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Danse (2019) by Hashback Hashish.

The music video for Hashback Hashish’s Danse, released on Thursday on YouTube, follows a woman stepping out of her home in Delhi and encountering a swarm of men along the way getting a rise out of staring at her. This could just be a daily affair for her, till one day, she hits back. When confronted, the men are embarrassed to look into her eyes.

Stark black-and-white visuals are intercut with the woman – played by actor and dancer Puneet Jewandah – dancing in a dark room with red strobe lights. The video has been directed by Surabhi Tandon, and Nitish Kanjilal is the editor. Hashback Hashish is the moniker under which Ashish Sachan makes and releases electronic music. He has released several albums and EPs so far, in addition to being featured on albums such as Lifafa’s self-titled debut release.

When Sachan wanted the Danse music video to be “about the experience of being a woman”, Tandon told Scroll.in, she realised that the experience is anything but positive in India.

“So I wanted to straddle a storyline that many women can relate to, while still leaving it open ended enough to not arrive at a dead end,” Tandon said. “Equally, the music’s upbeat tempo would naturally make your body respond to the rhythm. So I definitely also wanted to integrate a dance sequence in it.”

Puneet Jewandah in 'Danse'. Courtesy Hashback Hashish.
Puneet Jewandah in 'Danse'. Courtesy Hashback Hashish.

Listening to the track over and over gave Tandon the thought of portraying “the simple act of walking on the streets, and how suffocating it can be”. Coming to this music video as she does from making documentaries, Tandon said, most of the black-and-white parts where the men are seen to be leering at Jewandah’s protagonist were shot as they occurred naturally on the streets.

Noting how men and women go about their daily schedules differently from each other publicly in a city, Sachan added that the video “resonates [with] the idea of viewing the city from a woman’s perspective...how all eyes are always on them”.

The music video for Collider, a 2013 song by British electronic artist Jon Hopkins, was an inspiration for the Danse music video, Tandon said – the storyline of the Tom Haines-directed video also “moved between two perceived realities”.

Tandon’s music video credits include the band Begum’s Make It Till Four and the band Peter Cat Recording Co’s recently released song, Where The Money Flows. She counts filmmakers David Lynch, Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, and choreographer-director Busby Berkeley as her inspirations.

Danse is the title track of the latest album released by Sachan’s Hashback Hashish project. It features collaborations with fellow electronic music artist D80, and international artists like Switzerland’s POL, United Kingdom’s Clatterbox, and Italy’s Healing Force Project.

Danse album by Hashback Hashish.