Two hundred dancers took commuters at Mumbai’s hectic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station by surprise on Sunday, November 27 when they broke into dance accompanied by the title track from Bollywood hit Rang de Basanti.
The Mumbai Flashmob, as it was dubbed, threatened to become a viral phenomenon in India by Tuesday evening, as videos of the performance rocketed through the twitterverse, were posted on Facebook and liked on YouTube.
While the video looks spontaneous, the act was carefully planned. Getting over 200 people to participate in a choreographed dance in the middle of Mumbai’s bustling central railway station required a month of planning, including visits to three different departments at the station for security clearance.
The group was divided into four batches of approximately 50 people each, and has been practicing for the last two weeks at a yoga studio to achieve coordination. Participants were aged between 4 and 60.
In 2003, New York City was the first to witness an organised flashmob, which is now a regular feature in several western countries. It was Mumbai’s first large-scale citizen flashmob, a group of people who suddenly assemble at a public place, perform some action for a brief period and then disperse quickly as if nothing has happened.
A fascinating point in this flashmob dance is that it is the same place that witnessed one of the worst terror attacks in India three years back on 26 November 2008. Rang de basanti song means the color of saffron, which is a color of sacrifice. This flashmob reflects the victory of Indian civilization, the victory of humanity over evil, which is a cause of celebration and the victims are the martyrs.