Every time I watch this video, I burst into tears. At first, I tried to hold it all back. I contorted my face into ugly shapes, and gulped down air, didn't blink my eyes, so the water would run back inside my head, instead of stream down my cheeks, but it was of no use. Oddly, my family and friends around me, completely understood, and just kept whispering, "of course she's crying, look at what they produced." I don't know why I've never felt that wave of satisfaction before, in any of my work. I don't know why, all I can ever think, when I hear my music, or I watch my films, or I see a photograph of something I've done, I don't know why all I can ever see is what's wrong. I just want to feel something I've made, the way I felt Talvin Singh’s ‘Anokha’. When I was just a teenager knelt down in my mother's tiny flat, after my parents vicious divorce. Still had braces on, and my first boyfriend’s name was Ben, but after that, it was Shantanu. I wanted to feel something I'd made, the way I felt the first time I saw Akram Khan perform at the Joyce Theatre, where I could hear the dancers breath in between moments of their perfectly synced stomping feet. I wanted to feel something, the way I felt when I first saw a live performance of Bjork at Glastonbury in 2007, jumping and flying all over the stage in a frenzy of abandon.
I don't know if I've ever been convinced that I'm good enough. But, I know that as a child, facing the tidal of disapproval and a completely unpaved road of penniless toil and trouble, that I would die trying. And, so I will.
How does this relate to "Rise Up and Run"? I just have to tell you.
For me, after watching the final edit of this video today, I felt something. It hit me like hot thunderbolts in my gut, my blood started racing and every hair on my arms stood up. It hit me, and at once, I felt more alive than I've ever felt in a long time. I cannot tell you why. I can only try to explain what it took to make this video.
I knew this song was good. I owe a lot of that to the genius producer who is Engine Earz I also owe it to the way that he allows me to be an uncensored version of myself, and pushes me to strip off the layers. There is an orchestra in his mind, and he is an experimenter; a hyper-empath who can tune into my off-the-wall thought processes.
But, I knew I needed to explore the parts of me that are of equal importance in my creative quest. I knew I wanted to dance. I knew I wanted that lyric to be in movement.
Then came Reshma (Gajjar) and Nilaya (Sabnis). Beyond being two of the most beautiful, soul-hungry, hilarious, hot, sexy, strong, powerful, loving, sensitive people I have ever met, they are also Indian women, who stood against all odds and became successful dancers in a world where NO other Indian women had dared to conquer. I wanted that energy for this video, and thank my lucky stars, they were willing to jump off a cliff with me.
Then came Sachin Pillai, who selflessly offers his steady hands, his beautiful grasp of light and shadow, and his loyal love for this artistic community. Then came Vikram Nath Gupta, who didn't need to pay out of his own pockets for odds and ends, bribe, charm, and coerce landowners to let us shoot on their property and ultimately, and quite literally be the best human being/friend/producer I'd ever had the opportunity to work with. They don't make them like him. Honestly.
Then came Manoj Jadav, who I met years ago, and actually got the wrong idea about, because I didn't land in a favourable light in his world, as I had called him to shoot for a Bollywood magazine. This man is so pure of intention. He creates art for art's sake. He is a seeker, a worshipper, a light worker, a visionary in a sea of opportunistic fluff, he meditatively sits in the chaos, digging a safe, filtered space, where only those who are excruciatingly devotional to the process of creation, will get a chance to melt his protective exoskeleton. I think this team did melt it.
Then came Elton Fernandez, who is one of the highest paid, most sought after makeup artists in the country, and a best friend and brethren of mine of highest order. He shivered, and muddied all his cosmetics, wrapping our open wounds in a torrential downpour, taping the souls of our feet, and keeping all the spot boys at bay while we took pisses behind giant umbrellas in our unforgiving costumes in the middle of an arid landscape with no shelter during what felt like a hurricane. He bleached our eyebrows, sang us Lady Gaga, wrapped us in towels in between shots, made up chants to keep our spirits high, poked green and purple lenses into our eyes, and held my hair back while I threw up after a wad of blue coloured rang smashed into my mouth after I had completely submerged myself into a freezing lake, and had no more tolerance left in my body.
Then came Indrakshi Pattanaik and Lovedeep Gulyani, who came on board last minute and in a frantic do-or-die moment. They sewed until their fingers fell off without a wink of sleep in two days, in a hotel room with loos that had condom wrappers hidden between the mattress boards, and if you touched a faucet in the loo it would fall off in your hands. They tucked back in our buttcheeks as we danced on rocks, broken glass, and cow shit... and couldn't feel whether or not we were indecently exposed. They ran around cutting ropes, attaching lace, and weaving a fantasy.
This was real life. This was the behind the scenes.
That we huddled in showers scrubbing off the mud and the blood and the tears.
That no one was paid to give it more than their all, but they did it anyway.
Maybe that is why I felt something.
For the first time in my life.
PS: Let it be known, that I bow my head in gratitude for the helping hands that were Red Bull, and Tej Brar of the OML family. Without your conducting forces, none of this would have been possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
'Rise Up And Run' was released by fans who unlocked the videos by tweeting with #RiseUpAndRun. Check here.