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


  1. what do u want with da new version? what will sachin and dhoni do in a song? u say that da video is very long its nearly 16 mins lemme know one thing kya usme mehnat nahi lagi babane me aise hi ban gayi? u say there are only celebs in that video and no indian tell me arent they indians? and u say dat when u saw deepika u had an urge to see dat video if there had been sme normal women in dat video may be u would nt have even stopped to have glimps of it. may be u would have an urge to change da channel too. u say 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. dont u think dat these pictures are true? dont u find that india is developing and becoming rich? u still want to see the same elephant and mahavat moving on da streets irrespective of da fact dat u would have reached ur office in a cab. u want to see same poor people of india and da same old musical instruments. to this i would say wake up bro come out to a new world and see da future the things in da older version were a past see da present and future.
    u seems to be disappointed with da music of newer version lemme know if we still keep following da same music and tune how will da other musicians get to show their talent?
    u want to accmodate sachin, dhoni, gulzar,and abdul kalam too to this video. my bro these people will also add to da length of this video which u did nt like in da very begining.
    all what i hv to comment on ur view bout dis video is that wake up cme to da present and see da new inventions and innovations of india.
    nw go watch da song from my point of view and see the DIFFERENCE.

  2. well done...! being a journalist the same was expected frm u dear. but m sorry 2 say i don agree with u. the song represents today's INDIA.
    today no unity is left amongst the people. biggest criminals are leading us.people r fighting 4 statehood n regional languages. no 1 asks abt what a common man wants. the song shows whats happening 2day. every1 loves glamorous models thts y deepika padukone is featured.
    which old song mile sur u talking abt? tht vanshished a long timeback. look at ur self u also asking y sachin is not there. y don u ask - y the air chief marshal or army chief is not there? sir time has changed n i have no complains with the song of current situation.

  3. Very good observation Shobhit. Your point of view is right. There is a lot missing in this video. And yes, many of us will keep pretending to accept that we are developing and becoming rich n all, n then someone from another nation will come to present the true picture of the 'real'India.

  4. First of all, I must congratulate you that you finally started your blog. Now coming to the point, very well written piece with the musings of a thoughtful mind, articulated in a witty manner. Don't know about the new Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, but tumhara sur zaroor dhyaan se suna jaega!

  5. well said shobhit.... dis is indeed a heartfelt description of d experiece of "phir mile sur mera tumhara".... i agree wid evry wrd of it.... and adding to d list of "not icluded" r d ppl who made us proud at d olympics.... rathore , bindra and d lik
    dis vrsion defiitely lacks d "indianness"... its superficial

  6. very well said i completely agree the original one was a masterpiece and the d new version cannot recreate the glory of old version........cheers shweta

  7. good articulation of thoughts..but i defy to agree to it completely...why do we always have to crib about things and not make an attempt to find the beauty in it and appreciate it as it is...why cant we appreciate and appraise someone who takes the initiative to do something creative..look into the asthetic sense of it and not count what could be done and what has been done..."mile sur mera tumhara" has been a almost like a national song but if you be honest enough,in the recent past did it ever cross your mind...the song in a new avatar,does to some extent instil the sense of national integration and love for the personal thought...its a great initiative taken..loopholes are there,but if ignored it definitely makes you rejuvinate the past with a new vigour and a fresh look !!!

  8. G.K.Varma said...
    congrats. a very good attempt - as a starter, I believe.Being confessional, haven't seen(or heard) the new version as yet, but can feel the 'misses'as vividly described by you.Am even greatly surprised at the keen observation of the old version which still echoes in our ethos and soul - quite natural for us of yesteryears - but it highly surprised me how intense was your observation of the finer nuances of the older version - with precision - which even we couldn't put our fingers on exactly. Really a great observational capacity. keep it up. But I must caution you not to see everything only cynically. Subject to my still watching the newer version and forming my own independent opinion over it, I must express that every creator wants to do something new and tries hard to do different from the former, so as not to be blamed an imitator, and representing the novelty of latest achievements; but, nevertheless, such new creation must be a sequel to the original one, maintaining the same rhythm, purpose, pathos and vibes. As pointed out by you, missing personalities like Prof. Kalam, Tendulkar and Dhoni from the 'younger India' version is certainly a major lapse.
    Hoping to find the newer version 'tolerable' enough, once again wishing you all success of your blog. Godspead.

