New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) They have been in the business of music for over 70 years and have played popular tunes at innumerable weddings in the national capital, but now they nurture Bollywood dreams. Jea Band, one of Delhi's oldest brass bands, features in "Love Aaj Kal" and its owner says it could just be its stepping stone into the film world.
"(Director) Imtiaz Ali didn't approach me directly. One of his team members got in touch with me. As far as I know, 'Love Aaj Kal' shows two different time periods and I guess that the director felt that we are the only band that can work on both the eras," Anil Thadani, owner of the band, told IANS.
Talking about "Love Aaj Kal", Anil said: "The production team of the film took photos of our band taken in 1960 and showed it to Imtiaz Ali. After that I met one of the costume designers and she asked me to prepare a sample of the uniform and we did.
"We worked in two schedules and shot with 18 band members for about 10 days in Delhi and outside Delhi."
Starring Saif Ali Khan in a double role along with Deepika Padukone, the film releases July 31.
Established in 1936 by Anil's grandfather Jealal Thadani, Jea band features in the catchy song "Chor bazaari" in "Love Aaj Kal". Anil says this is their second film after Mira Nair's internationally acclaimed "Monsoon Wedding", in which they made a brief appearance.
Interestingly, it was this very band that performed at the wedding of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in Mumbai April 20, 2007.
Now when brass bands are no more that fashionable and in demand at weddings, the band was thrilled to be approached for Ali's film.
The director's working style has impressed Anil. "It was a good experience working with him (Ali). He is not only a good director, but a good person to work with as well."
"We will try to do more films and we are hoping that the film does well at the box office as it will bring more work for us. At the same time I am also planning to expand my business. Right now we work during wedding seasons only, but I aim to work round the year. I want to convert it into an event management company," the entrepreneur said about his future plans.
"My wife has also joined me. And we plan to do everything from planning weddings, birthday parties to inauguration ceremonies. We want to work 24x7," said Anil, an alumnus of Hindu College who willingly joined his father Heera Thadani's family business. His brother, however, works with Lloyds Bank in London.
"I started looking after the work while I was in college. It was my conscious decision to join the family business. My father helps me out. In fact he is more active than me," he added.
Right now Jea Band has two branches in the capital and charges somewhere between Rs.5,000 and Rs.20,000 depending on the season.
"We don't have permanent employees. We have contractual labourers and some of them have worked with us for generations," Anil said.