New Delhi: With the traditional Beating Retreat Ceremony which is an annual musical extravaganza that is being held today at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi to bring down curtains on the 68th Republic Day celebrations.
But while several performances worked brilliantly well in their individual right, they somehow failed to establish a perfect resonance with a military ceremony that dates back hundreds of years when opposing armies laid down their arms at sunset to regroup on the morrow.
The transition from the soulful rendition of “Veer Bharat” to a rather high-pitched “Pyari Bhumi”, for instance, seemed out of sync and as the band returned to “Veer Bharat,” an overarching sense of being misplaced seemed evident.
There were, no doubt, exhilarating performances like “Mera Mulq, Mera Desh, Mera yeh Vatan,” performed by an army band. “Jai Bharati” was another spectacular rendition which surfaced during a well co-ordinated march past. The drum rolls that set the onset of “Call of the Heart” saw the audience cheering in their best spirits.
The re-creation of “Admirals Ensignia” was again a change from the traditional performances. Displaying a dash of late pop star Michael Jackson, the contingent moon-walked backwards and ended in a symbolic sword-fighting pageant. They returned back to foot-tapping with drum rolls, swaying their heads right and left to create a fervour never seen before.
The arrival of the flute players after “Jai Bharati” performance was a high-point of the evening as the crowds resumed to a throbbing silence to witness the magic that they created. Even as the “Call of the Heart” took centrestage, the healing sound of the flute continued to mesmerise the visitors in the background.
While these changes from the traditional practises may have created an atmosphere of euphoria immediately, the evergreen “Abide with Me” was a nostalgic ride down the memory lane.