The lawn of Tollygunge Club was a sight to behold on the evening of 12 November as members of the audience started filling in. A stage lit up with the colours of the national flag flanked the head of the manicured lawn with the words ‘Indian Navy: Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof’ displayed in large bold letters on a board. The occasion was a spectacular performance by the Eastern Naval Command Band.
Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, AVSM, YSM, VSM and the current Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command
“The Indian Navy Band not only plays an important role in boosting the morale of the Indian Armed Forces but also helps to facilitate diplomacy among countries,” remarked Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, AVSM, YSM, VSM and the current Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, before the band commenced their performance that had songs ranging across genres and eras.
The performance began with a rendition of 'El Condor Pasa' and spanned across languages and genres from Bollywood to Tagore classics
Representing the spirit of the Indian Navy, one of the first tunes to be performed was the orchestral musical piece El Condor Pasa, followed by the title track of the film Lakshya, drawing a long applause from the audience. But before the spectators could guess what the next song would be, the band broke into a foot-tapping rendition of Uptown Funk, surprising the audience with their contemporary choice. Keeping the audience on their toes, the song to follow the 2014 pop hit, was the music of the 1975 blockbuster Bollywood hit Sholay.
Captain Sanjeev Dheer, President of Tollygunge Club and a member for over three decades, mentioned that he was “delighted to have them at the club”. “They are outstanding,” he added. A variety of melodies across a variety of styles were played with panache by the band which captivated the crowd. The audience was perhaps the most enthralled when the band played Tagore’s Ekla Cholo Re and Purano Sei Diner Kotha to perfection.
Commodore Rituraj Sahu, Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal
“Today’s evening is essentially a run-up to the Navy Week and to Navy Day, which is celebrated on December 4, and the purpose is to have the Navy in front of the citizens of the country. Here, this is a process of connecting with the citizens of Kolkata. Until now, the Navy band has performed in four different places in the city. I am sure that the people of Kolkata know that their navy is around and that is a good way of motivating children, students and cadets towards the armed forces, which is the larger purpose,” said Commodore Rituraj Sahu, Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal.
Indeed, when the band played popular tunes such as Michael Bublé’s Sway, Dandaalayyaa from Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, they drew the loudest cheers from the younger members of the audience.
Contemporary numbers like Michael Bublé’s Sway and Michael Jackson’s Thriller drew cheers from the younger members of the crowd
“Tollygunge Club has always been one of the preferred destinations of our Eastern Naval Command Band to come and perform because we find that the audience here is very receptive, they are knowledgeable and they appreciate good music. So, I think the musicians are always happy to come and play at Tolly Club. The appreciation that we get at Tolly Club encourages them to play each year,” said Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, AVSM, YSM, VSM and the current Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
In the final act, the 'Tri-Service Marching Medley' comprising the marching tunes from the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Indian Army and culminating into the National Anthem, brought the event to a close.