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Donn Bhat Releases New Short Film For “Disco Disco”

The Mumbai electro rock artist launches the video for the first single off his sophomore album ‘Passenger Revelator’

Rolling Stone India Jan 22, 2015
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Donn Bhat  | Photo Credit: Blue Frog

Donn Bhat | Photo Credit: Blue Frog

The newest addition to a fantastic list of music videos that have released in the last few months such as “Hard Boiled Wonderland” by Frame/Frame, “For What” by Nicholson or “Patience” by Skyharbor, is Mumbai electro rock artist Donn Bhat’s short film for his single “Disco Disco,” off his second album Passenger Revelator. The video revolves around the festival of Janmashtami that celebrates the birth of the Hindu god, Krishna, and the popular Maharashtrian tradition of dahi handi. Dreaded and applauded equally, the dahi handi celebrations involve a group of govindas as dahi handi participants are known taking on the backbreaking task of forming a human pyramid to break an earthen pot of yogurt, which is placed several feet above ground level.

Produced by Xina Khan and directed by Mumbai filmmaker Aakash Bhatia, the film features members of the Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak, from Jogeshwari East in Mumbai who hold the Guinness World Record for being part of the tallest ever human pyramid. Says Bhatia, “The group we filmed are locally called Upnagarcha Rajahs, which translates to Suburban Kings. These people, they’re motherfucking rockstars. They don’t see themselves the way we see them, they don’t think about their poverty. Their stories are those of perseverance, of personal victory.” Speaking about the experience, Bhatia explains that he witnessed each member of the group ”“ whether they worked in a government office or were a school student ”“ make that remarkable shift when they step into the role of a govinda. Says Bhatia, “I’m from Delhi and as an outsider, I see so much that hasn’t yet been captured in a cinematic way. More than a film, I wanted this video to be about storytelling. This is the real India.”

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Bhatia, who had been conceptualizing the video for a few months, spent some time trying to find a track that would fit the tone of his mini-documentary. A long-time fan of Bhat’s music, he contacted the artist to see if he’d be open to collaborate. Says Bhat, “When we first spoke he had a different track in mind but I suggested “Disco Disco,” which we both agreed worked better. We went back and forth and had a few versions, we wanted to establish that it was their story, even if it meant the music took a backseat. I think we managed to achieve a middle ground.” Bhat was more than willing to rework elements from “Disco Disco,” to match the length of the film. Says Bhatia, “The song is one thing, but it’s the idea behind it that makes it special. Donn is sourcing effects, sampling sounds and creating something that is different from everything else that is popular right now. I think it’s interesting the way the visuals contrast with the vibe of the track.”

The film, which was shot in August, faced several obstacles that delayed its release. Says Bhatia, “It was a passion project and just completely mindblowing. We went from having no DOP to three, no editors to two, no support to a full team working on the film. We traveled with them in trucks and as long as we were wearing Jai Jawan tshirts, we felt like rockstars too.”

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Watch the video for “Disco Disco:”

Suburban King/Top-Girl from story-tellers on Vimeo.

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