Illustration of a panda walking through a forest in the rain.
© Lost Stories

Check out India’s best indie illustrated music videos of 2020

We list out the best animated and illustrated music videos by Indian independent musicians to have given people a reason to smile in the past year.
Written by Amit Gurbaxani
4 min readPublished on
The restriction on public gatherings and the enforcement of social distancing measures for much of 2020 meant that India’s musicians who wanted to make music videos had to get inventive.
They could use their phone cameras and film themselves and make do with a playthrough, or they could outsource the job and make an animated music video.
Thankfully, a lot of Indian independent acts chose the second option and consequently, they helped show the wide range of artistic talent in the country.
Here’s our picks of the best illustrated and animated Indian indie music videos of 2020, many of which play like mini movie versions of comic books and graphic novels themselves, or are quite simply as pretty as a painting.

‘Noor’ by Lost Stories featuring Akanksha Bhandari and Zaeden

  • Illustration: Amar Chaurasia
  • Animation: Amar Chaurasia and Anubhav Kesarwani
  • Key art: BlackCab
EDM duo Lost Stories’s romantic Hinjabi electro-pop bop ‘Noor’ is already a happiness-inducing tune. Its smile quotient is multiplied by the ink brush painting-inspired music video, which stars a dancing panda who boogies past Mumbai, and travels through sand, snow and rain to reach his beloved. “We added different scenarios to show how he struggled but never stopped and kept chasing his dream,” says illustrator and animator Amar Chaurasia who clearly succeeded in his effort to create a music video that was “minimal yet detailed”.

‘Katyuchuk My Love’ by Pragnya Wakhlu

  • Direction: Daksh Jain
  • Animation: Aditya Verma
  • Illustrator: Anubhav Kukreti
Singer-songwriter Pragnya Wakhlu’s Kashmiri-English ballad ‘Katyuchuk My Love’ is about the sixteenth-century love story of poetess Habba Khatoon and ruler Yusuf Shah Chuk, which is described as a “tale of longing, patience, love, misfortune, mysticism” by director Daksh Jain. “All these sentiments were actually felt by my team while we visual-scripted the song,” says Jain who used paper-cut animation to depict the legend. Even without any knowledge of the background, you’ll appreciate the fine details of his music video. From the variously hued landscape to the intricate embroidery shown on the tablecloths, it has all the richness and delicacy of a picture book.

‘Roothey Hue’ by Siddhant Mishra

A twist on the split-screen music video, ‘Roothey Hue’ takes us into the lives of two people separated by circumstance through a series of beautifully-rendered and coloured-line drawings. Released in August when many people across the county had spent months away from loved ones, singer-songwriter Siddhant Mishra’s hopeful acoustic guitar ballad was like a salve for desolate souls and the music video accurately depicted their experiences. As a result, director Vincent King and illustrator Aradhana Kosuri achieved what few videos can: it took a seemingly simple song and made the listener/viewer even more emotionally invested in the tune.

‘My Other Side’ by Taba Chake

  • Direction and animation: Lazyom
Lazyom aka Hariom Verma is fast becoming the Indian independent musician’s go-to illustrator. This year, he was behind music videos for pop vocalist Chhavi Sodhani, singer-songwriter Manas Jha and rapper Yashraj. But his first for 2020, for Taba Chake’s “My Other Side” has remained in our memory most. The song speaks of the isolation all of us felt this year, and Lazyom’s gloomy images, in which he “mirrored less-happy days”, are a perfect match. From his Instagram feed, we can tell Lazyom is a cat person. That’s exactly why he decided to make the protagonist a literal cat person. Surprisingly, that only adds to the sense of melancholy.

‘When We Feel Young’ by When Chai Met Toast

We found it hard to pick between Chennai pop-rock band When Chai Met Toast’s music videos for ‘When We Feel Young’ and ‘Ocean Tide’, and one of the main reasons we chose the former is its atypical protagonists – a middle-aged couple, presumably 59, as mentioned in the track’s lyrics. The video takes us back and forth between the past and present of the partners’ lives and its tiny things like the photos and magnets we see on their fridge or the shot of them relaxing on their balcony after playing a game of Scrabble that make it a goosebump-inducing watch.