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Mozart Centre in Kolkata soon

December 27, 2006 11:48 IST

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- most Indians are familiar with the name. But few know his music; for example, everyone knows and likes the song from Chhaya, Itna na mujhse tu pyar baddha, and the signature tune of the Titan ads, but how many know that it has been culled from his Symphony No 41?

But Indians' ignorance of Mozart does not overly deter K S Bagchi, managing director, Bengal Peerless Housing Development, the company developing Axis mall in Action Area I of New Town, Rajarhat, West Bengal, where a Mozart Centre will come up -- the first outside Austria.

The impressive, 20,000 square feet Centre will have a Mozart Museum, a place that will have paintings and pictures from Mozart's life, and where people can just walk in and listen to some of his music.

Then there'll be a show-area where they can buy tickets to see films on Mozart's life and times, and a commercial area where CDs, VCDs and Mozart merchandise will be on offer.

A Mozart Centre in Kolkata may lead to a few raised eyebrows, but in the West, Mozart is a pop icon, a brand which sells everything from wine to T-shirts, stationery, chocolates, teddy-bears to sausages, yoghurt and even a musical bra. "The Mozart Centre at Axis will offer the entire range of merchandise," says Bagchi.

A memorandum was signed between BPHDCL and the Mozart Museum at Salzburg about a month-and-a-half ago, and work will begin in the next 5-6 months -- as soon as the Austrians come up with a design to go with the space allocated to the Centre on the fifth floor of the mall.

As for the design, while the barebones and the theme -- a recreation of 18 century Salzburg -- have been agreed upon, the exact details will be worked upon once the Salzburg Museum has the exact dimensions of the space that the Centre is to occupy.

Also, the music, pieces of Mozart's works arranged especially to go with the time of the day and the occasion, and lights that change with the music, are being developed.

Bagchi, however, is not too keen on developing the Mozart Centre as a venue for Western classical music performances. "This area will be open to the general public," he hopes.

But how many of the public, whether drawn by curiosity or by the music, will come in -- that's the question.


Gargi Gupta in New Delhi