Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kya mila sur mera tumhara?

January 26 is a national holiday in India...and a national holiday means no school, no college and no office...but pause - it's applicable only if you are not a journalist. And it gets even worse when you have a night shift. Okay enough of cribbing (as it is we do that on a daily basis without fail), on to the point now.

This 26th I had a night shift. And as I reached office, I saw the television to find Deepika Padukone standing on a rock near a pond, in some weird dress (apologies: I've no clue what that dress is called) moving her hands in air, and suddenly it began to rain on her face. I couldn't hear the sound as the TV was muted...but then I discovered a slug at the bottom of the screen - Phir Mile Sur, just when a colleague told me it was a new version of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, a song that once evoked the feel of national integration in our hearts even as children.

So now I had the urge to watch the whole song. I chose not to watch it from middle so logged on to the Mecca of videos, YouTube. Searched the video there and began watching it.

It was a pleasure to watch it begin with the musical genius, A R 'Oscar' Rehman, followed by the legend, Amitabh Bachchan.

Well, the song continued and it was nearing 8 minutes. I thought it was approaching its end, just when I found that it ended abruptly and YouTube suggested me to watch the second part. And then I found that the second part as well was 8-minute long. I must admit that the length was a disappointment for me.

However, I managed to watch the whole video.

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – the older version – has been very close to our hearts. The video was successful in portraying a picture of almost all the cultures and languages in India. It depicted the real India. But the new version, simply, fails to do that.

The new version, like the older one, thrives on celebrities, on some of the most popular faces of the nation, but unlike the older version, it depicts them as mere celebrities and not Indians. There were more number of celebrities – big and small – in the older version, but they were portrayed as one amongst many Indians.

The new Mile Sur is an attempt to present a glorified picture of India, which is larger than life, which is rich, developing and prosperous. It appears to be a deliberate attempt to go deeper into the Indian scenario. This video doesn’t show a poor ‘Mahawat’ on his elephant, sporting a smile and singing Mile Sur Mera Tumhara in his mother tongue; it doesn’t show an Om Puri as a member of a middle class farmer family of Punjab; it doesn’t show a Kamal Hasan sitting as a music lover among others listening to Balamuralikrishnan. It rather shows Amitabh Bachchan walking near Hotel Taj; it shows Yesudas singing the song in a hi-tech music studio; it shows Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Amjad Ali Khan playing instruments along with their children at a royal palace; it shows Shah Rukh Khan in his famous since-DDLJ-act with a backdrop of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

I really don’t intend to say that it’s fake. Certainly it’s not, but actually it is not a representation of the real India. Scenes as seen in the older version are still in plenty in our country and I don’t believe it to be a matter of shame to showcase the factual picture of it.

The song also has some glaring misses. And the most glaring of them is Sachin Tendulkar, the man who has done our country proud at not one but innumerable instance. How can we talk of Indian heroes and not include him? One may cite availability issue at the time of the shoot but it must be realized that the video has certainly not been shot in a short span of time. If the makers can make Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, A R Rehman, Abhinav Bindra, Saina Nehwal be a part of it, then there’s no possible reason why Sachin could not be accommodated.

Others missing in the video are the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni – who has captained the Indian Cricket (called a religion in India) team to gain the number 1 spot, APJ Abdul Kalam – the man behind making India a nuclear power, Gulzar – man who made us proud at the Oscars.

And another major disappointing factor of the new version is the music. The original tune of the song was composed by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and was then improvised upon by other music directors, majorly by Louis Bank, who can be seen in the new version playing an instrument. But Louis fails to recreate the magic, and so do Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.

Probably, some things must better be left untouched and cherished in their basic original form, rather than making them samples for experiment. Probably, kuch sur hamesha nahi milte