Releasing November 2017. Watch this space!

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Based on a concept by Tim Cunningham
Filmed by The We, on phones (mostly), all over the world

The Y

Dear Fellow Tribes of The Other,

DEEP BLUE SHE (#Mutiny2Unity) is a grassroots/DIY music video/PSA intersectionality project for women’s / human / LGBTQ+ empowerment and racial/gender equality.

I began working on it one specific day in November 2016: I just had to do something, something creative and celebratory to counteract the tears of dismay and disbelief. I was in heavy need of some cheering up and onwards, to say the least, as so many of us were. And my tears of dismay and disbelief felt from a different (creative/positive, once I began to reflect on the project) angle illuminated for me still further my enormous pride in my light-shining community and the wonderful work of its many fierce human rights warriors—many of whom I am privileged to call family, call friend.

That was the spark for this Mutiny 2 Unity project. And thanks to my team of the usual fabulosas, the wonderful Marie Tueje (cowriter), Atom Fellows (video editor), and Dave Sharma (producer), as well as Tim Cunningham (who one day over coffee many months ago said, Hey, how about getting a bunch of our friends to film themselves dancing around to Deep Blue She and Dropbox over the footage, and that could be the video for it?): Here we are.

And that November day, I began to think: This ‘dance’ or dance itself could be a political statement, a coming together of all of we ‘Others’, the whole world over, uniting in the good fight. And the project grew. And grew. From there.

So as well as thanks to the 100+ participants from all over the world/diverse backgrounds, ages, vocations—artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, teachers, librarians, advocates, actors, farmer, doctor (activists all, mostly women of color)—who took part in this rising up. Onscreen. And off. These include:

  • Anoushka Shankar (six-time Grammy nominated sitar player/composer)
  • Elizabeth Acevedo (writer/Poetry Slam Champion)
  • Priyanka Bose (activist/actor from the film Lion)
  • Reshma Gajjar (artist/actor/dancer; The Girl in the Yellow Dress La La Land)
  • Shenaz Treasury (actor/TV host/writer/travel vlogger Travel With Shenaz; in The Big Sick)
  • Fawzia Mirza (actor/writer/producer/creator; cowrote, produced, stars in Signature Move with Shabana Azmi)
  • Abhijeet Rane (model/drag queen/artist/activist)
  • Leslee Udwin (filmmaker/human rights activist; director of India’s Daughter)
  • Ivy Meeropol (documentary filmmaker; Indian Point, The Hill, Heir to an Execution)
  • Kayhan Irani (storyteller/community engagement strategist/ 2016 White House Champion of Change)
  • MoniCa Singh (influencer/international philanthropist and president and founder of The Mahendra Singh Foundation to aid girls/women who, like her, are acid attack survivors/ have survived such kinds of trauma)**NEED LOGO
  • Mercedes Terrance (an Akwesasne Mohawk member of The Rolling Resistance)
  • Smriti Mundhra (filmmaker; Best Director with Sarita Khurana at the Tribeca Film Fest for their doc Suitable Girl!)

& a host of wonderful award-winning writers of color and LGBTQ+ authors.

The Deep Blue She (#Mutiny2Unity) remix and video feature ANOUSHKA SHANKAR on sitar, the legendary JON FADDIS on trumpet, AMITA SWADHIN on Testimony (footage of her Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Testimony in DC) and VALARIE KAUR on Night Watch Service (at the Metropolitan AME Church).

The video also features original art, much of it created/pasted for the project (The Pink Lady street art in Bombay, by Jas Charanjiva; Deep Blue She Mergrrrl and Mutiny Angry Ladies sculptures by Jaishri Abichandani; Lisa Cirenza’s Refugee Blues live digital painting, and more).

Included as well is world news footage, filmed by participants, specifically: the Women’s Marches in NYC, Washington, DC, London, and Standing Rock; Standing Rock Water Protectors; and NYC subway post-it protest that emerged immediately after election results. (And the above testimony from Amita and Night Watch Service from Valerie.)

The original song Deep Blue She (which was a #VogueEmpower playlist pick for Vogue India’s social awareness initiative for women) is from my booktrack album Bombay Spleen: songs based on my second novel Bombay Blues, which is the sequel to Born Confused.

This song–a female-POV modern-day take on “A Sailor Went to Sea”, catalyzed by and in memory of Nirbhaya–was written for all who gloriously inhabit the infinite in-between. Us.

