The last place you'd expect a music album to be launched is Tihar Jail. But come later this year, that's exactly what is going to happen. Tihar's inmates have become the first, worldwide to cut a commercial music album from inside a jail.
A melodious voice adds to this guitar and tabla jugalbandi but this isn't just any other jamming session. Amit Saxena and six others are humming a new tune of life - behind the bars at Tihar Jail. Here now for nine years, Amit has finally found his calling.
Six months ago Tihar Jail launched Tihar Idols, inspired by the successful musical reality show 'Indian Idol'. About 350 contestants and many elimination rounds later, the winning bunch has now become the first worldwide to cut a commercial music album from inside a jail.
The album which comes out later this year, has all six songs composed, written and performed by the Tihar Idol finalists - and for many that is a ray of hope. "Today, I regret what I did and I don't ever want to go back. Tihar Idols has shown me the way forward," says Amit.
Jail superintendent Rajesh Chauhan, too, is amazed at the change that this competition has brought about in the inmates. Chauhan says, "I know that when these guys step out, they will quit the lives they knew until now and will do something big for themselves."
This is just the beginning for the winners of Tihar Idol. Music One records has promised to continue endorsing them even after they have served their sentence. Naresh Bainsla said, "Once they leave Tihar, we want them singing for films and will release more music albums with them."
Today, for the men and women of Tihar, their past has ceased to matter. Every song they sing and every tune they compose, they do it with hope in their hearts. And this proud group that's cut its first album has proved that there is definitely a life beyond Tihar.
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