In April 2005 I attended the video shoot for the singer Mehindra Chauhan’s new album Meenu Ai in his village in the northwest corner of the Garhwal Himalayas. A production team of about fifteen individuals, including the producer, director, drivers, makeup artists, soundmen, lighting assistants, actors, and cameramen, assembled at Chauhan’s home after a seven-hour drive up the Yamuna River valley from the regional capital city of Dehradun. At about ten o’clock at night the crew set up a generator to power their spotlights while the director enlisted the help of the village headman to bring local residents out of their homes and into the courtyard. As several women approached, the director advised them to return home, clean themselves up, and put on their finest festival clothes because he deemed them unsuitable to appear on camera as they were....
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