Whistle while you work, went the old song. Now, whistle while you win. An association named the World Whistlers Convention takes its whistling very seriously and periodically holds competitions for whistlers around the world.
This year the convention took place in Kawasaki, Japan, between July 15 and 17. There were a total of 49 participants from seven countries, the highest from Japan at 36. India had seven entries, the US had three, and Australia, Venezuela, and Korea had one each. There were seven different categories, and the Indian participants were first in four of these.
Coming first in the Hikifuki (self accompaniment) category, Nikhil K Rane whistled AR Rahman’s popular tune Humma Humma from the film Bombay. Rane is teeth whistling (there are different types – inward, outward, puckered, teeth, palette, warbling, bird sound and finger whistling) which makes it look like he isn’t whistling at all.
Swetha Suresh won in two different categories – Recorded Accompaniment (Adult Female Division) and Allied arts. Below is an older video of her whistling while performing the Bharatnatyam.
Here's a shaky video of her performance in the recorded accompaniment category. She is whistling the Tamil song Paatum Naane.
In the video below, BBC covers Suresh's whistling prowess.
Jagat Tarkas won the Recorded Accompaniment Category (Senior Division). He is a mentor to aspiring Indian whistlers, quite literally. The Indian Whistlers Association, with about 300 members, looks to Tarkas as mentor and guide, and not without reason. He has released music CDs of his whistled versions of popular Hindi film tracks. He is also the founder of Whistling World, a Chennai based association of whistlers.
Below is an older video of him performing Main Hun Jhum Jhum Jhumroo.
Another notable mention from the World Whistling Convention was for this pair whistling while doing the salsa.
You can find out more about the whistling community in India by visiting Whistle India. There are currently chapters in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.