Shammi Narang is a renowned voice-over artist, Delhi-based businessman, and former Indian news presenter who used to read news on Doordarshan during the 1970s – 80s. He was a part of the Hindi division of Voice of America and is known for being the voice of the Delhi metro services.
Shammi Narang was born on Sunday, 25 November 1956 (age 66 years; as of 2022) in Delhi, India. his zodiac sign is Sagittarius. Soon after completing his school education, he joined Andhra Education Society, Rouse Avenue, ITO, Delhi to pursue a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Later, he attained his post-graduation degree in Metallurgy. His grandfather and father were of Lahnda origin and were recruited into the Indian Armed Forces. When Shammi was young, his father persuaded him to opt for stunt riding as a hobby. After completing his college studies, he worked as a stunt rider at Escorts for some time. According to Shammi Narang, when he was studying at college, he went on the stage in the auditorium of IIT, Delhi campus during an event to check mike sound and started saying one two three check words on the mike. His voice was noticed by Flanager, a technical director of the United States Information Service (Delhi), and offered Shammi to assist him in the sound testing. Thereafter, Flanager asked Shammi to meet Shastri, a Hindi scholar, who later, trained Shammi Narang to join the Hindi division of Voice of America as a voice artist. According to Shammi Narang, initially, Shastri interviewed Shammi by asking him to read a Hindi language paper and Flanager was also present during this interview. In an interview with a media house, Shammi Narang disclosed that Flanager and Shastri were so impressed by Shammi’s voice that Flanager gave him rupees two hundred as advance, which was a huge amount for Shammi at that time. Shammi narrated,
Shastriji asked me ‘Hindi aati hai’? I had left Hindi in class VIIIth. But, I insisted I knew. He gave me a page to read. I did. Without knowing what it all was. Within 15 minutes, Flanager gave me Rs.200 as ‘payment’. I was stunned! Those days, it was a huge amount. My mess charge for a month was Rs.95.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Sardar Paijwant Singh Narang, and he worked in the Indian Army. Shammi Narang has two brothers Varinder Narang and Dr SPS Narang, who is a retired army officer.
Wife & Children
Shammi Narang is married to Dolly Narang, and she is a classical music singer.
Shammi Narang is also a semi-trained singer. The couple often sings together and shares their video on many social media platforms. Dolly Narang hails from Chandigarh. She is the disciple of renowned Indian musician Jaidev. Dolly frequently performs ghazal shows and events in India.
The couple has a son named Dishant Narang. Dishant is married to Ridhima Narang.
He follows the Sikh religion.
Shammi Narang joined an organisation named Larsen & Toubro in Delhi for some time and worked as its marketing professional soon after completing his formal education.
According to Shammi Narang, he competed with over 10,000 aspirants during the auditions held at Doordarshan in 1982 and was selected as its television presenter. He mentioned in a media conversation that during the auditions, he was dressed up in a t-shirt and tattered jeans. Soon after the auditions at Doordarshan, his voice tone was praised by Devki Nandan Pandey, a former news anchor at Doordarshan. He served the Doordarshan for twenty years as a news and television presenter.
During those days, Doordarshan was the sole channel on television and was restricted to only vocal illustrations and few visuals while presenting news. Shammi Narang’s Hindi pronunciation and diction were so alluring that soon after joining DD, he became a recognisable face of the channel. It was considered at that time that the aura of news presenters was so strong that they had the power to influence the government for them. Once, he narrated an incident from the 1980s when he was a news anchor at DD. Shammi stated that he read some news related to the new pension scheme for the Indian ex-servicemen on DD, and after two days, an elderly retired Havaldar turned up at his house and started pleading to update his pension scheme. In the same discussion, he added that according to some media sources, the news presenters of the 1970s – 80s era were influenced by the then government of India and read out news in favour of the government. Shammi rejected all the blames and clarified that the news readers did not read the lie; however, they often tried to hide the truth. Gradually, cable and satellite television started dominating Doordarshan, which in turn could not confront the competition as DD refused to telecast live news, events, and programs. This led to the downfall of Doordarshan. Its competitors started hiring young people as news presenters; however, DD had middle-aged news anchors and crews. According to Shammi Narang, he would have been a misfit in the current era of television. He said,
It has become ‘trivialised’ and added that ‘the young reporters, fresh out of college, in vogue now would be good in interviewing filmstars but wouldn’t be an appropriate choice before Dr Karan Singh or Manmohan Singh.”
After serving Doordarshan for twenty years, Shammi Narang began working as a voice-over and a theatre artist. He has worked with well-known theatre personalities like Sheila Bhatia. Apart from being a voice-over artist, he frequently appears as a compere at the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Awards ceremonies since 1997.
