The Telegraph
Saturday , December 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chhaiya Chhaiya on Darjeeling toy train

- Bollywood act on DHR wagon to boost tea and tourism fest spirit

Darjeeling, Dec. 21: Chhaiya Chhaiya happened in Darjeeling today.

The hill town that has witnessed many a Bollywood shoot today saw real life imitating reel when local dancers performed on a moving toy train. No, they did not dance on the roof of a compartment. A flat, open wagon was attached to the train so the dancers could perform, just like in the SRK-Malaika Arora song in Dil Se.

The trains of the 131-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) have featured in several films — the most famous are Aradhana (in the song Mere Sapno ki Rani) and recently Barfi!. Today, when the train left Darjeeling station, the cultural troupe started dancing to Nepali songs. When the train stopped at Batasia Loop for 10 minutes, many tourists jumped onto the wagon and danced along with the troupe.

M.D. Bhutia, the director of DHR, said: “This was an effort to popularise the DHR among local people and tourists. This was also an initiative to be part of the festive spirit brought alive through the ongoing Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival.”

The train which was being pulled by a steam locomotive also had a diesel engine trailing the steam engines, in case the steam locomotive did not work. In two places, Dali and Ghoom, the diesel engine pushed the steam engine.

Binay Tamang, the executive member of the GTA in charge of information and cultural affairs, said: “We had seen such scenes only in movies. We thought such an item would be a major attraction among tourists. We had been corresponding with the DHR officials for quite sometime and we are happy the initiative rolled off today.”

Bhutia said: “As of now we have decided to have performances like the one today on special occasions. If things work out well, we can introduce it on the joy rides.” The tourists seemed to have enjoyed every bit of the ride. Derak Elliot from Canada said: “It was a lot of fun and we were pleasantly surprised. We have been here for a couple of days and it was great to be in a place where the festival has just started.”