The history of breaking in India is a short but immensely inspiring story. In the early 2000s, still unknown to much of the country, a handful of boys and girls were slowly discovering the dance form – some through clips they chanced upon in films, others through lucky meetings with breakers who came to the country from elsewhere in the world. Less than two decades on and the scene has changed dramatically. Breakers and crews now exist around the country, jams and battles are held every other weekend and global competitions have come to India.
Through the forty-minute-long film, viewers are introduced to some of the key figures and moments in the Indian breaking scene. From first generation Indian B-Boys Hera and Simon meeting by chance at a café in Dehradun in 2001, to the boom of social media later that decade and its role in bringing breakers together, to Flying Machine winning the first-ever Red Bull BC One Cypher India in 2015, the stories are both plentiful and colourful.
While B-Boy Bravo from Chennai recalls how he would lock himself up in his room and practice for hours, B-Boy Hotshot from Kolkata remembers hopping off the school bus and skipping school to practice breaking instead. Others, such as Nas from Bengaluru, remember the first few editions of his crew’s annual jam Freeze; then held in a small and dingy location with a handful of breakers in attendance, now spread over a weekend with breakers travelling from around the country and global judges and DJs in attendance.
This perseverance, as they recall, led to the growth of the breaking scene in India. Breakers from around the country formed crews, travelled to meet and compete against each other, and even began to bring international breakers to India.
Through its consistent growth and accompanying struggles, for many, breaking has proved to be not only a creative outlet but also a way to transform their lives. The stories of B-Boy Tornado and his mentor Wasim, for instance, exemplify the resilience and determination of several breakers in the country. From working as a satellite television technician to winning competitions and competing on a global level, Tornado credits breaking for turning his life around
Today, as the current generation of breakers in the country attest, breaking in India is still on the rise. New crews continue to be formed, jams and battles are established regularly and global competitions such as the Red Bull BC One World Final are travelling to India. From its modest beginnings to the present day, breaking has now cemented its place in the cultural landscape of the country.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.