Underground Authority

Underground Authority
Underground Authority (India).jpg
Background information
Origin Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Genres Rap rock, alternative rock, protest poetry
Years active 2010 (2010)–present
Labels Sony BMG
Associated acts !Banned, Skydive
Website Underground Authority on ReverbNation
Members Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer (lead vocals)
Adil Rashid (lead guitar)
Kuntal De (rhythm guitar)
Soumyadeep Bhattacharya (bass guitar)
Sourish Kumar (drums)

Underground Authority (Bengali: আন্ডারগ্রাউন্ড অথরিটি,Tamil: ஆண்டெர்க்ரௌண்ட் ஆதோரிட்டி,Hindi: अंडरग्राउंड अथॉरिटी) is an alternative rock / rap rock band from India. Formed in early 2010, in Kolkata, their music is flavoured by a blend of protest poetry, reggae, alternative rock, rap rock and hard rock. The band is noted for their socio-political messages / Anti-capitalism agenda in their song lyrics and also for their Music to express and not impress quote.

The current line-up includes Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer (lead vocals), Adil Rashid (lead guitar), Kuntal De (rhythm guitar), Soumyadeep Bhattacharya (bass guitar) and Sourish Kumar (drums).


Formation / early years / pre India's Got Talent

Underground Authority was formed in early 2010, when two of the previously existing acts from Kolkata, !Banned and Skydive collaborated to put forth a new act together. They primarily started off performing in the premier pubs of Kolkata and participated in major music events, including the Closed Mic / Best of open mic at Someplace Else and Tuborg Unseen Underground Pub Rock festival.[1] They were also the runners up at a national rock band competition, Yamaha Asian Beat 2010, held at Hard Rock Cafe in Mumbai.[2]

If not rivalry, then we would surely prefer the term ‘fierce competitors’ to describe us in the past, when we used to face off and compete as a band at the national / local music circuit. But then again, we always had this dream of coming together as a unit at some point of time and fortunately, it happened on the pleasant evening of April 3, 2010. We figured that all five of us wanted to experiment and come up with something new and unique; so when the idea of Underground Authority came up, we straight away went for it as we all had a gut feeling that it would result in something fresh and inviting.

— Underground Authority at an interview for Eight Octaves, Music news and services in India.[3]

On May 17, 2010 - They had performed at a concert in Kolkata organized by Power 107.8 FM to help promote mass awareness on the extinction on Tigers in the country. [4]

On July 16, 2010 - They had also been a part of a special night organized by popular city bands and individuals to offer a tribute to the Indian film music directors at the pub, 'Basement' at 'Samilton Hotel' in Kolkata. They performed A.R.Rahman directed songs, 'Rukmini' and 'Humma Humma' in their own versions as a tribute to the former. [5]


!Banned was a rap-metal band from the city, comprising of Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer on the vocals, Kuntal De on the rhythm guitar, Roheet Mukhejee on the bass guitar and Anup Hela on the drums.

They were mostly active from time period January 2009- March 2010 and had won many rock band competitions held at the cultural festivals of colleges. Some of the notable are named below,

On January 23, 2010, Kolkata, they had opened for Krishnakumar Kunnath, a famous Bollywood playback singer and were also awarded by him on stage, as the band had won the 'Times of Youth Challenge 2010' rock band competition organised by the Times of India and the Times group.[6][7]

The band discontinued in April 2010, as the bass guitarist, Roheet Mukherjee left the band to join another city band Five Little Indians.


Skydive started as a rap-rock side project that included Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer on the vocals/rap, Adil Rashid on the lead guitar, Soumyadeep Bhattacharya on the bass guitar, Bhaveen Juthani on the rhythm guitar and Sourish Kumar on the drums.

