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Phir Se Samm Pe Aana (Returning to the First Beat)

Year: 2017
Language: English
Duration: 85 Mins

The metropolitan transformation of Bombay in the nineteenth and twentieth century kept time with changes in the practice and pedagogy of Hindustani classical music in the city. With the decline of princely states’ traditional patronage systems, musicians, among others, began to gravitate to the rapidly growing colonial city of Bombay, in search of new sponsors. This led, in turn, to the formation of a distinctive audience for Hindustani sangeet in the city – one not limited to the princely courts and exclusive homes of the aristocracy.

Phir se samm pe aana strives to experience the space for Hindustani classical music in Bombay. The film revisits the sites clustered in and around Girgaon, which was part of the native town of the colonial city and was one of the key neighborhoods where singers, patrons, and the audiences lived. The film seeks to understand the musical legacy of this neighborhood, even as it reimagines the documentary mode. This film ‘listens’ to architectural structures in an attempt to reflect on the deep history of this practice. In narrativising the love of music that took shape in this neighborhood, we also seek to experience ‘film time’ rather than evoke a time past or record the present. The film seeks repetition and cyclical time to imagine a narrative on music. Phir se…is an opportunity to experience an interior, almost intimate practice of the musical form.

This film emerged from a collaborative research project of Surabhi Sharma and Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, aimed at understanding Hindustani classical music as part of the intangible urban history of the metropolis of Bombay/Mumbai.

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