Tracing musical roots in Darjeeling


The annals might still relate an agonising story of estrangement between Darjeeling and Nepal, but it is music that has always connected them. The soulful tunes from Darjeeling have always reached where its heart was and replenished the repertoire of Nepali contemporary music.

In tune with Darjeeling, released on October 27, is a documentary on the heroes who’ve left an indelible imprint in the Nepali musical scene. The documentary (or documentation as the makers choose to call it) attempts to recapture the mellifluence of the times that were the harbingers of a modern era in Nepali music. Interestingly, it not only tells of the Western influence in the Nepali music but of the struggles that pioneered revolutionary records from bands like The Hillians, The Golden Era, Diamonds, The First Bite et cetera.

The music and the musicians indeed have left an indelible imprint and invoke nostalgia, but the documentary could have been more convincing with more footage of their feats and fortes. The documentary for the most part compensates for the lack of audio, video-footages and photographs with the lengthy litany of lectures and word of mouth magnanimities, and this rather than sketching a plausible impression, digresses as it goes on introducing lesser-known artistes with precious little recognition.

What’s also starkly missing is an ample addition of audio tracks from Darjeeling and Nepal, which could have sketched a robust premise and a more melodious background. Nevertheless, taking in view the enormous effort undertaken by the filmmakers, the idea is commendable. And the documentary though fair to middling, is a tribute to the pioneers of modern Nepali music.