It's the time of the year when Delhi begins to welcome the winter, with the fresh smell of raat-ki-rani blossoms and a pleasant nip in the evening air. Add to that the overpowering sense of history that the air around Delhi's oldest fort is immersed in. The romance of a 5,000 year old historical tale is palpable. This is the setting of the re-launch of the Light and Sound show at the Purana Qila.
Housed between the Kilkari Bhairon Mandir and the National Zoological Park, the fort is known to be the sixth of the seven cities that make up modern day Delhi. From belief that it stands at the site of the ancient city of Indraparastha from the Hindu epic Mahabharata — a claim that hasn't yet been substantiated — to being home to many Mughal emperors like Humayun, who died here, falling down the stairs from his library, the Purana Qila is central to an understanding of Delhi and its history.
Ishq-e-Dilli, the soon-to-be-launched Light and Sound show invokes an intricate web of stories, from the time of the Pandavas to post-independence India, to bring to life the history of Delhi. The re-imagined Light and Sound show uses state of the art technology — with video projections, lasers, digital drawing and storytelling traditions — and creates images that reflect the man rise and falls the city has seen in its history. The projections are cast from a forty metre distance, mapping the architecture as it illuminates it with colourful illustrations.
Scripted, designed, narrated and produced by Two Is A Film Company for the ITDC, the show will open to the public in November. Earlier criticised for delayed schedule (it was supposed to open for the CommonWealth Games, after all) and for the heavy machinery that will become a permanent fixture at the historical site, the renewed Light and Sound show hasn't been free of hiccups, so to speak. But organisers are hoping that once it's open, they can dazzle the critics into silence.
We only wish history lessons had always been this magnificent.
Timings: 6.30 pm (Hindi), 7.30 pm (English). Duration: 50 minutes; Ticket: Rs75.
Highlights: Chhap Tilak by Rekha Bharadwaj, choreographed by Shama Bhate,
Khwaja Ji by Kailash Kher, choreographed again by Shama Bhate and parts of the narration by Mukesh Khanna.