Interview: Roy Dipankar

Indian subcontinental metal has its own flavor. Though the seed was laid in the west, metal music has gradually metamorphosed into a monster of its own kind.

Documentaries about heavy metal have started popping up ever since the global success of Sam Dunn’s Metal: A Headbangers Journey in 2005. These films show metal in the far corners of the world. It shows us what we have in common, but also what is different. A documentary film about metal in the Indian sub-continent and its various nations, therefore, seemed like a great idea and Roy Dipankar is trying to realize it.

Much like Sam Dunn, Roy has been scouring the continent for its most extreme and fascinating bands, live shows and lifestyles. His project is now hanging by a thread because it all depends on the success of his crowdfunding. The journey Roy wants to show to the world is one that finds that field of tension between ethnographic experience, journalistic interest and simple love and curiosity about a scene that remains largely hidden from the public eye. I thought it’d be nice to learn a bit more.

E&D: Hey Roy, How are you doing?

Roy: All good. Hoping to feel better.

E&D: So tell me about Extreme Nation, how did this idea start out?

Roy: I had always felt the need to have quality documentation of a show, an interview or a music video in metal music. I am talking in terms of Indian and Asian countries. Most of the information or coverage has been scattered.

It all started at the Trendslaughter gig in Bangalore around Feb 2014. What I had in mind was a docudrama of sorts that would be part documentary, part fiction. This was the initial seed. However, as my horizons expanded from city to city, town to town, country to country – I believe there was enough of amazing already happening with real people and characters and events. Hence since late 2013 to now – Extreme Nation has developed to be quite a unique story!

 

E&D: What do you find is the big appeal of the metal scene? Why would a film about it be interesting?

Roy: Metal music is outrageous, boisterous, it defies authority, questions rules, speaks of all and most things forbidden. And the followers, fans, and talented musicians go far beyond in proving that. The film is not just about the music alone but also about the people of the subcontinent and inter-relationship. That makes an interesting premise.

E&D: You’ve been exploring the unique identity of extreme metal in the Indian subcontinent. What makes it so different to the rest of the world?

Roy: Indian subcontinental metal has its own flavor. Though the seed was laid in the West, metal music has gradually metamorphosed into a monster of its own kind. Metal music from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal through its various sub-genres, avenues and initiators carry their own story that is akin to the region. We are telling our tales through the eyes and tongue of a leviathan spawned out of your own backyard!

E&D: What can people expect from Extreme Nation?

Roy: Conflicting viewpoints, shock, mainstream bashing, our problems, our moments of joy here in South Asia and a lot of socio-political opinions. There are also fun moments and a travelogue involved.

E&D: What are some of your favorite encounters for the film? Without spoiling too much of its contents…

Roy: My visit to Sri Lanka to some really inaccessible places, and Kohima in Nagaland (far North East India). I have struggled for visas to Pakistan. And if the Wishberry campaign is successful, hopefully, I can travel to Lahore.

E&D: I’ve found that exploring is an activity that can change the way an audience sees something. Did you have any goals like that in mind and in what way has your journey changed you and your perspectives?

Roy: Exploratory travel is one of the best kinds for cognitive development and free thinking. Travel brings out the inner person and flourishes the soul with adventure in spite of risks and overwhelms you completely. Fear of the unknown and unexplored, uncharted realms entice me the most! One becomes a more inclusive person as well as sets priorities right.

E&D: Can you name some bands that will be featured in your film and that people should definitely check out as well?

Roy: To name a few – Anton Dhar from Nafarmaan (Bangladesh), Sandesh Shenoy from Cyclopean Eye Productions (India), Hassan Amin from Multinational Corporations/ Dead Bhuttos (Pakistan), Genocide Shrines, Serpent’s Athirst and Konflict from Sri Lanka.

Apart from all of them, there are also many more individuals and bands from Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ladakh, Guwahati, Shillong, Nagaland, Lahore, Dhaka and Colombo.

E&D: What future ideas and plans do you have for film projects?

Roy: I am working on the pre-production of a short film, it will be hybrid cinema with mix-media involved. This will lay the foundation for a feature film in the making. All I can say about that film now is that of “a psychedelic experience from the underbelly laced with vitriol laden social comment.

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