For those about to rock...
The biggest rock icon of Bengal, Rupam Islam (frontman of Fossils), chose to make a music video on one of the biggest extra-terrestrial theorists of the world, Erich Von Daniken, and the internet can’t seem to get enough. The vernacular song titled Daniken, shot in Kolkata, was trending within 24 hours of its release. Without the conventional masala that makes for a successful music video these days — a first for independent Bengali music. Islam's John Lennon-esque music and cult-like following combined with a highly theatrical music video directed by Shamik Roy Chowdhury, Daniken is the perfect way to introduce the youth to one of the most controversial ideas of alien existence by the Swiss author.
Daniken, in his book Chariots of God, has used the Iron Pillar of Delhi as one of the examples to assert that the “absence of origin”, and the fact that it has been free of rust for over 2,000 years indicates alien technology. In his endeavor to establish an alternative explanation for the concept of the divine, Daniken has also dismissed most things believed by the Church. Naturally, he was criticised, and his theories were immediately dismissed. Daniken, however, later went on to become the co-founder of the Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association (AASRA).
MTV spoke to the man of the trending hashtag himself, and here’s what he had to say about Daniken, the man, his vision, the song and the video.
MTV: We see you as a character clearly based on the Swiss author. Before your success as a songwriter/philosopher, were you rejected as well?
Rupam: Daniken’s theory is more of a concept than the actual truth. However, it’s a truth that we want to believe. When Lennon said that let’s not have any borders, or any possessions, it was far from feasible, but it was an alternate utopia we wanted to achieve. You can’t prove Daniken’s theories, but you can’t dismiss them either. Ask a man of religion if he can prove the existence of God, and he’ll fail. Similarly, my journey as a rock musician, writing and singing in Bangla, wasn’t something people were convinced about at the beginning. But it was an alternative form that I believed in. And over the years, my following proved that there were many others who wanted to believe in it as well.
MTV: Would you say an alternative theory to the existence of god, much like Daniken’s work, is something that youth needs to be exposed to, considering all the violence going on in the name of religion?
Rupam: Yes. Even if they don’t delve deep into his theories, they should at least be open to ideas. Daniken’s work is not beyond criticism. At the same time, many of his points have been acknowledged by experts. The youth should definitely be open to discourse, so that we may never again lose a life over matters such as eating beef.
MTV: Has a music video from Bengal ever trended on Twitter before? Having started your musical journey way before social media came into existence, how much does trending on Twitter matter to you?
Rupam: As far I know, no Bangla song or a music video has ever trended on Twitter internationally before this. And, as far as trending on Twitter is concerned, it matters a lot to me because it’s an important achievement in today’s world. Also, I love Twitter.
MTV: Are we going to see you more as an actor?
Rupam: If I get such intriguing scripts, yes. But not at the cost of my music. I’ll only act if I’m also involved in the project as a musician. I have rejected many offers of acting, solely because the director asked me to perform as an actor, and not involve me as a musician.
Here's the music video that's all the rage this week:
Cover Image source: Siddhartha Chakrabartty