DOCUMENTARY In a school in rural Kalimpong, children find joy in Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss… SAVITHA GAUTAM

A gainst the setting sun stands the Kanchenjunga in all its glory with green vales stretching out in front of it. In the foreground, little boys and girls play Mozart's ‘Eine kleine nachtmusik' on their violins, their faces writ with concentration, even as their ‘Rudra Sir' dons the conductor's cap. It is picture-postcard perfect… truly, a sight to behold!

Who would believe that these children, who belong to small villages in and around Kalimpong, West Bengal, and are students of the Gandhi Ashram School, hail from poor homes and have big dreams?

It is incredible how certain genres of music play a vital role in shaping the destinies of people in remote corners of our country. Remember Shillong's Lou Majou and his obsession with Bob Dylan?

Well, the story of these young violinists in the making is what documentary filmmaker Trisha Das captures in her half-hour ‘Fiddlers On The Thatch' to be aired on NDTV's Documentary 24x7.

Just like Maria

At the Gandhi Ashram School, music teacher Rudra Mani trains children aged between six and 16 in Western classical music.

He has returned to his hometown from Kolkata, leaving behind a lucrative career in an orchestra, to spread the love for music among these gifted students.

“I feel like Maria of The Sound Of Music. Both of us belong to the hills and have an undying passion for music.”

For the children, playing on the violin gives them a sense of freedom… it becomes a symbol of liberation.

Little Soni, who was chosen for a scholarship to attend a well-known boarding school nearby because of her musical prowess, says, “I heard the symphonies of Mozart only when I learnt to play them. It makes me feel confident and gives me a lot of happiness.” Her mother, a maid in Delhi, is proud of her daughter's achievements.

For Teg Bahadur, his family does not have enough money to buy him a pair of new slippers but that does not stop him from bowing to perfect pitch the tunes of Vivaldi or Strauss or Beethoven.

Music acts as a catalyst of change, opening up new horizons in their otherwise impoverished and humdrum lives.

The deprived kids gain their dignity and hopes of a teacher who feeds their bodies and spirit with the sound of music.

This heart-warming tale in fact won the 51st National Film Award (Non-Feature).

Telecast timings: November 13 at 3 p.m. and repeats on November 14 at 1 p.m. on Documentary 24x7