At the Pune edition of this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender, music by composer and producer Dhruv Ghanekar — his funky brand of jazz enmeshed with an array of sounds from world over — was being danced to. Suddenly, in the middle of his performance, the mood changed. A song called Revolution made an appearance. Things didn’t alter much in terms of “danceability” of the music. Horns segued into saxophones and drums, but the lyrics of the song that went Who are these men behind the mask/, selling us bulls*** in the guise of a light/ while they rob us slowly of all our rights, had the audience interested.
“The song is definitely reactionary and was created a month before the Weekender. As an artiste, with the violent discourse getting harder to digest, I felt compelled to do something. There is a lot of fear mongering around and I couldn’t keep quiet,” says Ghanekar, who has collaborated with artistes such as Zakir Hussain, Sultan Khan and Louiz Banks, among others. Best known for his 2008 album Distance, he is also the co-owner of Blue Frog in India, one-half of the band Smoke, and has written and composed over 3,000 ad jingles.
As for Revolution, Ghanekar will come out with the video of the song in January and is now working on the song’s Hindi and Tamil versions. “I have realised that this needs work from the grassroot and English won’t reach everywhere, so I am trying to do it in two other languages to reach out to more people,” says Ghanekar, who calls food bans and violence “social engineering” and outside the purview of politics. “They are indoctrinating people to think in a particular way, which I feel is dangerous. We don’t need two sets of parents. There is a major course correction which is needed,” says Ghanekar, who has used repeated choruses of three words — revolution, solution and retribution — ones that were used in opinion columns and writings around Dadri lynching. “I knew I will be performing to almost 10,000 people.
So I felt that it was important to take a stand. These three words were exemplary of that. The situation is absolutely out of hand and I feel that the liberal educated class needs to speak up,” says Ghanekar.
On the issue of protest against protest, where a slew of artistes are calling artistes returning their awards and the ones joining the discourse against the government “unpatriotic”, Ghanekar says, “Patriotism can’t be confused with the government in power. The foundation of being patriotic is that one should be able to voice one’s opinion,” says Ghanekar, who will perform the song at his upcoming gigs.