The Stories Behind the Swarathma Album Artwork

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Photo-essay on photographing graffiti-art, an 'arty' interview between the persistent correspondent 'Vivacious Vasu' and the elusive 'Designer Dixit' followed by an insight into the man behind the lyrics

Photo Essay: Making Interesting Images for Each Song

In our early days, Pavan was Swarathma’s intrepid percussionist. Armed with a bewildering array of quirky percussion instruments he lent a folksy earthiness to the sound. Also a lens-man, Pavan’s photographs spoke louder than his words. Here are excepts from Pavan's experience of shooting for Swarathma’s album inlay.

Pavan felt doubly excited about this project. One, because it was his band’s maiden album. Two, because it was his responsibility to shoot pictures for it. This was the culmination of both his passions, Photography and Music!

It was a great experience, shooting hundreds of pictures where each had its own story. 13 photos were shortlisted for the album - and here is a colourful context to each.

Page 2: ‘The Horse”

Shot on: 6th November 2008

Location: In and around Mysore palace

Camera: Nikon D70

'Ghodi's Story: the band's mascot, shot from the graffiti-work on a tonga (one-horse carriage) at Mysore Palace after much hunting around the city that included a trip to the old tonga stand at Agrahara.

Page 3: 'Auto'

Shot On: 10th Nov 2008

Location: Mandi Mohalla, Mysore

Camera: Nikon D70

Shot taken on Pavan and Vasu's random wandering around town with no destination in mind. Graffiti found on the wall of an automobile shop - this, in its textured essence became the accompanying art-work for 'Jana Kahan Hai Muje' - a song about our many journeys.

Page 6: 'Sathya Harishchandra'

Shot on: 5th November 2008

Location: Sayyaji Rao Road, Mysore

Camera: Nikon D70

Mobile temple-on-wheels, decorated with mythological characters and scenes are frequented by people for brief salvation. Shot in front of Mysore's famous Krishna Rajendra Hospital (a govt. hospital thronged by many patients from villages across the state), this curious-cart is visited by many for whom prayers are a form of healing. A hopeless scene of desolation - this became the art-work for 'Patte Sare', a song that laments the lack of belonging.

Page 2: ‘A Beautiful World’

Shot on: 10th November 2008

Location: Regulated Market Circe, Lorry Stand, Mysore

Camera: Nikon D70

Graffiti on a truck - a simple depiction of the idyllic life of clam and nature's bounty. Ideal art-work for 'Ee Bhoomi' - our song of hope for a beautiful future of this planet.

Page 10: 'Demon Face'

Shot on: 7th November 2008

Location: Pandavapura Taluk, Mysore

Camera: Nikon D70

Pavan went searching for graffiti on bullock-carts around Mysore - eventually coming across one on which rode two kids. Pavan photographed the cart to much-delight of the kids - who didn't really understand what a music album was. They lead Pavan to the only artist in Pandavapura who painted on carts and trucks. The artist's studio had this massive demon-poster standing guard at the entrance. It was intimidating and unmissable - and later became the art-work for 'Bolo Kya Hai' which is a brooding song about complex dichotomies.

Page 14: 'Angel in a Sari'

Shot on: 5th November 2008

Location: Mysore Palace Area

Camera: Nikon D70

Wandering around Mysore Place, Pavan continued his hunt for interesting images on tongas. Sadly, there was little of it to be found - as tonga-wallahs told him about how their colleagues were swapping these anachronistic vehicles for the nifty autos. The nostalgia of experience the thrill of the clip clop of hooves down a village street would disappear with time. Later, as chance would have it, Pavan spotted these rustic drawings of everyday angles. Here she is, in her mustard-yellow sari, afloat against a robin-blue sky, flanked by her celestially yet feathery wings. She is a creation inspired by the routine of our middle-class lives.

Art-work became a heart-felt thank-you note for everyone who made Swarathma's maiden album possible.

Vasu Speaks to Dixit: The Swarathma Album Inlay Design Story

In an exclusive telephonic interview, our correspondent Vivacious Vasu catches up with Designer Dixit to get a hang of what went behind the much talked about CD inlay design of Swarathma’s début album. The kitschy Indian motifs inspired from the ubiquitous lorries, brightly painted walls among other things have caught the attention of aficionados and amateurs alike. Excerpts from the interview:

Vasu: So, Sir…how did…