Artists To Watch Out For: Ganesh Talkies
Kolkata band Ganesh Talkies does melodic pop rock in rajah-rani kitsch
The Kolkata band is one of the five bands to have made it to our list.
WHO If Ganesh Talkies took its name from a once-functional central Kolkata cinema hall turned landmark, they have made it clear that it isn’t just about a quirky piece of christening, but goes right down to the stress the five-member band places on the Bollywood sound and sensibility. The two-yearold Kolkata band recently released a four-track EP, Three Tier, Non AC, independently and has been featured in another Indian indie music showpiece, Stupiditties 666. Their professed attachment to Bollywood music is directly in conflict with Indian indie music’s rebel yell — and founding ethos — against the Bolly monopoly over the music industry as well as listener consciousness.
SOUND They know what they are doing though. “No matter how much we say that we are not into Bollywood music, everybody goes through an RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Jatin Lalit phase at some point in their lives,” generalizes singer- songwriter Suyasha Sengupta, maybe somewhat contentiously. “We thought of bringing together our common love for Bollywood.” This attestation of loyalty is repeated in multiple online platforms the band uses to push their stuff. On stage, Ganesh Talkies occasionally introduces a certain Qawwali bling to the proceedings — the musicians dressed in the kind of showy-shiny zari-excess regalia that is oh-so Mughal-e-Azam. “Our music isn’t sarcasm, or even wry humour at the cost of Bollywood. It is fun but not essentially funny,” mentions drummer Arka Das. Take the track “The Fan,” based on the story of an admirer who turns obsessive about a celebrity, has a slow-tomid tempo conventional poprock beginning and it seems the entire band is struggling to remain energized about their composition, before the song picks up in the middle and Suyasha Sengupta lets her vocals rise and drop with ease. The song is interspersed with a whiny line on the keyboards, which, if one has to find a Bollywood connection, would come close to the snakecharmer’s been and the belly dance of Nagina-era movies. “Roadside Romeo” falls more in the mawaali movies category: the brave single girl standing up against a collars-up catcalling generation of guys. The track creates and disrupts multiple moods, going from an impish opening phase held together by whistles and a swinging keyboards run, a throbbing lockand-release act between the drummer and bassist Roheet Mukherjee.
BIG BREAK Ganesh Talkies got some buzz going with their track “Item Song,” resolutely their grooviest track, built on yet another
of those riveting hooks from Nabarun Bose’s keys which coalesces around a sing-along chorus and is undoubtedly the most FM-friendly (like so much of Bollywood music), on Stupiditties 666 that launched in September 2012. The band went on to win the Converse hunt for The Original band, performing in Mumbai for the first time in December 2012.
ON THE CARDS Working on their next set of songs for a fulllength album proposed for next year, Three Tier, Non AC brings the rousing hooks, rolls, grooves and strings from multiple music styles to the lab.
SPIN THIS “Pyar Ka Tohfa,” a track that is otherwise sung in English except for a few lines in Hindi, is the most tossed up fare — reggae meet metal meet progressive and a guitar solo that could even be Bollywood-styled disco on distortion [think Mithunda gone grunge in the closing stages of “Disco Dancer”].