How often does a whistle catch your attention, unless it is a shrill one in a cinema hall or a lewd one at a railway station? Rarely. But as one group of people proved on the concluding day of the Kala Ghoda Festival, puckering up in public might not be so bad after all.
The Indian Whistlers Association, a 500-strong group of professionals brought together by their love for music sans singing, performed a tribute to legendary singer Mohammed Rafi at the Kala Ghoda amphitheatre on Sunday. The capacity crowd cheered its approval as members of the IWA whistled popular Rafi tunes like ‘Pukarta chala hoon main’ from the film Mere Sanam and ‘Yeh hai Bambai meri jaan’ from CID.
Since whistling involves many of the same skills as singing — a sense of rhythm and melody, as well as breath control — it was no surprise that some of the whistlers were accomplished singers.
“They were really superb,” said Sanjay Phadnis, a 53-year-old Western Railway employee. “I will definitely attend another performance of theirs.”
According to its website, the IWA was formed five years ago to “change the perception” about whistling and to have it recognised as a “performing art”. Its members, drawn from all over the country, include publishers, classical musicians and techies, among others.
The IWA entered the Limca Book of World Records in 2008 for ‘the largest convention of whistlers singing the same song’.