The official audio guides of the heritage memorials of several Indian states like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Mysore are recorded in the voice of Shammi Narang. He was a part of the Guinness record-breaking tea party as compere in Indore in 2013. In 2009, during the Jai Ha! campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the general assembly elections, the Kaka Hathrasi’s satirical jingles were sung by Shammi Narang. According to Shammi Narang, the biggest asset of communication is voice. Shammi Narang talked about the criteria needed in the voice-over industry in a media interview. He said,
Voice is the biggest asset of communication’ and it can get one a very decent pay even at the starting level.”
Shammi Narang started his own recording studio named Pin Drop in 1998. This recording studio is considered the first digital studio in Delhi and is very famous among several voice-over artists and musicians of India.
Shammi Narang works as a visiting faculty at MADarts, which was founded by late comedian and actor Jaspal Bhatti. It is a film school. Shammi lent his voice in its two-minute award-winning film ‘Nanhi Chidiya.’
In 2008, Shammi Narang worked in a live television show named Be Positive. For the pictursation of this live show, Shammi and his three companions travelled from Delhi to Haridwar. This show was telecasted live on the spiritual lifestyle channel, Pragya TV. Later, he composed a song titled ‘Na Jaane Kya Rishta’ for Tata Tea’s television advertisement. He then appeared in the television show “History of TV News | 75th #IndependenceDay Special TV Newsance Episode 143” on the channel TV Newsance by Newslaundry as a special guest.
The Voice on the Metro
Shammi Narang is best known for being the voice of all Hindi in-train and in-station voice messages and announcements of the Delhi Metro, Rapid Metro Gurgaon, Mumbai Metro, Bangalore Metro, Jaipur Metro, and the Hyderabad Metro Rail. These announcements are playing day and night inside and outside the Delhi Metro. One can hear him guiding the passengers about the dos and don’ts along with his courteous ‘Please mind the gap!’ sentence.
Shammi Narang appeared in the film Lakhamandal by Govind Nihalani and Uttejna by Ashok Wazirani. According to Shammi Narang, he likes to produce Hindi language corporate films. In 2011, he worked in the film Jessica Lal Murder Case as Justice Jain.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
In 2019, Shammi Narang was honoured with the Mahatma Gandhi National Award by the Government of India.
Shammi Narang owns a Royal Enfield.
- According to Shammi Narang, he likes to play jazz drums and harmonium in his leisure time.
- Shammi Narang follows a non-vegetarian diet. Once, in a media interview, Shammi Narang disclosed his food habit. He stated that he liked to eat Banjara kabab, Galouti kabab, Zimikan and Anjeer kabab from “Kabab-e-Azam.” In the same conversation, he narrated that he liked to cook Chinese food at his home. He said,
My whole family was in the Army. We used to party there and I would often try my hand at making Chinese food. But my favourite always remained ‘ande-paranthe’ sold outside Vikram Hotel in Delhi. My father could cook mutton. My mom used to serve us baingan ka bharta and phulka with dollops of desi ghee – just awesome.”
- When he was studying in college, Shammi Narang liked to perform many adventurous activities like stunt riding. Thereby, he pursued his hobby after completing his college education by working as a stunt rider at Escorts. In an interview with a media reporter, he disclosed that he was inspired by the character of veteran actor Rishi Kapoor in the Hindi film Bobby, which thrilled him to perform such stunts. He added that he broke the bone of his nose in the late 1980s while performing a stunt.
- Once, while conversing with a media reporter, Shammi Narang remembered a shocking incident that happened to him during the auditions at Doordarshan studio in the 1980s. He stated that he ignored the veteran media personality Devki Nandan Pandey by mistake. He said,
When I came back, an old gentleman with an amazing voice asked me, ‘To ye tumne padha? Achcha padha’. I said thanks and went ahead. A staffer rushed to me asked ‘Who do you think you are? You know who this gentleman was?’ I pleaded ignorance and he said to my shock, ‘It was Devki Nandan Pandey’!”
- Reportedly, Shammi Narang did not like the Page 3 culture of the Indian entertainment industry. In a discussion with a media house, he called page 3 culture his inborn complex. He said,
Call it my inborn complex — I don’t like page 3 culture. It has more of artificiality and less of warmth.”
- Shammi Narang is well versed in the Hindi language. He is often spotted discussing the importance of the Hindi language at various events and occasions. On such occasion, in 2016, on Hindi Diwas, Shammi Narang described that the young children in India should not be pressurised to learn hard core Hindi words, and the difficult words must be replaced with easier ones so that these words could be used in our day to day lives. Shammi Narang said,
The difficult and rare words that are not in use in our day-to-day life should be replaced by common, simple words.”