Though the activity of the band didn't span for more than three months, from January to March 2010, the band had an unbeatable record of winning all the band competitions it had taken part in at cultural festivals of colleges. The following are the competitions they took part in,

On January 28, 2010 they took part and had won the band competition event at 'Caledonia 2010' - the annual cultural fest of Scottish Church College, Calcutta. Their original composition Private investigation of a microphone in Jerusalem was an instant hit among the audience and the judge, Radio Jockey Vineet of Red FM 93.5. [8]

Band members

Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer (Epr) performing at an Underground Authority Concert held in Nazul Mancha, Kolkata

Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer (lead vocals)

Also known as E.P.R (emcee/ poet/rapper), Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer is the frontman / emcee of the band, he's one of the first emcees / rappers in the city to make a mark. He is noted for his stage presence and passionate delivery of vocals. He's also the lyricist of the band and is a follower of Anarchist Communism, which can be seen in his works. Previously he used to often rap / perform at Open Mic Sessions at Someplace Else, Park Hotel, Kolkata and was a very popular performer since then.[9] His interactions with the audience are powerful and he frequently crowd surfs / stage dives at his performances.

There is very little space to jump. If I jump over you guys, will you hold me?

— Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer at a performance, Unseen Underground Pub Rock Festival.[10]

Adil Rashid

Adil Rashid (lead guitar)

He is the lead Guitarist of the band and is supported by Gibson Guitar Corporation's branch in India.He specializes in playing different styles of music which include jazz, blues, funk, rock and metal. His inspirations are Paul Gilbert (Mr Big), Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash (Guns N' Roses), Vito Brata, to name a few. He's also the grandson of Mohammed Salim, who was the first Indian Footballer to play overseas, in the year 1936 for the Scottish Club Celtic FC.

Kuntal De

Kuntal De (rhythm guitar)

Kuntal is the rhythm guitarist in the band and is inspired by unconventional styles of guitar playing. He specializes in giving effects and states Tom morello of Rage against the machine to be his idol. He is the son of Amritlal De, one of the renowned astrologers of the city.[11] After the death of his father in 2009, he took all the responsibilities of his father's office and started working as professional Astrologer.

During his '!Banned' days, he had also been a part of another mainstream Indian television reality show, MTV Rock On, season one. [12]

Soumyadeep Bhattacharya
Sourish Kumar

Soumyadeep Bhattacharya (bass guitar)

Soumyadeep Bhattacharya alias 'Bubla' is the bassist in the band. He states that he fell in love with the instrument called the bass guitar when he first saw it in a shop.

Sourish Kumar (drummer)

Sourish is the drummer of the band .

Musical influences

A 29-second sample of the song "You Can't Stop", one of the singles recorded by Underground Authority in the year 2010 just after India's Got Talent (Season 2).

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Underground Authority is known for its original compositions, which always tend to portray a political message which they term it as "Protest Poetry". Some of their popular original songs include,

Apart from their originals their acts also include the rap-rock remixed versions of A R Rahman's songs -

The band cites Rage Against The Machine, KRS-One, Cypress Hill, Living Colour, Public Enemy and The Roots as their biggest musical influences.[citation needed]

India's Got Talent - Khoj -2

Underground Authority tried their luck at the auditions of the second season of India's Got Talent, which is a large-scale televised entertainment variety show created by Simon Cowell and Syco TV. The show presents India's best unknown acts and talents, and made their maiden appearance on national television through Colors TV.

Underground Authority in the audition round of India's Got Talent

During the nationwide talent competition, the band covered A. R. Rahman's hits in their own style, which secured their position as one of the nine finalists in the show, earning them a huge fan following. During the competition, the band performed a song from the soundtrack of the Hindi action film Dabangg, which starred guest judge Salman Khan.[15]

The band received an overwhelming response from the Indian audience, winning the hearts of Indian celebrities, including Salman Khan,[16] Sonali Bendre, Nikhil Chinapa, Ayushmann Khurrana and Kiron Kher. Salman Khan requested them to remix the whole Dabangg soundtrack album, in their own unique style. After India's Got Talent, the band became known for twisting Bollywood retro songs and presenting them in their own style of music.

During the television shoot for the auditions of India's Got Talent (season 2), in Kolkata, Nikhil Chinapa had liked their performance so much that he had instantly uploaded a status message on them on his account on the social networking site, Twitter.[17]

In all my years of listening to Indian bands, this was one group that gave me goosebumps !

