Tuesday, February 1, 2011




"कोई माता की उम्मीदों पे न डाले पानी,
ज़िन्दगी भर को हमें भेज के कालेपानी...!"

“Koi Maata ki ummeedon pe na daale paani,

Zindagi bhar ko humein bhej ke Kaalepaani…!”

Introducing the supremely venerable, heroic saga of the selfless, intrepid freedom fighters of India in “Kaala Paani” recreated in a moving Sound and Light Show at the world-renowned Cellular Jail, Port Blair!

Till 1857, Andaman and Nicobar Islands had been just another dot on the map of the British Empire. Came the struggle for India’s independence and the first mutiny in 1857, the British rulers found new use for these islands and thereby starts the agonizing story of the massive and awesome Cellular Jail.

Located at Port Blair in the South Andamans, the Cellular Jail is very closely associated with the great Indian freedom struggle. Into this puce-colored structure were sent patriots who raised their voice against the British rule. Thousands languished for years in solitary confinement in its cells. And many perished, thus giving Andamans the notorious sobriquet of ‘Kaala Paani’ or the black waters.

Today, the Cellular Jail is a National Memorial, a tribute to those who dared. Visit to the Cellular Jail is a pilgrimage for every Indian. The saga of the heroic struggle for freedom is now brought alive in a moving Son-et-lumiere (Sound and Light Show) both in Hindi and English.

The show begins with a brief historical and mythological reference to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the wandering spirit of the Cellular Jail. The spirit, along with the centuries old ‘Peepal Tree’ in the compound, takes us on a journey through the dark times when freedom fighters like Veer Savarkar, Baba Prithvi Singh Azad, Bhai Parmanand, Ullas Kar Dutta, Sher Ali and host of others, faced inhuman torture and humiliation at the hands of the terrorizing jailor, David Barrie, the self proclaimed ‘Jail ka Khuda’ or the Lord of the Jail, as my erudite father, Shri Purushottam Lal Vashishtha, the very first Hindi Officer & Assistant Secretary – OL (Retd.), of A & N Administration, wrote once in one of his much-admired articles published in the leading Hindi magazine – ‘Dharmayug’, way back in the eighties.

Undeterred, they stood firm in their resolve, to carry on their fight for freedom. With courage and dignity. It is to these valiant patriots that the Cellular Jail Son-et-lumiere is dedicated.

I’ve been watching the peerless show ever since it was launched in the early nineties and would strongly recommend it to every visitor to these exemplary islands, to include this as the foremost in their itinerary. The sonorous voices of Late Manohar Singh, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Tom Alter and singers like Vinay Mandka, with Louis Banks’ enchanting music are a memorable and prized treat to listen to, indeed.

“Jayostute, Jayostute! Shri Mahaan mangale, Shivaspade, shubhade! Swatantrate bhagawati twamaham, yashoyutaam vande!”


Timings: •• Hindi – 6.00 pm •• English – 7.15 pm


Entry ticket: Rs. 20 (Rs. 10 for children below 12 years)




Research and Basic Script-

Late Dr. Melville de Mellow


Show Script-



Music -

Louis Banks


Lead Singer -

Vinay Mandka

Lighting Designing-

Dr. Nissar Allana



Late Manohar Singh, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Jalal Agha,


Deepak Mathan, Tom Alter, K. K. Raina, Vijay Kashyap


Technical Collaboration –

Mavin Kurve, S. K. Mehta, Shiv Kumar & Robert Kerr of


M/s Philips India Ltd.


Artistic Design-

Late Manohar Singh


Production Consultant-

A. J. Jaspal



Chandni Luthra, R. M. Gupta of ITDC

"हाथ, जिन में है जूनून, कटते नही तलवार से,
सर जो उठ जाते हैं वो झुकते नहीं ललकार से.
और भड़केगा जो शोला सा हमारे दिल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है!"

“Haath jin mein ho junoon katt te nahi talvaar se
Sar jo uth jaate hain voh jhukte nahi lalkaar se
Aur bhadkega jo shola-sa humaare dil mein hai
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai.

"है लिए हथियार दुश्मन ताक में बैठा उधर,
और हम तैयार हैं सीना लिए अपना इधर.
ख़ून से खेलेंगे होली अगर वतन मुश्क़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है


Hai liye hathiyaar dushman taak mein baitha udhar
Aur hum taiyyaar hain seena liye apna idhar
Khoon se khelenge holi agar vatan muskhil mein hai
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai!”

Vande Mataram!



  1. Fantastic. Your posts read like a story and hence they are so easy to grab. Everyone should be proud of what our forefathers did. We are so skeptical about our state of affairs that we forget that those times were much troubled than others.

    Keep up the inspiring series.
    Thanks and regards,

  2. I had a friend whose father worked in that jail. She painted such a lovely picture of the islands that it has always had a spot in my list of places to visit.

    Thanks for promoting my posts and do keep visiting my blog.

  3. lot of energy and passion about the place one finds in your blog!

  4. sarforoshi ki tamanna abb hamare dil mein hai......your writings are so powerful sir and unstoppable conviction in writings.hats off to you.

  5. Srinath.. once again a wonderful post, presentation, narration, seriousness, everything is nice about the post !!

  6. .

    Srinath ji ,

    Thanks for this beautiful and informative post .

  7. @ashvini-kumar-saxena:
    That's fantastic bit of realization which is needed in the very psyche of the nation's youngsters. Thank you for the kind admiration! See you back soon to hear more from your thoughtful mind. :-)

    That's nice to learn about, dear Rukhsana! Do plan a trip as and when possible and enchant yourself with the floating paradise... It's my pleasure to promote your good work. Keep it up and going. Cheers! :-)

    Jai Hind, Mr. Amembal! Thanks! :-)

    That's obviously because of my immense love for the lovely place, as I'm a permanent resident of these exemplary islands, dear Arpana. Thank you! :-)

    @Pratibha The Talent:
    Oh, thanks a lot for the kind words, dear Pratibha, although this one - "Sarfaroshi ki tamanna..." - is the hair-raising masterpiece of Bismil Azimabadi, which was made popular by Ramprasad Bismil ji, as you know...! :-)

    Thank you so much for the kind endorsement, my friend! :-)

    Thank you so much for taking so much of pain to post the kind comment, dear Dr.Divya Srivastava! Hope, it was not a very stubborn bug that was playing mischief, while posting here... Welcome aboard this blog! I look forward to hearing more from you in times to come. Cheers! :-)

  8. Wonderful Shrinath, as usual. The term son et lumier is one that resonates with me from my childhood as a happy thing, it was a FESTIVAL that happened every year. Maybe if a little son et lumiere are cast upon the horrors that are still happening in our world the world can only be a better place. I am horribly upset by the fact that Google, in it's wisdom, has chosen to remove from view it's PUBLIC calendars, and by some thing that have recently happened to me and to those who I represent on Twitter. Perhaps we are communicating TOO MUCH? It terrifies me and has caused me to move to the top a post that I wrote some time ago.

    Blessed be, Quercus

  9. @Quercus Florida:
    Thank you for sharing the wonderfully humane and benevolent thoughts that's the hallmark of your comely and compassionate persona, dear Dru! Hope Google does better, ahead...! Take care & God bless! :-)

  10. Thanks a lot Sir for such an inspiring post and the photos too!

  11. i need a choures song (audio) which one plays daily before starting the light and sound show