Magic of 'The Sound of Music'

My sister was 11 and I was 14 then. My dad who had recently returned from England wanted us to be proficient in English and thought the best way to do it was to take us to English movies regularly. We would go to cinema halls in Bangalore cantonment area which showed only English movies. After watching a movie, we would visit Lakeview for ice creams, Koshy’s for bread toast and jam, India Coffee House for dosas, and Woodlands for a south Indian lunch and have a gala time.

The Sound of Music at Lido theatre was the movie which we had liked most. We loved it so much that we saw it twice. My sister and I constantly hummed the songs from the movie which prompted dad to buy a LP record for us to learn the songs by rote. While the song, Do-Re-Mi was my sister’s favourite, I loved to hum Edelweiss. We sang these songs in our school functions too. As we became older, we joined government service, got married, had kids and continued to cherish the movie. Through video CDs, we watched it umpteen times and even made our children enjoy it.

When I went to Austria on an official trip in 2015, I took two days off only to visit Salzburg, where The Sound of Music was filmed. As I checked into my hotel, the receptionist asked me the purpose of my visit. Unabashedly, I told her that I was visiting to see the locations of the movie. When she smilingly stated that I was one of the thousands who do so, I wasn’t surprised. On her suggestion, I bought tickets for the day-long The Sound of Music tour.

Our bus was painted with scenes from the movie. The driver, the guide, and the young girls who checked our tickets were dressed like the actors in the film. When we entered the bus, songs from the movie wafted through and we instinctively hummed them.

As the tour began, our guide announced that the golden jubilee of the film’s release was being observed that year which made me realise that I was already a senior citizen. When the bus moved towards the Mozart Bridge across the Salzach River, I became a kid again joining the von Trapp children having a picnic there. Seeing the gazebo at the Hellbrunn palace, I imagined my sister standing inside and singing the song, Sixteen Going on Seventeen.

As the bus passed through the Lake District, the guide mentioned that it was the place where the song, The Hills are Alive was picturised. I made him stop the bus for a few minutes, got down and deeply inhaled the fresh mountain air and started singing the song aloud. Soon, my co-tourists got down and began singing the song with me. Knowing that they had come from different continents, I marvelled at the film’s sustained universal appeal.

On my return, I called my sister on the phone and told her about my trip. When she instantly started singing Do-Re-Mi, I joined her in chorus. My five-year-old grandson who was sitting beside me couldn’t understand this sudden transformation of his ‘thata’ and he too started to sing along.

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Magic of 'The Sound of Music'

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