I first met Uday Benegal sometime in the mid-90s. The long hair was gone, there was a so-skinny-you-could-miss-it braid at the base of his neck and his band-mates and he were lounging about guitarist Jayesh Gandhi’s South Bombay (pretty sure it was still Bombay back then) home.
For one thing, I had no idea people’s homes had rooms that big, in this city (if they did, I had never been allowed in one). For another, I was a lowly producer at a radio company (it would be rich to call them a station at that point since no private FM operator had their own frequency back then) interviewing them for radio. But the thought that stuck in my head from that experience was that ‘famous people can be cool’. They showed me their new video (Sleep, a track I was super impressed by) and shot the breeze with my colleague Michel and me for a while. We got our segment, went back to the office, edited and aired it, and life went on.
Not so long afterwards, when the company was adding more voices to their on-air roster, Uday Benegal joined the ranks as a Radio Jockey. And I was his producer (by that time I was producing twelve of the fourteen shows Radio Mid-day had on air). In the nearly two years I worked with him I never saw him lose his temper, except for that one time he got a little riled up by his co-host about something she thought would be funny to say on air and he was having no part of. Could have also been the first time I watched a man get his way without raising his voice (yes I am aware that I led a sheltered life).
Uday also became the person responsible for my first ever movie set visit. The film was Dev Benegal’s Split Wide Open, they were shooting at a soundstage in Famous Studios, and the stars Laila Rouass and Rahul Bose were both in attendance that day. (I only ever visited one other film set before I spent four months documenting the Behind The Scenes goings-on of Anjaana Anjaani this past year).
So when Mr. B moved to the US we lost touch and it was only through a chance encounter at Ray’s Pizza in Bandra that I found out that he was back in India. We became ‘friends’ on Facebook and I became marginally aware of his musical journeying through the altered landscape of live music in India.
When I found out that Indus Creed was re-forming (40% brand new, I suppose) it made perfect sense for us to try and document the process. I am a huge fan of how-it-all-came-together stories and I am also a new convert to the joys of the ‘cool’ documentary. Classics like Scratch, Style Wars, Just For Kicks and even newer wonders like Helvetica and Objectified have intensified my interest in fact-based storytelling. So I asked Uday if I could come hang with the band as they did their thing, or found their groove, or whatever, and he said yes. (Remember? I said he was cool about stuff.)
I caught them at rehearsal at The Jam Room in Bandra, which is when I first heard some of the new music (I have developed an early affinity for The Money) and met the new guys in the band. We hung out at sound check as well and then finally caught that first gig at the Hard Rock Café on October 7th. The crowd had the older, greyer, die-hards in attendance but there were also younger people – people who couldn’t have been old enough to listen to IC’s last album fresh off the presses when it came out in 1995. And to watch the fivesome on stage, you’d think the band had never been away. Or that this had always been the unit that played together.
Our video documentary went online three days ago but was linked on Facebook to Uday Benegal and Indus Creed’s page on November 1st, at around 10:55 am. In less than forty-eight hours the video has been played close to 1500 times (which is a major commitment for a five-plus minute video that features neither nudity nor cuddly animals) and been picked up by music websites, as well as other individuals on FB. Making it the most-watched of the twenty clips I’ve put online in little under a year.
Indus Creed is back. And whether their fans and music lovers realized it or not, it appears that they were missed. I’m glad our video gets to be part of the canon in this new chapter in the band’s history.
If you haven’t watched it yet, our short documentary about Indus Creed’s return is embedded in this post.
[ For information and gig dates visit the band’s official website ]