration they may face when not being able to hit perfection.

While we are transported into the world of music, it is impossible not to be drawn by the synergy that one can see on screen. It is only hard to imagine, that if on screen we can see so much synergy, what the level of oneness would be in reality. At the same time, there is honesty in their music and their creation. The audience is exposed to constructive criticism by one group member of another.

Unfortunately, they lost their voice last December.

On the whole, the movie leaves you jealous and aspiring and hoping to achieve the bliss that these individuals have achieved. If you love Indian Ocean, you must watch it.

3 thoughts on “Leaving Home – A Music Workshop”

    1. Hey thanks. Its very encouraging reading that my writing is not going into oblivion and someone who can relate to it is actually reading it. Be in touch.

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