There’s a different energy in the galleries during an FNLROM event, as we discovered during last week’s Indo-Pop at the ROM.

fnlrom hero

We think it’s because of the music that can be heard throughout the museum from the soundstage in Currelly Hall. Herewith, the soundtrack to our after-hours night at the museum.

We started at 7pm, because my inner-nerd led us to be there just after the initial line-up had moved inside. With the Indo-Pop guide in hand, we headed up to check out photography from India’s premier 19th century lensman, Raja Deen Dayal while the DJs warmed up with various Bollywood remixes.


Because he was so prolific and his work has survived, Dayal’s photos provide an archival paper trail into India’s past, and help shape the history of world photography. Thanks to the dedicated research of Dr. Deepali Dewan and the ROM for showcasing the first North American exhibition of his work. We highly recommend.

Moving on to the South Asia Gallery, the chorus of Sheila ki Jiwani could be heard as we went to pay our respects to the Blue lady, only to feel … a bit uncomfortable in her presence. Perhaps it’s because she’s looking away from us. Or because she’s sitting on what looks like a very uncomfortable bottle rack. And her thumbs are inverted.


Or perhaps it was just that we were listening to a most-irreverent pop-Bollywood track about girl power while contemplating an artist’s oh-so-serious comment about the role of women in Indian society. When my internal giggles threatened to become audible laughter that would disturb our fellow attendees still seriously discussing the statue, we felt it best to move on.

Moving through the dino gallery, picking up a glass of wine as we walked through to the beats of Mundian To Bachke, up we went to Textiles and Costumes on Level Four to see just how the turban makes the man.


At 16 metres of woven fabric, hand-dyed with 57 pattern changes in over 7 different dye baths, it was the first time we’d seen a royal Rajasthani turban flattened out for display in a museum case.

With a murmur of “wow,” back down to Currelly Hall we went to be greeted by the shrill train whistle of Rail Gaddi on the dance floor. Instinctively, I looked around to see where the train was starting up. Ah, if only the crowd had known what the rail gaddi song really meant.


I’m sure the Buddha knew.


Story and Photography By: Amanjeet Kaur Chauhan