Parikrama performs at the MTV Stunt Mania concert in Delhi
Among Indian bands, not many enjoy the popular appeal of Parikrama. Their concerts are a lesson in crowd participation, with almost each one in the audience knowing the lyrics of “Am I dreaming” and “But it rained” from start to finish or cheering the violinist on in “Vapourize”.
Over the years, Parikrama — primarily comprising Nitin Malik (lead vocals), Sonam Sherpa (guitar), Saurabh Choudhary (guitar), Chintan Kalra (bass guitar), Subir Malik (keyboards) and Srijan Mahajan (drums) — has also been collaborating with artistes, many of them not necessarily musicians. Farhan Akhtar and Saif Ali Khan, for instance. Now, on Saturday, the band will be performing at the MTV Stunt Mania Concert at NSIC Grounds in New Delhi's Okhla Industrial Estate.
“We are a band that tries to bring in something new every time. It's quite a challenge to present a show that is accepted by the audience every time you perform it,” says Subir Malik, Parkirama's official manager and its keyboards guy.
How do Parkirama members rate themselves on their bike-savvy? “Well, Chintan is the bike guy, while Srijan and I are more into motorsports,” Subir informs.
An ICCR accreditation came Parkirama's way last year — a significant step not only from the point of view of rock being recognised as a part of the country's cultural fabric but also towards broadening Parikrama's playing field, with the inclusion of newer venues and varied audience.
“I was pretty shocked when I got the call from ICCR. I took six months to make up my mind about filling up the form and was surprised that we got full-fledged accreditation,” Subir recalls.
In March 2011, Parikrama is scheduled to perform at the Kennedy Center in USA. “It's a big honour. We're kind of like the face of India. We're the only English-speaking band performing,” Subir says. In December 2009, Parikrama performed a series of concerts in Indonesia. It was on the basis of the response to this Indonesia rockathon that the U.S. tour came up, he explains.
The band has also planned a new set for the Kennedy Center concert. “It's a little subdued. We're doing an unplugged concert. We're doing it with a more Indian feel, with a mix of rock ‘n' roll and more elements of the table,” he elaborates. “That's what makes Parikrama different from other rock bands of the world; ours is a mix of hardcore rock and Indian elements.”
Parikrama's music has always been legally downloadable, for free, with the band's thrust on the accessibility of their music. The MP3 versions of their most popular tracks are available on their official website and the band has also recently released 14 tracks on Torrent. “We've always been for the privacy of your own songs,” Subir says.
Throughout their career, their fans have been the biggest strength. “At a time, at least 10,000 people take our concerts very seriously. It's been just three to four months since we started our Facebook page and we already have 13,000 fans on it. We're very loyal to our fans. When fans write to us, at least one of us will reply personally. Our email IDs are there on the website, my mobile numbers are there. That's how fans contact us, organisers call us…,” Subir emphasises. “We've always kept ourselves accessible. Our job is towards our fans, not the critics.”