Healing Hearts, the UP Jail Band That Inspired ‘Lucknow Central’
Jail evokes the feeling of fear. Jail means crime. Jail implies punishment. Jail, well, jail could also mean music.
Sounds weird right?
But if you’ve seen the posters and trailers of Lucknow Central, the Farhan Akhtar-starrer releasing today, you know it’s based on people who are stuck in jail but haven’t let go of their dreams.
People Can Get Jailed, Not Their Ideas
Farhan Akhtar in Lucknow Central plays the role of Moradabad-based Kishan who dreams of becoming a Bhojpuri singer. But his story takes a turn for the worse when he is accused of murder and sent to jail. While his matter is being heard in court, he decided to make a music band.
Since the promotions started, the fact that the film is based on real-life events had started making the rounds. Yashraj’s Qaidi Band, which released a few weeks ago, was also based on a bunch of under-trials who gave a band performance inside the prison.
So we tell you about two ‘Qaidi bands’ in India’s jails, whose stories have inspired filmmakers.
Healing Hearts, Lucknow Central Jail
According to several media reports, it was in 2007 that the then senior superintendent of the Lucknow Central jail, VK Jain, took the decision to set up a band that would participate in an annual event where inmates from several prisons can come together and perform. But the big question was: who would teach the inmates music?
After buying about 15 different instruments, 12 men sentenced to life for murder were brought together and trained by a prison guard, Noor Mohammad.
Once the band was ready, they got to perform at several inter-jail musical competitions and eventually at private parties and weddings. According to reports, they became such a hit that they were made to learn Bollywood songs to appeal to a wider audience. There was even a booking counter for the band. The inmates, after their performance, would return to the jail.
Flying Souls, Delhi’s Tihar Jail
A music band also exists in Asia’s largest prison – Delhi’s Tihar jail. Called the ‘Flying Souls’, the performers perform at other jails too. When the band was created, it had 10 members.
(This story was originally published on Quint Hindi.)