Two hour layover of senior railway officials at Delhi airport played an ‘instrumental’ role for Indian Railway (IR) to have its first ever ‘live music’ show at the station. While at present the live performance is presented by moonlighting staff of the Konkan railway- a subsidiary zone of the IR, the railways will now tap performances from upcoming musicians or bands for live show at Madgaon railway station.
David Mitta, is a 48-year old section engineer in the electrical department at Madgaon railway station. For the last 10-years he along with his five member troupe have performed mostly in award ceremonies and annual day function of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and IR. “Whenever the department used to direct us, we all got together and perform at any given occasion,” he says. However, the public reaction to their performance at the 45-minutes show at the station last week was anything David had imagined, he says. “From the beginning passengers surrounded our event venue, while some including foreigners used mobile devices to record videos. Though we were beyond our performance time the passengers requested for more songs to be played” the veteran at Congo drums says.
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According to the public relation officer of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) Baban Ghatge, given the 10,000 passenger footfall, the station naturally has a large base of visitors. “The musical performance is to keep our patrons entertained, otherwise beyond reading books and taking refreshments at canteen most of the time passengers idle around while waiting for the train,” Ghatge said. The KRCL’s troupe plays Konkani, Hindi and patriotic songs. “We also play hollywood music. We can play Titanic song if you want,” David says.
The brain child for the initiative evolved about two weeks ago when KRCL Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Gupta along with senior official at Delhi airport witnessed musical performance by artists. “We discussed it through and saw it as an opportunity to promote local talents while making best use of excessive space at the station,” Ghatge said.
Besides, allowing for its own band to perform, KRCL is now welcoming private performers on-board to showcase their skill. “Its not possible for us to relieve our staff each time, as they are engaged in key roles like signal, communication, mechanical, engineering and electrical. Besides they have to travel from Bhatkal, Ratnagiri, and its routinely not possible. Therefore, we are now ready to accommodate upcoming artist willing to perform irrespective of language and instrument,” Ghatge adds.
Tentatively the railway has readily agreed to award multiple time slots for performers but with a condition that each performance will last for 30-45 minutes prior to the departure of the train. “Ultimately we do not want music engrossed passengers missing the train, then our effort will turn counter productive” the departmental official humorously says.
On its part the KRCL says it is not incurring additional expense nor is expecting income out of its entertainment venture.”We give them free platform to perform at a prime area, in which the artists can setup their instruments and displays. It is an excellent platform for the artists to gain free publicity and rewarding on a long term,” Ghatge adds.