Essential Movies for Musicians: The Disciple (2020)

The Disciple (2020) follows the training of a young Indian classical vocalist. That is literally all I can say about the film without ruining it.

Most critics see this film as a study of failure and mediocrity. Because of the unusual ending, it can seem as though the protagonist is giving up on music.

I love this movie, but it’s an art film. It is long and slow, but that is fitting because this is about the life of an artist. We see him fail, we see him practice, feel jealousy, frustration, and other aspects of his life as he pursues his muse.

There is one scene with a music critic that I had to rewind and watch several times, simply because Americans don’t cut through the nonsense this clearly. It is an eye-opening and life-altering conversation, and I have been on both sides of that table more than a few times.

I will not spell out a conclusion for you, but I will say one thing: I walked offstage in 1997 and have not performed willingly many times since. Did I give up on music?