It was while watching Martin Scorseses film The Blues that Hyderabad-based filmmaker,entrepreneur and global media broadcaster Shrenik Rao thought of making a documentary on Indian classical music. The Blues presented the history of the blues music in all its regional miscellany. So,inspired by the film,Rao decided that he should throw light on the centuries-old system of Indian classical music that comprises Carnatic classical and Hindustani classical systems.
Many people around the world think of Bollywood music as being representative of the Indian music. I thought it was important to reflect on the rich culture,tradition and system of music of India, says the 30-year-old,whose one-hour-long documentary titled Seven Notes to Infinity fittingly premiers today on the eve of World Music Day.
The film features interviews with some of Indias finest musicians and music scholars. It is a tribute to Indian classical music and tries to explore its universality through infinite compositions created from the seven notes of the scale, says Rao,who studied political communication,information communication technology and society at London School of Economics. Interestingly,his documentary Mugabes Zimbabwe,which chronicled three decades of Robert Mugabes human rights abuse in Zimbabwe and the political complexities of the nation,was screened under the Hot Picks category at the Cannes film festival this year.
Rao,who is not trained in any form of music,says he enjoys listening to all forms of music and is fascinated with the infinite possibilities that Indian classical music offers. I realised that juxtaposing it with other forms of world music would be a great idea, says Rao,about the film that draws parallels between Indian classical music and other forms such as blues,jazz,opera and Persian,Spanish and Chinese music.
Made after a 10-month research,Seven Notes to Infinity interconnects various ideas and opinions on music and narrates personal stories of prominent Indian musicians such as M Balamuralikrishna,TV Gopalakrishnan,Prince of the Royal family of Travancore and many others. Open-ended questions and conversations with the musicians,reading up various documents available on the Internet all this was part of the research, says Rao. Apart from the theatrical release,the film will also be screened in the US at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston,University of Pittsburgh,Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell University.