Ranaghat, West Bengal-based independent artist Dhi Harmony has just released his much-awaited single Bechain along with a theatric music video, which in his own words portrays the darkest era in history, when women were chained in every aspect of life.
Bechain is a story of a woman (played by Divya Chowdhury) who faces the consequences of life pre-nineteenth century, the era of superstitions and inhumane practices like Sati (Bride Burning), Balya Vivah (Child Marriage) and widespread Polygamy. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Uma, as a child, was forced to marry a much older man. As fate has it, her husband, with whom she was never in love, passes away and she's left with the fate of the widows of the day - to be burnt alive along with her husband's corpse. By the end of the story, with the help of a sage, she reunites with her beloved.
Directed by Dhi Harmony himself, the video was shot by Tanmoy Karmakar, a long time collaborator on the artist's previous videos. The crew faced several challenges during the shoot of this music video, as depicted in the authenticity of the location choices. Karmakar, the director of photography, had the back-breaking task of shooting from ruined ceilings with century-old wooden beams.
"I think it was rather risky to manage the shots as the major parts of the ceiling were in a dilapidated condition." Dhi tells us, "And to add to it, the local residents informed us that the place was full of venomous snakes and serpents. During the shoot we even saw cast-off snake-skins between the cracks. Though it was an eerie experience, the setting was perfect, so we all made up our minds that we had to do what it took."
But there were several other hardships in the waiting.
"On our second day of shooting, while Tanmoy Da was shooting near the river bank, a broken snail-shell pierced into Divya's ankle and though she was bleeding profusely, she was determined to continue with the shoot."
However the most dangerous aspect was yet to be encountered - Leeches!
"It was really hard to get rid of those little bloodsuckers. I'm sure all of us will remember the pain for a long time!" Dhi laughs, "But looking at the final product, I'm happy that everything worked out just fine."
The combined warmth of Mayank Rathore's Sarangi and Dhi Harmony's Drum and Bass is really quite apt for this story; Chaotic when it needs to be and restrained/ambient at other times, adding that cinematic flair to the drama that unfolds. The track has been mixed and mastered by Hersh Desai, Dhi's contemporary at the True School of Music. Desai has worked with artists like Bombay Brass, Raftaar, Divine, Lisa Ray, Jonita Gandhi & Amit Trivedi to name a few, and currently works with Island City Studios.