A Mumbai Documentary Screening Will Explore The Way Sound & Music Radicalizes Masses

A Sound Democracy
A Sound DemocracyDhananjai Sinha & Harkat Studios

Sound is a powerful motivator. Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai can inspire you to make the most beautiful painting while an upbeat funk track by Fred Wesley can get all your limbs moving, even if you're not a dancer. But these examples are in the realm of peace and creation. What about sound’s role when it comes to violence and destruction?

It has always had a major role to play there instead. Even a Neanderthal primate and his kin would utter a brutish war cry as they would rush to club game to death for a meal. As time marched on, and armies began to form, they would march into battle playing war drums and trumpets to intimidate their enemies. In the present, one can see parellels during political rallies where the loudspeaker is blasted to deliver propaganda music or speeches as the cadres march on. As we can see, the nature of sound might have changed and so has the delivery system but the purpose remains the same. Sound has this incredible ability to mobilize a mob into a singular unit.

'A Sound Democracy' directed by Dhananjai Sinha plunges headfirst into the mosh pit of political movements, exploring how sound systems and DJs shape the energy and message of a crowd. The film isn't afraid to ask tough questions. How can a song intended to celebrate morph into a violent anthem? What role does the power of bass and rhythm, amplified by a massive sound system, play in turning a group of individuals into a unified, potentially destructive mob?

A Sound Democracy
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The documentary doesn't shy away from the complex relationship between sound and societal behavior. It delves into the idea of a 'mob' as a single entity, its actions dictated by the soundtrack that pulsates through the air. But it also recognizes the double-edged sword this power presents. What kind of messages are embedded within these sonic uprisings? How do they influence the fragile balance of a democratic society, particularly in the age of DJ culture, where music and politics become increasingly intertwined? A Sound Democracy promises a thought-provoking exploration of the unseen forces that can shape our world; one amplified beat at a time.

About The Director:

Dhananjai Sinha is an ethnographic filmmaker specializing in the fields of Arts, Humanities, and Technology. He started his career focusing on music ethnography and has since created films on various themes including love, citizenship, ecology, camera, and surveillance. His latest film, A Sound Democracy (2023), explores the intersections of sound, politics, and citizenship and is currently being screened nationwide. The film is produced by Conflictorium, an organization dedicated to promoting conflict resolution through artistic and cultural practices.

Watch the trailer below:

Folks in Mumbai, I’ve got good news for you. A Sound Democracy is screening in your city.

Date: June 8th, Saturday

Time: 7:30 pm

Duration: 67 mins | Hindi with English subtitles

Venue: Harkat Studio, Versova

Click here to get your tickets.

Follow Harkat Studios here.