"Dev Patel was like 'this is Indian, but metal as ****'" Bloodywood just soundtracked 2024's most epic fight scene in new action thriller, Monkey Man

Bloodywood/Dev Patel
(Image credit: Press/Adeline L. Janovicz/Getty Images/ Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Everybody loves a good needle drop in a movie. Whether it's specific instances like Metallica's For Whom The Bell Tolls playing over the intro to Zombieland or an album's worth of iconic soundtrack moments in something like Guardians Of The Galaxy, the fusion of visuals and music are an essential part of fleshing out the cinema experience.While metal pops up in movies much more infrequently these days than at the height of nu metal, that doesn't mean the art has been lost entirely. 

Directed by and starring Dev Patel [Skins, Slumdog Millionaire], new action/thriller Monkey Man follows unnamed protagonist Kid as he sets out on a quest of bloody vengeance in the fictional Indian city of Yatana. Playing out with shades of everything from John Wick and Ong Bak to The Raid, the film is an exceptional excercise in East-meets-West action, and so naturally needed an epic soundtrack for its big battle sequences. 

And when it comes to the biggest fight scene in the movie, it was only natural to include a song by the biggest Indian metal export of recent years, Bloodywood. "I thought it was a scam!" Bloodywood vocalist Jayant Bhadula reveals with a laugh, recalling how the band were contacted to include Dana Dan for the big set piece.

“I got a message on my Instagram saying, ‘hi I’m Dev Patel’s manager and we’d like to talk to you’," he continues. "Later on that day I figured, ‘well, I might as well reply and see what happens, because if it’s someone that wants to fuck around maybe we can fuck them around too!’ But when I answered the video call, Dev Patel was sitting right there. I couldn’t believe it! I started babbling, like, ‘I saw you in The Newsroom, you’re great!’.”

It turns out Patel, like millions of others, discovered the band through YouTube and became a fan of their distinctive visuals and brand of nu-metal-meets-folk. "Dev told me he stumbled on Dana Dan and was like, ‘holy shit! This is Indian, but it’s metal as fuck!’“

We won't go into too much detail - no spoiler warnings needed - but Dana Dan turns up in one of the movie's biggest fight scenes. Dana Dan isn't just a cool song playing over the top, either - it's a crucial part of the scene.

“We were told the full plot of the film and [the production team] even showed us pre-production sequences so we’d see how the song was actually going to be used," explains Bloodywood rapper Raoul Kerr. "Even at that point it looked fucking awesome! It was like, ‘you’re gonna see Dev killing all these guys and Dana Dan will be playing over the top!’ It was really hard to contain ourselves.” 

"You really have to give it up to Dev," says Karan Katiyar, who plays guitars and flute in the band as well as serving as their in-house producer. "When he initially spoke to Jayant he said he liked the album and would probably just use the one track. We expected him to use something like Machi Bhasad, which is still radio friendly. But he used our heaviest, most inaccessible song! He didn’t pull any punches. The production team told us they literally cut the fight scene according to the song!”

 With Bloodywood already racking up millions of views and streams online, they haven't struggled to find an audience. Nonetheless, they were delighted to continue a great metal tradition. 

“I remember in Punisher Warzone, there’s this sequence where this army of bad guys are out looking for The Punisher and Psychosocial is playing over the top," Jayant says. "I can’t remember the scene fully, but I remember how badass it was hearing Psychosocial playing in the movie. Slipknot got a song in a movie, now we’ve got our song in a movie!”

“Yes! The [movie] I thought of when I got hyped like that was hearing Rage Against The Machine at the end of The Matrix,” adds Raoul.

There's also some significance in Patel's choice to use Dana Da, the song's original themes of vengeance against oppressors and abusers reflected in the movies on themes and its exploration of the challenges facing the Hijra community [a term for Indian communities made up of gender non-conforming people and trans women].

“Context matters," agrees Karan. "The chorus is literally saying ‘bring the beatdown’, but it’s also about beating the right people up.”  

Unfortunately Bloodywood haven't been able to see the full movie yet, as Monkey Man is still waiting for a release date in India. 

“We’ve got a censor board that decides if a film can or cannot be released and those guys are still deciding because of the political and religious statements the film is making," Karan explains.

“But we’ve seen all the reviews and the hype!” Jayant adds. 

"It's frustrating," Raoul admits. "We didn’t actually ask for a preview copy, because we were planning on going to watch it as a nice break from recording [our second album]. We had this idea of all sitting together and checking it out. But we’ve got a few international friends who’ve sent us sneaky pictures or videos! Someone sent us the bit in the credits where it says Dana Dan is written by… and I was just like ‘yes!’”

The band are also hoping it opens the door to more cinematic collabs in future, adding how honoured they were to be selected for a movie that is not only Dev Patel's directorial debut, but also distributed by Monkeypaw Productions, the production company of director/producer Jordan Peele [Get Out/Us/Nope]. 

"All of us have watched Dev Patel and Jordan Peele in so many things over the years," Jayant says enthusiastically. "We used to love watching [sketch-comedy show] Key And Peele on YouTube, but we’d also seen Get Out and Nope. With Dev Patel, he was part of these huge TV shows like Skins, and then did Slumdog Millionaire which was one of the huge crossover films of our time. So to be involved in an action movie directed by Dev Patel and produced by Jordan Peele… it was huge for us."

While Dana Dan's inclusion in Monkey Man will surely get Bloodywood on more radars, right now the band are hard at work for their second album, Karan explaining they are "into the last third". But they're staying tight-lipped about what we can expect of the record. 

“There are so many things we want to tell you, but we can’t… yet." Karan says conspiratorially. "We can say the album will probably be out early next year, and the singles will start dropping later this year.”

“The album is just the tip of the spear!” Jayant adds. 

“It has the soul of the first album, but it’s layered in a lot of anger," Raoul says. The songs are heavier, faster...”  

“We’ve always been about aggressive evolution, right from the very start," Karan finishes. "We look at what works and pursue that to see how we can build on it. The people who support us have invested so much in us, so we’re trying to give as much as we can.”

Monkey Man is in cinemas now. Watch the official trailer below. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.