Bandish Bandits - An audiophile series

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Fellow audiophiles and music lovers, finally there‘s a non-reality Indian TV show that you can call yours! A drama series dedicated to music, musicians and the culture of music. A story that pits two musical worlds opposite each other, just as it puts two artists from these two worlds in love with each other. But that’s not all, there’s more.

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We are talking of the latest Amazon Original series ‘Bandish Bandits’. Based in Jodhpur, it‘s about Radhe - the young scion of a famous Indian classical musical gharana who wants to grow in the footsteps of his illustrious grandfather, the Sangeet Samrat played by Naseeruddin Shah (ah! now I‘ve got your attention). And then there’s this pop artist-performer girl Tamanna - and you know, opposites attract. Opposite both in personal and musical temperament, their roads cross. But worry not, this is not so much about the romance as it is about Radhe’s and Tamanna’s self-discovery as musicians and above all, about the musical traditions themselves. I don’t want to get into more details on the plot, but it is entertaining as well as substantial.

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Now let’s get to the interesting part! The music! The music played in this series is top-drawer! Both the Indian classical (more of it) and the Pop. You’d expect that when you hear the music directors are Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy - the dedicated trio who have given legendary scores to films on music like Rock On and Katyar Karjat Ghusli before.

The artists on both sides are top bracket. While you have Mame Khan, Pt Ajoy Chakraborty and Shankar Mahadevan on one side, you have Javed Ali, Jonita Gandhi and Armaan Malik oon the other! Expect nothing less than audio-nirvana. Like the performance by Naseer’s character, ‘Garaj garaj’ sung by Pt. Chakraborty at the end of the first episode can give you goosebumps. I imagine even the OST of this series might do really well.

The recordings are also top notch and do surely listen through your stereo system or HT While you watch. With the picturesque city of Jodhpur in the background, with its havelis, forts, temples and bazaars, (with indoor shooting done on studio sets) this is an audio-visual extravaganza too. But tasteful. Very tasteful.

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There are some very senior and powerful artists apart from Naseer - Atul Kulkarni, Sheeba Chadda, Rajesh Tailang, et al. And the two young musicians played by Ritwik Bhowmik and Shreya Chaudhary, though novices, fit the characters aptly. Director Anand Tiwari and team have done a good job of balancing between the art and the drama. And that to me, will be the success factor for this series.

It’s a TV series that every member here should attempt watching... and with family if possible. There are stray profanities though, which I wish weren’t there. But even if you are a purist, there’s enough in it to hold your interest and gratify. As for youngsters, those with some musical interest will get hooked. I just finished watching the first two episodes and had to write this. Eager to get back to the remaining eight in this first season. You make some time from your WFH and start the binge.

And do post your own opinion and review of the show in the comments below.

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Barun7

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Listened to the entire album today. Even by the modest quality of Gaana Plus account, it was awesome! Everyone has done justice - the composers, singers and instrumentalists. And the recording is also brilliant. Can't wait to listen to a better quality source!
Thanks @SachinChavan for the reference!
 
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I binge-watched all the episodes. Can confidently say it more than lived upto my expectations after the first two episodes when I wrote the post.
 

MaSh

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I think I must have seen some of the episodes more that 5 times now. Awesome music and I am seriously considering exploring more of Indian Classical music. One of the finest Indian series available. I would say, one thing Corona has done is, brought out the Best in small time artists, massively improved the quality of Indian short series, etc.

MaSh
 

sandeeprawat

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Thanks to @SachinChavan ji for my newly found fondness for Indian classical. He shared this radio thread for classical which I just wanted to give it a try and truly enjoyed. Release of this series couldn't have been timed better. Perfect time to cash-in my interest in Indian classical. I binge watched Something after a very long time.
Not really sure if it is truly classical or probably bollywood fusioned indian classical but I totally loved it. My favourite playlists on Tidal/Spotify have changed from Acoustic to Classical and I hope it stays that way. This is the real music to my ears.
 
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Thanks to @SachinChavan ji for my newly found fondness for Indian classical. He shared this radio thread for classical which I just wanted to give it a try and truly enjoyed. Release of this series couldn't have been timed better. Perfect time to cash-in my interest in Indian classical. I binge watched Something after a very long time.
Not really sure if it is truly classical or probably bollywood fusioned indian classical but I totally loved it. My favourite playlists on Tidal/Spotify have changed from Acoustic to Classical and I hope it stays that way. This is the real music to my ears.

