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Cultural Machine with Sonu Nigam on streets of Juhu, Mumbai

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MUMBAI: Culture Machine after launching campaigns like The Printing Machine, a poetical satire by Kalki; Radhika Apte voicing against body shaming through You’re beautiful, or ‘The Indian’ series describing the Indian Sikhs, Muslims and Dalits voicing various social issues. This time the company has launched a social experiment titled “The Roadside Ustaad” featuring Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam as disguised old man.

The video has been released on Culture Machine’s digital channel Being Indian. The video is an experiment with Sonu Nigam as an old man singing by the road in the busy lanes of Juhu, Mumbai. The pedestrians take notice of an old man singing in melodious voice with many pausing to enjoy a few moments but are forced to continue to hurry and move on with their lives.  ‘The Roadside Ustaad’ captures mixed reactions of Mumbaikaars ranging from individuals stopping by and enjoying the old man’s singing to those who nonchalantly walk away. Inspired by the magical impact that music has on individuals, Sonu Nigam and Culture Machine sought to capture joyful moments that music has on our mechanical and monotonous lives.

Cultural machine says that this video is its attempt to make people realize that they can spare some time from busy lives and appreciate beautiful things inside. Expressing the same Cultural Machine creative director Karl Katgara said, “The whole idea behind this experiment was to inspire people to take a moment out of their busy lives and appreciate the beauty of music. To appreciate the many tiny miracles we pass every day and ignore, while we stare at our phones or lost in thought. To do this, who better than Sonu Nigam. He is one of the most sought after singers in the country, and the most recognizable voice. What was interesting to see at the time was, he created the same magic singing, just disguised as an old man, and people could not recognize him at all.

Sonu Nigam said, “I went without any expectations, totally bereft of any awkwardness for the way I was looking and what I was about to subject myself to. For the first time, I was not me, the make-up was so good and authentic,people standing so close to me, couldn't recognise me. I was carrying the harmonium that my parents bought when I was born. It was all so humbling. And from such an unfamiliar zone, I managed to procure something. Gratitude, Grace and appreciation for what we have.”

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