Raghav Meattle is an Indie Singer-Songwriter, who recently came up with the music video of his song named ‘Bar Talk.’ The song was first released as part of his crowd-funded debut album “Songs From A Matchbox”. They released the first lyrical video on YouTube which involved the streets of Mumbai, the local trains, Marine Drive and the other nooks and corners of the city. On 11 July 2020, he and his team came up with another music video for the song, looking at it from another perspective.
The song begins with two seemingly heterosexual couples, but then it goes into introducing two gay couples. The video is more like a musical where the characters are dancing to different situations. We see the two couples as living together, doing regular chores, and being there with each other for comfort, warmth, and love. This is how the music video starts and continues with the characters; the real essence of the song is its musical form which brings out the beauty of the song and keeps the audiences involved. The song which once had the streets of Mumbai is now a total changeover in the present video which is shot in the closed parts of houses could be a challenge to its makers to deliver the best out of it. Though one cannot deny, that the selected house adds a beautiful allure to the cinematography, the light and some beautiful intimate scenes make one go ‘totally aww’ about them.
The makers’ intention is not to sensationalise the relationship shared by the two couples. Rather it is done to showcase that there is no difference in a romantic relationship that involves consent, be it between a cisgender heterosexual man and a cisgender heterosexual woman or relationship between gay, non-binary or trans persons. The emotions of warmth, love, and care are normalised like in any romantic relationship irrespective of partners’ gender or sexuality where Love is love is Love as Priya Dali quotes in her poster from the poem by Mangesh Padgaonkar. Hence when there is love, the heteronormative approach towards it cannot come in the way.
The interesting thing is how the same song can showcase diverse emotions, effects, and pictures. At one point it was effective in translating the song into the life of Metropolitan city, Mumbai, and on the other side, it shows two queer couples’ relationship and how it transcends gradually. When I spoke to some queer persons about the music video, one of them said they love the song and the aesthetics but it is limited to the upper class which gives a delineation that queer relationships exists only in urban settings. It would have been really great if the essence of the first video was still there in the present video. Though it is really brave of the makers to produce the video, the second time which relates to the lives of queer community normalising their very existence.
As a viewer and a queer person, I wish all the characters except for Sushant Divgikr from the video were queer in real. There are enough talented people and diversity within the queer community that would have made it easy to find someone apt for the music video. I assume though, that it also should be brought to focus that it didn’t shy away from depicting the queerness of the song that moves along with the lyrics.
The ending of the video where the couple faces disagreements and went their different ways; this one dance sequence between Ridhisha Balani and Franaita Jijina is really moving, and the lyrics blend with the moment of departure where there is a feeling of loss, pain and vulnerability. The directors and choreographers have done a tremendous job with the video, music, and the lyrics are beautiful, which portrays the happiest and sorrowful times and covers it all.
Update: As informed by EO2 EXP – Not just Sushant but two of the other cast members are also queer, so is the creative director and EP of the project.