  9. @Ankit: First of all, thanks a lot for bothering to comment on my blog, that too in such length. Now ur comment...if sachin n dhoni cant do anythng in a song, what are vijender and saina nehwal doing? At least Sachin has proved himself on several ocasns rather than Saina and Vijender. So yeah, he is undoubtedly a bigger hero, who shudnt hv been missed. And never did i say that no effort (mehnat) was put in in the making of the video, of course it was, but certainly, th direction of th efforts cud hv been much better. And a correction (probably u need to read it agn) it was not deepika who urged me to watch th video, it was the Phir Mile Sur tag and my colleague telling me that it was th new version of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.
    And I have mentioned it very very clearly that i dont say it's fake, but it certainly is not real india. India is not just bout Delhi or Mumbai, it is bout the hundreds and thousands of villages and small towns, which have a totally different scenario. I wudnt hv wanted the mahavat if that was still not th case in our country. And the cab thing...u know that it is only in cities like delhi, mumbai, pune and bangalore that u get the facility, not in Kanpur or Ranchi or Lucknow or Gondia or Benaras. Things shown in th older version are not past bro, they very much exist in the newer version.
    And the music - i've mentioned that the same musician has wrkd on this version as well - Louis Banks, n others included r Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and A R Rehman, who are in no way 'new' or 'budding'.
    Sachin, Gulzar n Rehman wud have replaced th likes of Abhishek Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty and Deepika Padukone, so no extension of time required.
    Now all that i have to say - bro, realise what's real india deep within...

  10. @Vivek: Thanx for th comment bhai...but u talk bout lack of unity in today's india, well, do u mean to say that riots did not take place in th past?or people were not killed in th name of caste in th past? U talk bout statehood n regionalism in to day's india - my dear, agitations in th name of language has been goin on in Tamil Nadu since immediate post-independence era, th struggle for Telangana is almost 40-year-old.
    And the old mile sur never vanished, we still surf youtube to find th video, we stil have th lyrics n music in our minds.
    And m not asking bout th air chief or army chief coz they cant b a part of any sch video, they r not entitled to....

  11. @Amit: haan bhai finally started my blog...thnxx for th wishes

  12. Great to see you write your first blog Shobhit. Some very good observations there and an engrossing read. I am still to see the video but I also think that we have a habit of hanging on to the "classic" and always comparing newer attempts to them....Maybe having such expectations is against the spirit of creativity. If we do not creat space for the new, we will be stuck in history forever. I will make sure I see this video asap. Keep the thoughts flowing!

  13. @Nimisha and Shweta: Thanks a lotttt :)

  14. @Priyanki: Thanks for the comment. So if its bout creativity, why not create a completely new thing altogether? And bout the initiative, probably u dont know, the maker of this is the same as the previous one, Kailash Surendrnath. So it's not an innovation, but appears to b an attempt to relive the past glory. And 'honestly' speaking, th older version not js crossed my mind, but i often happen to see it on youtube. So yeah, i've always remembered it. But yes, i completely agree, this version did make me get deeper into th older version... :)

  15. @Papa: Thanks a lot for the appreciation. And I agree that there should be an attempt to do something different, but then, why not completely different. If you thrive on your past glory, a comparison is quite obvious...And yeah I must tell you, the newer version is tolerable, it is not that bad...

  16. @Aditi: Thanks a lot for the comment Aditi. I wouldn't have compared the two if it was not termed Phir Mile Sur, and if the music was not based on the original version...However, I agree that there should be space for creativity...

  17. Man u got it right. U remeber the cliches, Old is gold. It very much applies always. Mile sur part one was THE best. U just cannt make another Sholay... Ask Ramu!!! - Saif

  18. stupid blog.......people out there have so much of spare time!!

  19. @Anonymous...y dont u write ur name...n how mch of spare time do u have to read the whole thing n term it a 'stupid blog'?? u shud dare to write ur name at least

  20. भाई मेरे, माफ कर दो उस बेचारे को, उसने तो वैसे ही बना दिया है... :)

  21. Ok, so several issues! Like you knew I would have!

    It's unfair to compare the old version to this one. If something is good it's just plain old good. Or vice-versa. Don't compare it to something, to determine it's worth.

    The length was definitely disappointing. 16 minutes is a ridiculous amount of minutes for one video! And some of the stars were looking very superficial. Dipika's being the worst. And... yes I admit it, Shahrukh wasn't special either. Salman was great. Aamir's kya bolti tu, mile sur was way random and jarring, and Shilpa Shetty? Why was she there?

    Moving on...

    Yes, there is a "real" India. But that doesn't make the India that you and I live in, any less real. Let's be optimistic, and celebrate the strides we've taken rather than forever looking at it as a half empty glass? Why should we glorify India as a poor slum dwelling nation? Slumdog's been there, done that! Yes, we have miles to go as a country but let's pause and congratulate ourselves for a bit, by creating this "glorified" world.

    I do agree that cultural references were scanty and would have made this video much richer. Folk singers from Rajasthan, more ingenuity in the shots taken, more 'traditional' elements for lack of a better word.

    Cool observations!