My intention with it was to write a modern-day female/human empowerment-themed dance track, a kind of call to rise up: to love our daughters more. Raise our sons to lay down swords. Stand up for ourselves and each other. Love who we want to love. Be who we want to be. Make room for and celebrate each other.
And create safe spaces for that embrace. East, West: All the world round. All things—necessities–that feel increasingly urgent to counterbalance (and hopefully dissolve, transform) the opposing forces that seem to have flexed in many parts of the world.

In a way this is my birthday present to Dimple Lala (heroine of both of my novels; considered to be the first South Asian American YA character, who turns 15 this year): a promise to keep celebrating The ‘Other’, fighting the good fight. On a personal level, it is also this promise to my two daughters, and is a birthday gift to my huge-hearted gentle-handed warrior parents (as was Born Confused, all those years ago).

Given all the insanity/hate crimes/racial tensions of late (and in some ways, always), it feels like a particularly vital and poignant time to celebrate all our ‘browns’ and ‘Others’ (as an American of Indian origin with a French partner and mixed race kids, all in Brexit UK, feeling it from every angle!).

The winds are changing. And now is not the time to give up, fellow tribespeople/dreamers/doers—but rather, gather our forces for the good fight ahead. Turn that heartbreak to heartmake. We Are Here. And You are You– and that’s muscle, mind, heart, soul…and a very strong, steady light in the darkness indeed, one not to be underestimated.

Our hurricane lamps are bright, will not be blown out.

U-N-I U-N-I-T-E!

Xx Tanuja

Six thousand Darjeeling guitars strum ‘Imagine’ for a much-missed girl gone too brutally, too young, so many miles from home. A dreamer’s dying declaration (echoing from the New York Dakota pavement): Would we someday live as one?” –from Bombay Blues, page 524




JON FADDIS on Trumpet

AMITA SWADHIN on Testimony

VALARIE KAUR on Watch Night Service

VIDEO produced by Tanuja.


Based on a concept by TIM CUNNINGHAM

Filmed by The We, on phones (mostly), all over the world.

AUDIO produced by DAVE SHARMA. Words by Tanuja. Music by Tanuja & MARIE TUEJE.

Performed by Tanuja (vocals), Dave (drum programming/synths), & Marie (synths/backing vocals). This track is a remix of “Deep Blue She” from Tanuja’s album Bombay Spleen (songs based on Tanuja Desai Hidier’s novel Bombay Blues).

The We

(in order of appearance, left to right)

(offscreen/filmed bys)

  • Neelam Chandwani (MoniCa)
  • Harshad Mehta (Mehta women)
  • Elizabeth Hoover (Mercedes Terrance)
  • Michael Whitehead (Joanne)
  • Hrishikesh Shinde (Jas)
  • Alliah Ryza O. Montaner (Alaina)
  • Billy Merrell (Nico)
  • Dylan Ann Meeropol Ambrose (Ivy)
  • Raphael Kabir Aronson (Marina)
  • Jacob Bjorge (Abhijeet)
  • Niels Ligtvoet (Lily)
  • Edilberto Montemayor G. (Pamela)
  • Pip Jordan (Katie & Lucie)
  • J. Grant Ball (Rasika) 
  • Emanuel Abeyewardene (Paloma)
  • Philippe Fabbri (Mira)


(original art/created bys)

(filmed bys)

  • Hrishikesh Shinde (The Pink Lady)
  • Richard Oliver Wilson (Deep Blue She Mergrrrl/Mutiny Angry Ladies)

(filmed bys)

  • Amita Swadhin Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Testimony (Washington, DC; 1/11/17) © C-SPAN. Used with permission from Amita & in accordance with C-SPAN copyright policy.**
  • Eric Preston/Fusion Films for Repairers of the Breach (Valarie Kaur/ Watch Night Service; Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC; 12/31/16). Used with permission from Valarie & Eric.
  • Leela Marie Hidier (Women’s March/London)
  • Mitali Desai (Women’s March/NYC)
  • Elizabeth Hoover (Women’s March/Standing Rock & Standing Rock Water Protectors)
  • Sharbari Ahmed (Women’s March/Washington, DC)
  • Drew Dernavich (Union Square Subway Post-It Protest/NYC)


  • The Mergrrrl Pledge of She-We-llegiance intro/outro written by Tanuja Desai Hidier.

