M3 Features

Victoria show in digital avatar

December 28, 2013

The light-and-sound show at Victoria Memorial will be remodelled next year in a shorter, smarter and more up-to-date avatar.

The son et lumiere at the marble monument has been a crowd favourite since 1992. When it started, the city's first mall was still 11 years away. Sourav Ganguly had just made his debut in cricket and cellphones looked like clunky wireless sets. Today, two decades later, in the times of smartphones and luxury malls, the sound-and-light show remains unchanged.

Making it more suitable to the times

It runs on an analog system and its list of city luminaries ends with Mother Teresa. Now, the state government wants to update it with idols like Amartya Sen and Sourav and run the show on a digital system.

Winter is the best time for the son et lumiere. Tourists flock to the spectacular Victoria grounds for the two evening shows. But it was stopped about two weeks ago "due to technical problems", say sources. Since it has not been publicized, visitors are turning up for the show almost every evening and returning disappointed.

They will have the old show back up by early January, 2014, said Victoria Memorial's curator professor Jayanta Sengupta.

The old script, which narrates the history of Kolkata since the days of Job Charnock. Actors Soumitra Chatterjee (now a Dadasaheb Phalke awardee) and Dhritiman Chatterjee gave the voice-over and the story line was framed by author Sunil Ganguly.

Sengupta said there were some technical problems with the analog system, which they are trying to sort out because they cannot keep the show suspended for long. It will be replaced with a digital system and the switch is likely to take place between July and October 2014 when the show is suspended for the monsoon. Digital technology will make the light and sound show more attractive.

Changes on the anvil

There will be changes in the content, too. The present son et lumiere depicts the history of Bengal from the establishment of Calcutta, traces the British Raj, Battle of Plassey, Renaissance and the nationalist movement. They memorial authorities plan to add to the storyline to highlight Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and cricketer Sourav Ganguly.

It will also be shorter. Instead of the 43-minute-run now, it will be trimmed to 35 minutes or even less, he said. Moreover, there will be a Hindi version, too, to add to the Bengali and English shows.

Installation of the new digital system will cost around Rs 3 crore and the tourism ministry has already granted Rs 1.4 crore of a promised Rs 2.6 crore, said Sengupta. The money is being routed through the Bengal government's tourism department.


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Comments (2)
 
Arindam Reply
January 01, 2014
As we progress, new technology comes and replace old ones. Good decision taken...
Dhruva Reply
December 30, 2013
This new light-and-sound would make for an ideal weekend.
 
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