    P.S. Stop cribbing about being the only people to work on the 26th of Jan. Journalists weren't the only people working. I worked as well. And you and I both know, I'd run a mile from journalism! lol

  22. Very well written and i agree with some of the factors like the missing ethnic touch and famous personalities like Sachin, javed akhtar, asha bhosle and many more... But on the other hand there were things which were very pleasing , like the inclusion of all the regional languages, many well known celebrities like salman khan shown with his foundation and some places where the modern beats went very well.... Ofcourse Deepika Padukone's dress could have been better!

  23. cant avoid th comparison here...isnt it?? Like u wud hv certainly compared ur SRK's Don wid that starring Big B.

    And i agree...Salman was really good...And Aamir, SRK etc were disappointing.

    Yeah so moving on...

    I never said that the India shown is fake. And it's not bout showcasing the slums. There are several things to be displayed in th rural India as well. And it's not bout not realising the achievements, n for that matter, Chandrayaan n G Madhavan Nair must hv been thr, as dat's th most remarkable achievmnt in recent times - bringing ISRO at par with NASA. So yeah, i dont intend to take away any credit that our nation deserves...

    By th waz, will certainly try n b more positive in my next post :)

  24. Forgot to mention...the above reply was for Jaahaan...

  25. @Nisheeta: Thanks for agreeing on the points. However, there were more regional languages in the original version. So there's nothing new bout it. And yeah, Salman's part was really good...n Deepika's dress, well I dont have any clue..dont evn knw wot its called :P

  26. By the way, Ad is looking nice... :)

  27. Thank u sir ji...waise aapke blog ko humne add kar liya hai... :)

  28. Once a journo, always a journo ;)... Jab tak taang naa kheecho chain kaha!!! jaaney dey rey ... bacha hai director bechara... actually he was told to showcase Congress' Shining India ;);)
    Jokes apart... you have all the ingredients of a damm good critique. I am IMPRESSED...keep it up and whenever you post new posting, let me know. Good luck... HS BEDI

  29. @Hardeep Sir: Thanks a lot for the encouraging words sir. It's an honour... :)

  30. I agree to your views, there is nothing so great about this video, that we should specially watch it, seems like a portrayal of the fusion culture in India. Something like the shining India theme is pressed upon, but the message fails to come out clearly... But how can they show real india without the common people, Indain people are much smarter these days, they cannot accept something that is just a glamourised piece of work in name of patriotism. The new version could not revoke the idea of patriotism like the old one..

  31. Yes, Shobhit im also agree wid you....

    Iss naye video main kafi log hain jo missing hain, or koi khass impressive video nahi hai.

    Sonu Nigam ney hi sabse mast gaya hai....
    ye essa video nhi hai ki jissey main baar baar dekhon bus ek baar dekh kar hi.... bhool gaya main to...
    Na next time dekhney ki ichaa hai....

    Old is gold...

  32. @Kritika: Thanks for the comment. And exactly,Indian people are quite smart to accept this as a representation of India...

  33. @Viren: Dhanyawad for the comment sir. Actually, iss video mein kuch impressive nahi hai.

  34. Even I was stunned to see Deepika Padukone with (rather without) her clothing....But moving ahead...I have lots of agreement with you.

    Its been 18 years I have been watching Mile Sur Mera Tumhara...and Honestly speaking even I liked the smaller Kid Elephant right from Chldhood days.

    Some may say that its our biasness and sentiments which keeps us binded to past glory and resists ourselves to welcome a change...true the sentence but untrue in absolute terms in the context presented here.

    Its not the presence of stars like Sachin or Dhoni or A R is the matter of Unity in Diversity...the prime objective the video was created for. Even now it is claimed to be the prime objective but it is just claimed, it does not deserves.

    It is an attempt of a modern day marketeer to encash upon the patriotic sentiments of ours. Characters are chosen considering the target audience...nobody will like many of modern time persons know about him...Gulzar ki baatein samajhta kahan hai koi...All the stars are selected to appeal to a brand anything but India. It features mostly those who features mostly on P3 and have hardly done anything great for the name a few..Shahid kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika, Shaimak Davar, Karan Johar etc. Unfortunately they have been able to successfully create a mess.

    Worst cinematography...even a blind can say these are studio poses question on authenticity of their existence.

    We want India to change, grow, prosper, transform...this is possible only with the growth of middle class...and this middle class is shown not at all....

  35. Well....I missed to ask everyone...what is great Salman Khan has done for our country...Killed people on the streets!!!!

  36. hey u have done a great job. I completely agree with you. what i feel is India is incomplete without its rural part and songs like this are a kind of binding force for without our rural friends we don't stand any where...jai hind!

  37. I agree with you to some extent. I saw the video and it failed to touch a chord inside... It's more beautified rather than beautiful. Even if I don't compare it with the older one...its look and feel is very commercial.

    Everything today has reduced to making money I guess. Be it journalism or Cinema or sports... Celebs sell!