SPECIAL THANKS to all who took part, even offscreen, including:

  • David Gordon
  • Lucrecia Blair Davis & Paul Davis
  • Aga & Anthony Forbes
  • Tim Cunningham & Joss Duffield
  • Mark Lamoureux
  • Alexandra Townsend
  • Saloni Thakkar
  • Eliot Schrefer
  • Basica Salam
  • Nerm
  • Ali Sachedina
  • Elizabeth Hoover
  • Laurelyn & Tyler
  • Jean Hidier
  • Suresh, Smita, Nakul Karnik
  • Swati Khurana
  • Aleksandr Chandra
  • Lucia Arteta
  • Limary Rios
  • Sebastien Breugnot
  • Farah Chandu
  • Guillemette Sanz-Rames & family
  • Kaylie Jones & Eyrna
  • Linda Muddiman Rose
  • Martha Nussbaum
  • Padma Venkatraman
  • Ram Devinini
  • Piyali Bhattarcharya
  • Yael Farber
  • Cory Goldberg
  • Avi  & Tayin (& Rajiv) Desai
  • Sarah Vinas
  • Gee Iecker
  • Jeannie Kim
  • Sweety Kapoor
  • Paul Graham
  • Gaurav Vaz


The Words

Words by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Except news footage lines from Amita Swadhin’s Testimony & Valarie Kaur’s Night Watch Service.)
Music by Tanuja Desai Hidier & Marie Tueje.
Produced by Dave Sharma.

World overboard!
Better love your daughters more!
World overboard!
Better love your daughters (love your daughters!)

Raise your sons to lay down swords!
Steer this city back on course!
Raise your sons to lay down swords!
Steer this city back on course!

M-U-T-I [4x]
M-U-T [4x]

Dressed in a suit and tie!
*I was too afraid to tell them my story
21st century!
*I was too afraid to tell them my story

Blackout across the bay
Except where the pretty party people stay
Paying for their ship to come in
Bottom’s up to sunup at Lands End

Eye to the telescope
Marauders all around me grope
Yet my lover ain’t allowed to dive in
Antiparty posse turn you in:

You blew me.
Blue me.

All quiet on the eastern cun(try)
Bolo how the West was won if 3-
-77 say we won’t escape
‘Less you wedded, then by all means rape!**

Got no permit for a long stiff drink
How a girl supposed to think?
Bar bala bleach and barter her skin
Motherland, turn to friend!

And they don’t want our hurricane lamp on

Mumbadevi can you tell me
Why they how who can be?
This city still divided now
That Reclamation be?
Devadasi, make me crazy
Dowry, sati, serve tea
If you the goddess, why the girl
Not safe upon your streets?

And they don’t want our hurricane lamp on
Walk the plank; won’t keep the blindfold on!

Staring out to sea
Y-U-N-I M-T?
Crumbles beneath our feet

A sailor went to sea!
To see what he could she!
And all that she could see see see
Was the bottom, the bottom!
(Her bottom, her bottom!)
He bought her, he pawed her!
(We caught him, we caught him!)

Hands on deck,
From this wreck,
Fortress we seizing!
We will rise
Still entwined
With who the frock we please!

Lookout for the enemy
Y-U-N-I M-T?
He’s sitting on top of me
Dressed in a suit and tie!
Morality police
21st century?

M- (uh-oh)-N-E-Y
Pillaging oi-oi-oil!
Driving their SUVs
Down a village street…

World overboard!
Better love your daughters more!

*And so the mother in me asks: What if?
What if this darkness
Is not the darkness of the tomb
But the darkness of the womb?
The winds are changing!
The winds are changing!

U-N-I: U-N-I-T-E!

This song was catalyzed by Nirbhaya/the 2012 Delhi gang rape. Please note, to state what is hopefully the obvious, that this line is an unequivocally anti-rape/rape culture reference to and criticism of sections of India’s penal code which do not recognize marital rape as a crime. DEEP BLUE SHE is also Bombay Spleen’s most direct anti-377 track (Section 377, which criminalizes homosexuality in India, was declared unconstitutional in 2009…but reinstated in 2013) and stands by LGBTQ rights. Which are, of course, HUMAN rights

Join the Mergrrrl Movement!

Do your dance/spell-out to the track & share, hashtagging:


The Mergrrrl Pledge of Seallegiance
by Tanuja Desai Hidier

Once upon a time
In the deep blue she
Litlte mergrrrl sighed
Dreamed a woke dream

Time upon us now
Good tidings we must bring
Ever after our
Happily we swim

For all the mergrrrls we have lived before
Love nevertheless & allthemore
She/He/They persist.
Resist. Raise fist.
Fin. Wing. Insist:
Pursuit of happiness.
Life Liberty.
Love. Dignity.
For You & Me
In Solidarity.
From Dream to Be.
Deep Blue She to shining We.