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10 Best Indian Music Videos of 2018

The best visual translations of songs showcased sublime editing skills, narrated gripping stories and employed eye-catching animation

Nuka's “Don’t Be Afraid,” outlines the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Nuka, “Don’t Be Afraid”

Nuka aka Anushka Manchanda set a new standard for indie music videos this year with “Don’t Be Afraid,” a cinematic feast that outlines the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The highly symbolic video was conceptualised by the singer/producer herself and  filmmaker Navzar Eranee, and the synchronization of the electro-pop track to the visuals is impeccable. Embracing the elements with elegantly done nudity and unnerving eye-contact, “Don’t Be Afraid” is a little eerie, peculiar and bold–and that’s exactly what makes it so inherently powerful. -Riddhi Chakraborty

Prateek Kuhad, “Cold/Mess”

As if everyone wasn’t already in love with singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad’s broken, pleading voice, he had to go and offer the perfect adaptation of one of his most angsty songs, “Cold/Mess.” Directed by Ukranian filmmaker Dar Gai aka Daria Gaikalova with Mumbai production house Jugaad Motion Pictures, the video offers a super-intimate glimpse into the rollercoaster relationship between a guy (Jim Sarbh, the scene’s new collective crush) and a girl (Zoya Hussain) who just can’t seem to let go until they finally have to. Dar Gai, the production and cast speak in a visual language that perfectly captures one of Kuhad’s best songs yet. -Anurag Tagat

Tienas, “18th Dec”

Mumbai rapper Tienas’ fiery rhymes for his track “18th Dec” are presented in a vivacious fashion by city-based actress Krithika Iyer in the song’s music video. In the clip ”“ directed by Mumbai-based Emily Rose Weinstein ”“ Iyer is seen sporting an orange jacket and blue shorts while mouthing the track’s lyrics in a very expressive fashion. The actress performs “18th Dec” near a sea shore, in by lanes and even a jewelry shop. Towards the end of the video, we see Iyer smashing a box TV with a 2X4 while the track’s trap beats play in the background. -David Britto

That Boy Roby, “T”

Watching That Boy Roby’s “T” is like getting high with your friends and watching old Bollywood videos with current pop music synced over it. Everything is hilarious in an intoxicated state, so you laugh at the screen stupidly and feel like you’ve unraveled a secret to the universe. “T” manages to induce a healthy dose of nostalgia courtesy its hazy slo-mo edits of Zeenat Aman, Shah Rukh Khan and a particularly manic frame of Nineties-era Aamir Khan. The entire thing is set to a hypnotic blues riff and vague murmurs of lyricism and it’s basically four minutes of high-quality time-waste. -R.C.

Gutslit, “From One Ear To Another”

When you’ve got an album that’s entirely about torture techniques through the ages, an animated video does wonders for the imagination. With the case of Mumbai brutal death metallers Gutslit, their drummer and visual artist/design whiz Aaron Pinto tapped design and animation studio Improper’s Mehr Chatterjee and Aditya Dutta and clearly the brief was to be as gory as possible. The result is a seething, visceral take on noir storytelling that recalls comic book series Sin City, with a twist that comes just as Gutslit brings in a battering ram of riffs. -A.T.

Kavya Trehan, “Underscore”

Mosko frontwoman Kavya Trehan finally made her solo debut this year with “Underscore” and the accompanying music video is the perfect introduction to her individual brand of artistry. Shot in L.A. and directed by American filmmaker Shawn Thomas (who has previously worked with Divine and Raja Kumari), the clip follows the singer-songwriter in her endearing pursuit to hold on to a series of balloons that could represent her childhood or dreams. The visuals are crisp, clean with pastel tones and do a great job of complimenting Trehan’s playful personality and minimalist electronic pop. -R.C.

Avora Records, “Sunday”

Aizawl-based pop-rock band Avora Records’ accompanying music video for their new single “Sunday” is as saccharine as the song itself. In the bubbly video directed by Aizawl-bred New Delhi-based Danny Murray, the band is seen wearing loud colors and performing the track against equally bright backdrops. The quirky clip also shows the members in humorous situations such as playing jenga, blowing bubbles, sipping wine and tea, reading a book on how to copy and paste on Windows 98 and more. However, the star of the video is the cute little dog standing on two feet. If you’re looking for a fun morning watch ”“ Avora Records’ “Sunday” certainly ticks all the boxes. -D.B.

Mali, “Play”

Mumbai singer-songwriter Mali’s poignant and pleasant “Play” comes with an emotional music video that features her septuagenarian granddad, M.C. Rammohan. In the clip, shot by Mumbai-based photographer and filmmaker Krish Makhija, Mali and her grandfather are seen spending time together, laughing and smiling in their ancestral home in Kannur and performing the song together. Mali also roped in her granddad to play harmonica on the track and Rammohan is seen delivering a fine solo during the end of the video. -D.B.

Chidakasha, “Tigress”

The music video for Kochi rock band Chidakasha’s mellow debut single “Tigress” sees the band members wearing box shaped masks and searching for inspiration on their travels. They come across a contemporary dancer outside a Decathlon store and begin dancing alongside him and also ride scooters through alley ways. In the closing stages of the video (directed Sachin Rajeev and Dixon Dennis), the group finally unmask themselves and belt out the song in their rehearsal space. -D.B.

Ritviz, “Jeet”

It’s certainly tough to top a song (and music video) like “Udd Gaye,” but when you’re on a meteoric ascent like Pune desi/electronic producer Ritviz, there’s no stopping. When you’ve got the Bacardi House Party Sessions with their deep pockets to help hone your next, the result is a lovable new video that matches his signature cheery Indian classical-informed dancefloor banger. Directed by Mumbai-based Bibartan Ghosh with a concept by Rajdip Ray, “Jeet” follows three women taking a day off – they eventually wind up watching “Udd Gaye” in a cinema hall – and enjoying every bit of it. -A.T.

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