Discovery goes down country road in latest documentary

MUMBAI: One normally does not associate country music with India. Yet that is the subject of Discovery's latest documentary in its Discover India series.

It involves an Indian country musician Bobby Cash, who is making waves Down Under having entered the Australian Country Music Top 10.

From performing in anonymity in Delhi's restaurants to becoming a favourite Down Under, The Indian Cowboy, One In a Billion charts his rise to fame. It airs on the channel on 26 June at 9 pm and on 27 June at 9 am.

Speaking at a media gathering yesterday Discovery Communications India marketing director Aditya A Tripathi said, "Through the Discover India series we endeavour to bring India's hidden jewels into the limelight. Bobby Cash with his immense talent is one such. By early next year we hope to expand the one hour Discover India band into two hours. By that point of time we will hopefully have built a big enough library to enable us to do so."

As far as other programmes are concerned we had success earlier this year with Who Killed Alexander The Great? Later this year we will be airing more specials on Alexander in order to coincide with the release of the movie."

Bobby Cash, along with the show's producers Colin Bromley and Gerry O' Leary were present at the screening. In fact Cash was supposed to have been at Nashville performing for the Country Music Association (CMA). He, however, postponed those plans. Cash's real name is Bal Kishore Das.

Talking about the documentary Bromley said, "In January 2002 I was In India producing the School Quiz Olympiad for ESPN. One night I heard this guy playing in the Oberoi lounge in Delhi. At first I thought that there were three guitarists. When I found out that there was just Bobby I knew that he had great potential.

"The idea of making a documentary on him

came to my mind. I decided to take him to Australia and see how he would fare at the Tamworth Music Festival in New South Wales. This event attracts 800 country and western artistes each year.

"In Australia he was offered a record deal within a week. He also found a benefactor who was willing to sponsor him. 9/11 had happened recently and I was disgusted at how the Australian authorities were preventing Indians and Afghans from entering. I wanted to use this documentary to show what Australians are really like as a people. The documentary took ten days to shoot and several months to cut."

Bobby Cash added that he could identify with country music early on as it spoke about family, respect and the importance of roots. Therefore he could relate to what the likes of Merle Haggard and George Jones sang about.

He conceded that in order for him to revitalise interest in country music in India he would also have to record songs in Hindi and other local languages. "Language is not a problem for me. I just hope that I am provided with great lyrics. In Australia I was blown away by the warmth and acceptance that was shown to me. For me to be on Discovery is an honour. The only other Indian musician to have a documentary about him appear on the channel is Pandit Ravi Shankar."

Last year Cash recorded his first album 'Cowboy At Heart'. This included duets with Australian country musicians Smokey Dawson and Tania Kernaghan. As far as the reasons why Australian country music has not travelled abroad he said that while it was doing well in the country there had been no effort to push it outside like rock bands like INXS.

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