Art documents. Art reflects. Art shows you a mirror.
Delhi based techno artist Hashback Hashish (Ashish) releases his first music video from his recently released album ‘Danse’, a dive into the world of the uninvited male gaze. Directed by Surabhi Tandon, the video showcases the unavoidable lecherous male gaze a woman on the streets of Delhi is subjected to. But the video doesn’t end on that note.
“It’s essentially an exploration of the male gaze in Delhi. How pervasive it is. How suffocating it can be.
“It’s essentially an exploration of the male gaze in Delhi. How pervasive it is. How suffocating it can be. But it also attempts to not become terribly pessimistic, because things are changing. The second half encourages the viewer to have their own interpretation of what can be done about it. and of course, it encourages you to dance (it all out)!” says Surabhi.
Watch the video below:
While tracks with lyrics are certainly easier to visualize, electronic tracks prove to be a blank slate to work with. Surabhi says it was Ashish who said he wanted the track to be about the female experience of living in India. “He trusted me with my interpretation of it. I wanted to build something that a lot of people could relate to. Obviously, women. But also men on behalf of women. We also wanted to straddle multiple realities in our narrative, hence the loops, which are like the music (that also loops, as it adds on layers)” says Surabhi.
The track in itself is an intense, raging techno number. “I was going through some big changes in life when this track was recorded. When I arrived at the groove, I said ‘this is exactly how I feel right now.’ The theme of the video came about when Surabhi and I sat down to discuss how we could best approach it, and capture the same feeling or intensity that it was created with.” says Ashish.
A lot of what you see is simply us turning the camera on male onlookers on the street. We didn’t really have to tell people to “act” – and that’s how it works anyway doesn’t it? Uninvited.”
The video was produced in full indie style. The shoot took just 3 days while the edits took a little longer with the team being happy with the final product after multiple iterations. There were 3 DOP’s for the project, of which one also was the editor. Surabhi also doubled up as a camera person as and when it was required. The idea of the video was first charted out and then the preliminary shot-by-shot breakdown of the entire video was done with the team. “I also come from a documentary film background, so my strength lies in being able to capture real life as it unfolds in front of my camera. And that’s what we tried to do on shoot days. A lot of what you see is simply us turning the camera on male onlookers on the street. We didn’t really have to tell people to “act” – and that’s how it works anyway doesn’t it? Uninvited.” says Surabhi.
“I like how Surabhi’s style fits the track perfectly, and Puneet’s dedication towards her work is commendable.”
The video follows Puneet Jewandah (the protagonist of the video) as she traverses through the streets and widely lit public places. Recalling any anecdotes from the shoot, Surabhi tells us “She (Puneet) is the one who had to bear the brunt of the constant camera gaze, AND the hundreds of men looking at her as she walked through, danced through, acted through it with extreme professionalism and panache. For me, this entire production was a fantastic experience in engaging with a team that is able to switch seamlessly between work and play – which is what makes for the most honest kind of work . Besides that, one of my favourite parts of the video was also being able to choreograph the dance sequence. I used to be an avid dancer / dance performer in school so this felt like going back to my roots.” Ashish says that he was also present in some parts of the shoot but most of the work was taken up by the production team. “I like how Surabhi’s style fits the track perfectly, and Puneet’s dedication towards her work is commendable.” says Ashish.