'It's more than just the dance'

'It's more than just the dance'

They’ve hijacked a stage, performed at all the big music festivals worldwide and can best be remembered by Indians for their groovy moves in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D in songs like Pardesi and Saali Khushi. British-Punjabis brought up in Hertfordshire, ‘The Twilight Players’, as they call themselves, have an interesting story to tell.

After all, it isn’t everyday that three brothers decide to dance for a living. Their common love began when the eldest — Gurpal Singh Phgura, who goes by the name Sinbad  — was introduced to ‘Open Hand’, a precursor to hip hop and breakdance incorporating
elements of funk and bop jazz, after which the other two followed suit. 

“The thing about this dance is that because we’ve been doing it for so long, it’s more than just the dance. It allows us to play and move to music that we love. It’s about the music as much as the movement,” says Sinbad, adding, “For the last few years, we’ve actually been treated more like a band because of the way we put ourselves forward.”

Amrik aka Ammo emphasises their love for rhythm. “These days, a lot of rhythmical moves are being lost to trick moves and gimmicks.

We stay away from that. Our dance comes from California, where back in the 70s, it was a rhythmic format. We stay true to that and that’s our discipline.”

“It’s the discipline to fall back on but the rock ‘n roll is the ska, Latin jazz and electro swing that’s throwing the disciplines away and leaving you with the raw energy on stage. The two elements — the disciple and the feel — work well. The music is cinematic and our shows are always a mad sporadic journey!” elaborates Sinbad.

The chemistry between them is tangible both on and off stage. “Jimi’s the youngest, most talented and most handsome,” jokes Ammo, to which Sinbad points out, “Ammo and I have to get noticed; Jimi doesn’t even talk but he’s the image of the trio. There are three different personalities coming together that complement each other.

When we go on stage, it’s like entering another world of ‘The Twilight Players’. It’s like a cartoon!”  Sukjeevan aka Jimi speaks little. But when he does, he chooses Dev D as the preferred topic. “It was an amazing experience. We heard the music while in
England and when Anurag contacted us, it was all quite organic.

We didn’t know what we were going to be doing and initially, we didn’t understand the music. But after listening to it some more, the byproduct was what the audience saw,” he explains.

Sinbad adds, “We knew Dev D was a game changer. We’ve also done Rohan Sippy’s ‘Love and All That Jazz’ and again, that was cutting edge. We pick things that turn us on. As artistes, we have to be in a setting that we’ve chosen with the right-minded people.”

Though the three have had many great shows, the one they recall best is the one they hijacked.

“It was a few years back in London. The stage was empty at one point and there was a massive crowd. We gave the DJ the CD, asked him to put it on and hijacked the stage!

It’s about that rock ‘n roll mindset and it was definitely a high point for us because it was a revolutionary move,” recalls Sinbad. Bangalore, for them, is still unexplored and a relatively new City compared to Mumbai or New Delhi. But, as Ammo wraps up, “we’ll be back soon enough”!

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