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Capital Metal: The Story of Delhi Metal Scene

  • Review by: Ishaan Kumar

As the name suggests, this is a documentary on the heavy metal scene of New Delhi, from its humble beginnings to where it shall go to. It has been shot, directed and produced almost entirely by an upcoming New Delhi resident filmmaker Mohammed Kabeer. The film has no narration but is carried forward by interviews with bands like IIIrd Sovereign, Undying Inc., Guillotine and Gates of Assault. It also features interviews with prominent Delhi metal propagators Shashwat Gupta and Anupam Roy.

In terms of content, the doc is full of insights into what drives young Delhites to take up this form of music. It also does a good job of revealing personalities behind the music-making. Any film on heavy metal could easily be accused of propaganda but with this film it is not so. The filmmaker has tried his level best to make it as unbiased as possible and its not a film where metal musicians are just glorifying metal and trashing everything else compared to it. The film discusses issues like social stigma associated with the genre, the relationship with Bollywood music and what life for a metal musician in New Delhi is like. The highly underground nature of the genre is brought to light to anyone who is not clued in to the nation’s metal scene. It also reveals what kind of prejudices haters of the genre have towards the musicians and how the musicians are actually very calm and cultured people in reality.

Now while the content itself may sound appealing, the cinematography and editing leave a lot of loopholes. To start with, the cuts are too long, whether its in the interviews or the regular clips. Since the music is so aggressive, one feels that having a long bit of footage showing a band performing is less effective that having a furious montage of banging heads and moshing pits. Some of the clips donot conform to the screen resolution and size because they are probably cellphone camera clips. Also, showing clips pertinent to the topic of discussion during an interview section immediately takes away a lot of the monotony of watching someone drone on and on about something. Another important thing is that the DVD menu could have been better designed and MUCH LESS PIXELATED.

Having said all that, the fact that this was an undergrad film project that probably wasn’t too well financed explains the use of cellphone clips. In fact if you’re looking for an underground charm then this movie is full of it because of its slightly haphazard editing. Overall, this movie does its job but in no way can it, and should it, be compared to other documentary films like ‘Global Metal’ and ‘Until the Light Takes Us’.