Sea of Songs

Sea of Songs

The long,delightful story of the quartet that make the band Indian Ocean.

When a documentary on the fusion band Indian Ocean released in multiplexes in 2010,there was barely a ripple. There were few reviews,fewer people in the audience and certainly no advance bookings for the

115-minute-long film titled Leaving Home. Those who missed it and are sore about it,

as they should be,are in for a treat as its DVD version,expanded to 286 minutes and suitably titled Leaving Home: The Longer Trip,is out.

Leaving Home is more about the band’s songs than anything else. And they delightfully act as a window to the lives of the band members Susmit Sen,Asheem Chakravarty,Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam. It not only tells the story of the band’s struggle and its eventual rise to fame,but also hovers over the India story — the issues that affect the country and the kind of rebellion that music seeks to and sometimes can indeed create.


The best moments of the film are,however,the seemingly ordinary bits,where you see the foursome composing songs on the verandah of a 100-year-old,dilapidated house in Karol Bagh,playing cricket and pranks,and chatting and arguing in Bangla,and when they tell you the backstory of each song — Maa Rewa was picked up by Ram when he became part of the Narmada Bachao Andolan,and Kaun is about Kilam’s connection with Kashmir. Each of the 13 segments of the film ends with the band performing one of their folksy-contemporary tunes on the verandah

It is also a typical Delhi film where the city is as much a protagonist as the band: from the noisy traffic on Delhi roads to the filmy music playing in autos,from the Capital’s architectural landmarks to four empty chairs in the verandah of their jam pad.

There is a section on Chakravarty who passed away in 2009. Indian Ocean haven’t got over the tragedy. The boys don’t cry,but the anguish resonates in their music.

The added minutes in the DVD are the band’s opinion on the music scenario in India and outside. They also feature music of other bands like Mrigya,Advaita,Silk Route,Level 9 and Agosh.

The only letdown is that it is tough to watch the entire DVD,all 286 minutes,at one go. But take your time. Take it one song at a time. Let Bandeh float in the air. It is a must-watch for music lovers.