In a country where everybody wants to be an engineer, support for the arts is meagre: limited platforms, little funding, and sporadic audience. But what started as an uphill battle for Delhi-based indie band Man.Goes Human has now taken them straight to Hollywood. Their music has been featured in the latest Netflix release Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda and Pankaj Tripathi, which premiered on April 24.
The film, directed by Sam Hargrave, was shot in India and Thailand, with Hemsworth on an ‘extraction’ mission while the band plays in the background.
Man. Goes Human is known for their alternative style of music and funky basslines. In a world of thumping Bollywood tracks and electronic acts, their music is subtle, understated and novel.
“We have been playing for more than eight years,” says Sharan Gulati, the band’s co-founder and guitarist. “There was a time when there would be only two or three people in the audience at a bar, and we would go on and play an entire set.”
Times have certainly changed.
In 2015, they won the Hindustan Times War of the Jammers that took them to Singapore, where they toured and played for a foreign audience for the first time. This inspired them to create their own international tours, and since then they have curated multi-city tours in Thailand and Vietnam, playing at different venues, including a Sofar session. “These tours help push the band’s boundaries, and help us understand how a global audience perceives our music. The audience there was phenomenal and receptive to the music,” says the band’s manager, Tejeshwar Singh.
However, nothing compares to being in Hollywood.
Earlier this year, the band received a call which they were rather sceptical of: the man on the other side said that he had heard one of their tracks and wanted to feature it in one of his upcoming projects. The entire band was invited to Bangkok for the shoot.
The opportunity seemed too good to be true; but when they sold their music to the Netflix production, the band had to accept – their music would be in a Hollywood movie.
“Everything was so perfect. From the set, to the equipment and even the food on set,” says Kaprila Keishing, the vocalist. “They made us feel like we mattered. I have never seen anyone be so respectful to artists. For us as an indie underground band from Delhi, this was huge.”
While they were shooting, they saw how much attention to detail was given to each scene. They were even approached by the director of the film, who said that he wants the world to experience such music through his film. “All we want to do is make good music, which brings out our vibe, and feels true to us,” says Sharan. “And we are thrilled that it took us to Hollywood.”
Srishti Chaudhary is a writer based in Delhi, and the author of two fiction novels published by Penguin Random House India: Once upon a Curfew and Lallan Sweets
All images provided by the band members