A man donning a monkey mask, tied to a noose, holds up a mike and sings aloud: “Oh where the money flows? Oh where the money goes?” as giant pairs of pants hang behind him. He then makes his way over to a horde of – now banned – Rs 1,000 notes and reclines against the pile to watch TV.
On the screen, a familiar wide-chested man appears to make an unusual announcement. “We have decided that the 500 and 1000 rupee notes, presently in use… will become worthless pieces of paper,” he says. Shocked, the monkey stares at the TV and then proceeds to burn away all the notes.
All his money goes up in flames as he watches from behind.
The setting of a kurta-clad monkey man ruefully singing in a dark and dingy room seems to be as absurd as the prime minister’s sudden announcement about demonetisation on November 8, two years ago.
Peter Cat Recording Co. (PCRC) – a Delhi based band – released this music video just around the final phase of the ongoing general elections. The caption of the video shared on Facebook and Instagram read: “Vote for Aam Admi Party”
No political message
However, the band’s lead singer Suryakant Sawhney aka lifafa notes that the song doesn’t intend to make a political statement. The band wanted to keep it open for the viewers to come up with their own interpretations.
“The song is quite old and has been worked on for many years actually. It is not like a song specifically made for the video. I wrote it way before demonetisation happened,” he said.
For him, the song is more philosophical rather than political. The monkey, he says, represents a man who spent years hoarding money which turned into a “worthless pieces of paper” overnight.
“The decision [demonetisation] completely changed the philosophical meaning of everything you might be doing for life. Suddenly it all became meaningless because of one guy’s decision. So, it is more of like a philosophical view towards what money really is,” he says.
Surabhi Tandon, the co-director, added that the monkey tied to a noose also refers to street performers of the early times who performed in a circle for money. The mask, she says, also gives a surrealist touch to the entire set-up and conveys the idea that “the person experiencing this has no human identity and is anonymous.”
‘Absurdity of the situation’
According to Sawhney, the music video can be read as an extension of logic versus absurdity. For him, the video was informed by the fact that the government could come up with something as “outlandish” as demonetisation in today’s time.
“I mean, it’s one of those mad decisions which might have happened a thousand years ago, like shifting the capital to Delhi,” he says.
At the end, the monkey sets the notes on fire, perhaps to burn away all the non-sense. “Thats the absurdity of the situation. There’s this guy who doesn’t know what he seems to be doing,” he says.
Sawhney wants people to watch the video, think and apply whatever they want to. For him, the song is almost like a fable.
This is not the first time the band has created something with a philosophical/ political undertone. On August 15, 2018, they released a song titled Kya Farak Padega to show how the citizens remain ignorant no matter how bad the state of affairs are.
The new video Where the money flows is part of PCRC’s new album Bismillah which is slated to release next month.
Featured image credit: YouTube screengrab