Thanks @sandeeprawat. Indian classical music can be highly rewarding and grows on you slowly but surely as a lifelong passion. I have experienced this particularly with two genres - Indian classical and Jazz. Many feel the same about Western classical too.

I’d say the classical performances (every single song they played sitting down) in the series are purely classical/semi-classical. Only the songs recorded by the Bandish Bandit band are fusion of Pop and Classical. Yes, the artists who sang the classical are, with the exception of Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty (first episode ‘Garaj Garaj’), not established classical legends. You have Shankar Mahadevan, who sings various genres, but has a strong classical base and sings unadulterated classical when the situation demands. Here as well as in Katyar Kaljat Ghusli’ (a recent Marathi film and album I would recommend everyone who liked BB to also watch/listen to), he has sung some classical bandishes (like my favourite ‘Viraha’) very capably. The last jugalbandi is sung by a young upcoming classical singers from Delhi Gharana - Farid Hassan and Mohammad Iman.
 
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shankarcams

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Saw the first episode and entirely agree with the first post. Outstanding music and good story as well. Look forward to watching the rest of the series.
 

sud98

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I suppose the term YMMV makes sense after seeing this thread.
I found this serial disappointing in so many levels, from a story line, acting and more importantly the songs.
It seemed like a nicely packaged serial with great visuals but other parts were really poor.
 
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I suppose the term YMMV makes sense after seeing this thread.
I found this serial disappointing in so many levels, from a story line, acting and more importantly the songs.
It seemed like a nicely packaged serial with great visuals but other parts were really poor.

Always good to get a contrarian view. Could you please point to any Indian series on Prime/Netflix which met your satisfaction as that might help understand and learn by contrast.
 

Sushant Sharma

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Hi,
I watched 2 episodes and found it a little underwhelming. The visual are very stylized and beautiful and the setting of Jodhpur was fantastic though. To each his own and maybe I missed the finer nuances.
On your writing about Basu Chatterji, I watched Chitchor and Choti si baat and loved them both very much. Watched the movie Angoor and Khatta Meetha and thought they were great aswell. I cant believe I had missed watching them all so far.

Recently I watched the series, Pataal Lok on netflix and I was hooked (not making a direct comparison to the series being discussed as they are very different).
Appreciate your suggestions @SachinChavan. Just sharing my take on things.
 
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Hi,
I watched 2 episodes and found it a little underwhelming. The visual are very stylized and beautiful and the setting of Jodhpur was fantastic though. To each his own and maybe I missed the finer nuances.
On your writing about Basu Chatterji, I watched Chitchor and Choti si baat and loved them both very much. Watched the movie Angoor and Khatta Meetha and thought they were great aswell. I cant believe I had missed watching them all so far.

Recently I watched the series, Pataal Lok on netflix and I was hooked (not making a direct comparison to the series being discussed as they are very different).
Appreciate your suggestions @SachinChavan. Just sharing my take on things.

Appreciate your view, Sushant. Prime/Netflix series (at least the Indian) have excessive styling/packaging and are not comparable in substance and sensibility with say parallel cinema or British series. However the series stood out for most in the context of online Hindi TV series. Try watching a couple of more episodes because some of my friends reported getting involved as the story developed more strands and the intensity of the lead characters’ identity seeking went deeper. I see the series’ best value being in attracting and introducing newer generation to the world of Indian classical music.

Glad you liked Basuda’s movies. If you like that kind of handling, suggest you explore Bengali films - many are available with subtitles on the streaming platforms. And suggest the HoiChoi app for anyone particularly keen on Bengali films.

I saw the trailer of Paatal Lok, but it’d take me some pushing to get into the genre. I can watch a dark film, but a dark series I fear might get too depressing. But shall keep the suggestion in mind. Thanks.
 

Sushant Sharma

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Thanks Sachin. Will watch a couple more episodes and may be I stopped too early and made an opinion. thanks for the suggestion of Bengali Movies and I know there is a lot of great stuff there that I am not familiar with yet. I hear what you mean with regard to the slightly dark and depressing feel.
I do appreciate that content/movies I have quoted are established great films anyways (thanks to you guys talking about them that I ventured) but the honesty and sincerity with which things are portrayed, just grabs you and pulls you in.
 
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