Musical Thoughts: How India’s Fabulous Four SANAM kept the Independent music scene alive

The Hindi independent music scene (also called indie music) has changed dramatically over the years. While many people think that Hindi music is dominated entirely by Bollywood, this is most certainly not the case. During the 1990’s a lot of Hindi artists, had created and worked on their own music albums and songs, which were not tied in any way to a Bollywood film soundtrack. Popular artists such as Alisha Chinoi (Made in India), Baba Sehgal, Silk Route helped to form the indie music scene, which essentially allowed artists to showcase their creativeness at their full potential.

There were many peaks in the indie music scene, and it even attracted well known Bollywood music composers such as Adnan Sami (Tera Chehra) and Himesh Reshammiya (Aap Kaa Surroor), who both saw immense success with their private albums, yet after this time, the scene began to sadly decline, as Bollywood music became stronger. However, thanks to platforms such as YouTube, India welcomed their most prominent band who are often known as ‘fabulous four’ SANAM, who essentially revived and strengthened the dying indie music scene.

SANAM are a four member band comprising of lead singer Sanam Puri, lead guitarist Samar Puri, drummer Keshav Dhanraj and bass guitarist Venky S. They are multi-instrumentalists, and through their YouTube channel, have consistently revived the indie music scene through their renditions of retro classic hits and original compositions. The band have recently achieved 3 million subscribers at YouTube, and this is an amazing feat considering the main fact that the band are not signed by any big Bollywood music label, but are simply working hard to release great content for their fans and music lovers alike.

When it comes to the SANAM renditions, the band have not restricted themselves with only Hindi songs, but have even branched out to regional songs, for example, the popular Mexican/Spanish folk song La Bamba and a rendition of Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One. This once again, shows the freedom independent music gives to artists. There have also been numerous collaborations between the band and other upcoming singers, which show they have created room for everybody. These collaborations not only gave an identity to these artists, but made them realise that they too can project their own identity on this platform without Bollywood restricting them in any way.

What I love the most about all SANAM releases are the high quality, audio visual package they are, which in turn, make it a visual treat for their fans and music lovers to enjoy. This also improves the overall quality of indie music. Even though Bollywood itself has entered the trend of recreating songs, it is definitely SANAM renditions, that gain the most popularity, as they keep the original essence of the song plus the melody, intact. The way YouTube works to help such independent artists grow is through algorithms based on listeners reactions, which in turn aids the organic growth of the artists channel.

The band’s lead singer Sanam Puri did some playback singing in Bollywood, but is much more passionate about creating music with his band as it has a much further audience reach and there is a lot more creative freedom in independent music. SANAM have inspired many such independent artists, have revived the dying industry, and shown them that they too can create good music without relying on Bollywood.

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