Fronted by Dr Palash Sen, Euphoria has been one of the first independent Indian acts to become a household name. Continously making music since their 1998 album Dhoom, they have had a consistent track record and continue belting out singles till this day.
But for the ’90s kids’ who grew up with their music, Maeri might be one of their most preferred tracks. As Sen revealed in an MTV Unplugged episode, he wrote this song as a tribute to his mother. A single child, he started off Maeri to show his frustration at his father who was never there. But towards the end of the track, he just ends up getting emotional and cheery thinking about the mother that raised him.
The equally memorable music video however changes the connection and finds Sen musing on an old romantic interest with whom he couldn’t end up. He misses her with bittersweet memories with some positive, singalong energy accompanying the mellow lyrics.
Directed by Pradeep Sarkar, the 6-minute short starts off from a chaotic railway station scene. As the band members hurriedly enter their Dehradun Express coach with their instruments, the band’s lead singer just sits near a window staring aimlessly.
The train starts moving and Sen goes on a walk down memory lane. He thinks about his town and how he used to spend time with his partner (a pre-fame Rimi Sen playing the part). As this environment and period are devoid of social media, the couple engages in simple and naive past times like eating sugarcane and pressing coins on the train tracks. And then in typical Bollywood fashion, the girl’s parents extend their reservations with this romance and get her married off to someone else. Sen eventually gives up and finds a new purpose with the timeline shifting to the present.
Interspersed with this ill-fated storyline are some contrasting jovial scenes as Sen tries to forget his sadness and jam with bandmates like bassist DJ Bhaduri, percussionist Prashant Chaturvedi, guitarist Gaurav Misra, and harmonium player Kajal Ghosh. Despite the Bollywood romance angle, Sen and his musical ensemble are far from a mainstream film industry act.
As Sen said in a recent interview, ‘Being called a Bollywood singer is as good as an insult to me.’ As for Euphoria’s stint as an indie act, the band has stuck to performing and releasing music for more than two decades now. And given the interactions they receive on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, they don’t show any signs of stopping. This is a notable fact for a 90s band in India as most of them ended up being one-hit wonders or just broke up after a few years. In this sense, they are no less than indie legends and tracks like Maeri have become landmark songs in Indian independent music.
Till today, the video of Maeri continues to get nostalgic comments from teary viewers and listeners. For instance, a user commented ‘Maeri is not only a song, it’s an emotion…a journey back to childhood’.