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10 Best Indian Music Videos of 2020

From eye-catching animations to slick set designs and clips shot on film, this year witnessed some striking visuals 

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10. Raghav Meattle – “City Life”

Singer-songwriter Raghav Meattle captures Mumbai of yesteryear 

When filmmaker Rajdip Ray first heard Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Raghav Meattle perform his plaintive song “City Life” on the talk show Son of Abish, he wasted no time informing the musician that he wanted to shoot a video for it. Meattle agreed and what makes the clip for “City Life” unique was that it was shot on film using a reel to give it a feel of the years gone by, which was eventually sent to Andec Filmtechnik in Berlin to be developed. In the nostalgic clip, which depicts the colors of Mumbai and captures the city of yesteryear, we see Meattle commuting around in a train, bus and taxi while also performing the song at quaint locations. – D.B. 

9. Komorebi – “Rebirth”

The animated video has been Inspired by mixed-media content from worlds like Cartoon Network and bands such as the Gorillaz 

New Delhi producer-singer Tarana Marwah aka Komorebi’s experimental and spacey track “Rebirth” has been given an animation by Improper Design’s Mehr Chatterjee and Aditya Dutta. The video features a glossy blue and pink persona mouthing the words to the song against city backdrops, mountains, space and more. Inspired by mixed-media content from worlds like Cartoon Network and bands like [British virtual outfit] Gorillaz, Komorebi wanted to construct a female warrior type character who reacts to the different environments around her, sometimes seemingly trapped in an alien world, singing and fighting back in style.  – D.B.

8. When Chai Met Toast – “When We Feel Young”

A nimble, saccharine portrayal of love and companionship

The way most independent music videos have gone due to pandemic-related restrictions, animators have been key in bringing to life artistic visions. Animation artist and director Anjali Kamat’s vision of timeless love and companionship on “When We Feel Young” mirrors the sonic intention of Kerala folk/indie band When Chai Met Toast’s arena-rock song. It highlights the extraordinary in the daily and nimbly portrays a love story, complete with references to fireflies and city living. – A.T.

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7. Lifafa – “Laash”

This music video is poetry in motion. Simple, metaphorical and oh so moving!

That Suryakant Sawhney aka Lifafa is a masterful vibe-builder is no secret. On this homespun music video, the New Delhi musician repurposes slice-of-life moments caught on presumably a phone camera over a course of time. The result of whimsical lyricism matched with heartwarming montages make for a perfect scrapbook of everyday love between a couple. This music video is poetry in motion. Simple, metaphorical and oh so moving!
– N.S.

6. That Boy Roby – “Backdrop”

In snow-white Spiti Valley, a window to escapism

Pairing with filmmaker Himanshu Khagta once again, Chandigarh band That Boy Roby’s 2018 song “Backdrop” has visuals taken from the former’s short film Pitti. In a year when we’ve all been mostly at home, the window to escapism that “Backdrop” provides of a snow-white Spiti Valley in high-definition nearly takes us there, with ambient elements included. In another light, it’s a minimalist portrait of curious lives (furry and human) in the midst of a mellifluous conversation between wind and snow.  – A.T.

5. DIVINE – “Punya Paap”

The rapper swears by faith, cheats (and beats) those who sought to bury him

The opening salvo from Mumbai hip-hop star DIVINE’s new album Punya Paap was the title track, and while the lyrics and title were something he had in mind right from the release of 2019’s Kohinoor, the video directed by Abhay Raha brings a different vision to life, only to bury it in slick ultra-slow-motion frames. With pyro, Biblical visual motifs and hooded figures, “Punya Paap” could as well be a black metal video, except in this, DIVINE swears by faith, even cheating (and beating) those who sought to end him. – A.T.

4. Shashwat Bulusu – “Sunset by the Vembanad”

The superbly produced music video was shot across Shillong, Tripura and Guwahati

When Baroda singer-songwriter Shashwat Bulusu found out that cinematographer Boyer Debbarma was documenting skate culture in India, he immediately reached out to the filmmaker to work with him. The pair narrowed in on adding visuals to Bulusu’s rustic and flowing song “Sunset by the Vembanad.” In the captivating clip, Debbarma has captured the protagonist played by Kunal Chhetri, riding his skateboard across streets, doing tricks, finding solace in a forest and more. The superbly produced music video was shot across Shillong, Tripura and Guwahati. – D.B.

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3. Prabh Deep – “Chitta” 

Prabh squares off with power, money and corruption with art in every frame

In the first single off an upcoming album, New Delhi hip-hop artist Prabh Deep scales new heights of his own alternate universe, painting a not-too-distant future with help from filmmaker Aakash Bhatia and animation ace Debjyoti Saha. In this realm, Prabh squares off with living incarnations of power, money and subservience, as he sings imposingly and plays with metaphors of addiction and escapism. Executed with the conviction seen in comic book/graphic novel pages, “Chitta” is art in every frame.  – A.T.

2. Kamakshi Khanna – “Qareeb”

Each detail and character in the stop-motion clip has been handmade using felt cloth

New Delhi-bred singer-songwriter Kamakshi Khanna’s R&B laced single “Qareeb” comes with a splendid stop-motion visual courtesy of Arsh Grewal, whom Khanna connected with over Instagram. Grewal handmade each detail and character in the clip using felt cloth, as the imagery takes you on a journey of a girl’s romantic encounters and her transformation into finally being her own person. – D.B.

1. Sanjeeta Bhattacharya – “Red”

The sultry clip sees the singer-songwriter dancing for the first time in a music video

On her extravagant single, “Red,” featuring Madagascar-based artist Niu Raza, New Delhi singer-songwriter Sanjeeta Bhattacharya gets quite experimental. While the track ties in elements such as neo-soul and hip-hop, it also retains a bit of Bhattacharya’s jazz influences. The song’s accompanying sultry clip – directed by Karan Kapoor – also sees the singer-songwriter dancing for the first time in a music video and includes Raza singing her verse as well as cameos by fellow musicians Kamakshi Khanna, Vasuda Sharma, Zoe Siddharth and more. – D.B.

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