— Nikhil Chinapa on Underground Authority.[18]

Hornbill International Rock Competition 2013

Hornbill International Rock Competition (HIRC 2013) was a part of the annual cultural extravaganza, Hornbill Festival, which showcases the rich Naga culture and is organized by the state government of Nagaland's Music Task Force (MTF), department of Youth Resources and Sports. [19]

Hornbill International(formerly National) Rock Contest is also the longest music festival in the country, it being a seven-day-long festival. India’s biggest prize money for battle of bands contest has been an integral event of the Hornbill Festival extravaganza since its inception in 2000. The contest was held at the newly constructed venue at Solidarity Park, Kohima from December 1 to 10.

On celebrating the 50th year of statehood, of Nagaland, the government decided to double up the prize money for the competition to make it grander and to have something to remember.

The selected bands competed for the top prize of a whopping 10,00,000/- (1 Million INR), 2,50,000/- ( 250 thousand INR) for the second place and 1,50,000/- (150 thousand INR) for the third place. Individual Prizes for Best Vocalist, Best Guitarist, Best Drummer, Best Bassist will also be given with a prize money of INR 30,000/- each and other surprise Sponsored Prizes.[20]

On December, 10, following the final performances by the short-listed bands, it was announced that 'Underground Authority' were this year's un-doubted winners along with bagging, other individual prizes of Best Vocalist ( Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer), Best Bassist (Soumyadeep Bubbla Bhattacharya), Best Drummer ( Sourish Kumar) and Best Runner's up guitarist (Adil Rashid).

While every other band was out feasting on local cuisine and rice beer, Kolkata band Underground Authority were rehearsing hard on the second stage (I spotted the band jamming four times in three days)

— Anurag Tagat, Rolling Stones India on Underground Authority winning HIRC 2013.[21]

The competition was judged by True School of Music co-founder Ashutosh Phatak, Nagaland youth activist and pastor Doring Lungalung and actor Purab Kohli.

Hornbill International Rock Contest 2013 Winners:

We have won almost all the big rock fests in India. We have had 21 wins so far. Hornbill was the only one left for us and we knew, if we had this in our kitty, we would have aced every prestigious rock competition in the country. We rehearsed day in and day out. For us, this was the last competition, at least in India. We went in with one goal: to win

— Epr on an interview to Calcutta Times, Times of India on Underground Authority winning HIRC 2013.[23]

Side projects

After performing well in India's Got Talent the band has started gaining fame. The band is currently working on their first album and are also recording the Dabbang Remix as a side project. The band has already released a Dabangg (Scratch Demo) and will releasing the whole album soon. The band is also working on stage shows.

Professional career

The band has toured and performed at events across India, including college festivals and concerts. They have has also raised funds for charities and welfare projects on subjects like education, healthcare, livelihood, women empowerment, and advocacy.[24]


Soumyadeep Bhattacharya


Underground Authority in Smile Foundation



Before stepping on to the football field, the Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker, had also featured and played along with the band on the stadium, belting out the legendaryScorpions number, Rock You Like a Hurricane in a Rap-Rock version which raised a lot of crowd attention.[65][66][67][68]



No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Microphone"   Underground Authority 4:50
2. "Realise"   Underground Authority 4:37
3. "You can't Stop"   Underground Authority 3:52
4. "Urvashi (Cover)"   A.R.Rahman 4:33
5. "Dabangg (Scratch Demo)"   Underground Authority 2:48
6. "Where the streets have a name"   Underground Authority 5:31
7. "Kaash Meri Girlfriend (Demo)"   Underground Authority 1:31
8. "We Rise (Demo)"   Underground Authority 1:26


In spite of their huge success, the band has not been free of criticism. They were criticised by Sajid Khan and Kiron Kher for changing the flavour of A. R. Rahman's hit song "Humma Humma", in one of the episodes of India's Got Talent. Many music lovers have criticized them for being trying to emulate the acts of Linkin Park and Guns N' Roses. In one act they were seen to bang the guitar on the stage. This act was highly criticized by many sections of the audience. Sajid Khan and Kiron Kher even criticized the band of trying to show aggression on the stage rather than letting the music do its job.

See also


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External links