Every day, as over 50 lakh commuters travel on the Delhi Metro, a familiar phrase echoes through the stations: *"Darwaje bayein taraf khulenge"* (doors will open on the left). However, few are acquainted with the individuals responsible for these voices that make public transportation a smoother experience for all. Let's meet the voices behind the Delhi Metro announcements.
Shammi Narang, often dubbed as the Walter Cronkite of Indian broadcast history, is nothing short of a legend. His voice graces not only the Delhi Metro but also the Gurgaon, Jaipur, and Mumbai metro systems. Beyond urban mass transit, his resonant voice guides visitors through the audio guides of heritage monuments in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Mysore.
Narang's journey into the world of voiceovers began unexpectedly. A graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, he was discovered at the age of 19 when he was asked to perform a microphone sound test at the campus' auditorium. This seemingly minor event became a life-changing turning point, leading him to take over the Hindi division of Voice of America. In 1982, he was selected from among thousands of applicants for a position at Doordarshan, marking the start of his two-decade-long association with the channel.
Shammi Narang, renowned for his news anchoring skills, is the man behind the iconic Hindi announcements in the Delhi Metro. At 66 years old, his voice has graced all Hindi in-train and in-station announcements across multiple metro systems, including Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur, and Hyderabad.
Born in Delhi, Narang initially pursued engineering before venturing into the world of voiceovers with the Hindi division of Voice of America. Following a successful career with Doordarshan, where he established himself as one of the finest news presenters, he transitioned to voice acting.
Subsequently, Shammi Narang founded Studio Pindrop, Delhi's first digital recording studio, which has gained popularity among voice-over artists and musicians alike. His illustrious career extends beyond voiceovers, encompassing theater and teaching roles at a film school.
Rini Simon Khanna, a former television news anchor and accomplished voice-over professional, is the woman behind the English announcements on the Delhi Metro. Her voice resonates through all English in-train and in-station announcements.
Renowned for her tenure as a Doordarshan anchor and her current profession as a voice-over artist, Rini Khanna's voice is a familiar presence in the Delhi Metro. Despite her deep voice, her announcements may sound somewhat robotic due to the absence of colloquial modulations, but they are delivered with clarity.
Interestingly, although the Delhi Metro commenced operations in 2002, Rini Khanna didn't board a metro train until 2011. Her initial experience offered her a newfound appreciation for the importance of these announcements to commuters.
Rini Khanna embarked on her career with All India Radio and subsequently worked with Doordarshan until 2001. Later, she transitioned into the world of professional voice acting.
She holds a degree in English literature from Delhi University and pursued a postgraduate diploma in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Delhi.
In their distinctive ways, Shammi Narang and Rini Khanna have left an indelible mark on the Delhi Metro, ensuring that millions of passengers have safe and informed journeys every day. Their voices not only guide but also comfort commuters, making them integral to the fabric of Delhi's bustling metro system.