NEW DELHI: After inviting a high-powered guest, the NDA Government is leaving no stone unturned, to make this Republic Day parade a memorable one.
US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest at the parade and such is the pressure to make the event showcasing India’s military might glitch-free, that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is giving the parade a face-lift. Besides focusing on the displays, the ceremonial division of the MoD is working to make the commentary of the parade more polished and ‘flawless’.
The ceremonial division of the MoD, which co-ordinates with all the stake holders of the parade, is currently hunting for a fresh voice for English, as well Hindi commentary. Though the primary focus will be to make the English commentary more impressive, the Hindi voice-over is also being given serious thought, as this is going to be the first parade for the Modi Government.
Officials from the ceremonial division say the selection of four commentators -- two each for English and Hindi - is still underway. From last year’s list of commentators, which include Sandhya Sharma and Rajshree Trivedi for Hindi and Wing Commander Sujata Tiwari and Colonel Anil Nayar for English, the MoD has also invited five new candidates.
“This year we intend to include a male voice for Hindi and a new female voice for English commentary, as well as citation of gallantry awards. We want this year’s commentary to be more polished and impressive,” said a senior MoD official.
A source said a Flight Lieutenant of the Air Force has been chosen by the selection panel as the female English commentator.
Officials involved in the selection told Express that the selection was in its last leg. In the past, there have been instances where the commentators fumbled, while pronouncing names and designations of the participating contingent.
“Fumbling and mispronunciation does happen, while speaking names and ranks of the officials. But this time, we want to minimise it, by giving enough time to the commentators to practice,” an official said.
Two years ago, a commentator, who was the wife of a top MoD official, had created a ruckus in the commentary box on the day of full dress rehearsal. She insisted on reading the full commentary and asked the other female commentator, who had been rehearsing it for over a month time, to leave.
Besides commentary, the MoD is also making extra seating arrangements for about 100-odd foreign journalists, who are expected to come with US President for the Republic Day celebrations.