Phir 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara'...
I am sure everyone, whosoever is in his/her late 20s or older today, must have seen 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' Video on Doordarshan channel when 'Rookavat liye khed hai' line for non-transmission was a regular affair. The 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' song was released on 15th August 1988 on Doordarshan channel and it had 26 famous Indian personalities. The song's duration was around five and a half minutes and it was indeed doused with the spirit of unity in diversity with stalwarts such as Lata Mangeshkar, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and many musicians lending their voice to this composition. The song reverberated the message of integrity in spite of the heterogeneity in this vast land, where the word 'Ali' in 'Diwali' and 'Ram' in 'Ramzan' are embraced seamlessly. The song depicted India as an icon of religious and regional pluralism and the phrases were tailored so graciously that they were prettier than the embroidered border of a designer kurta.
The original 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' was the brainchild of late Suresh Mullick of O & M Advertising.
But recently the new 'Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' Video was released and the modern version was made over after 22 years. The modern version, I am told features 68 famous Indian personalities. Hmmmm, let me equate the famous Indian personalities to Bollywood+Tollywood+Kollywood personalities, in fact all woods minus Hollywood. The song is shot at 15 different locations and features movie and music industry related personalities such as A R Rahman, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Shreya Ghoshal, Shankar Mahadevan and many more. The new song is bit darn lengthy and runs for about sixteen and a half minutes. I feel the soul of the original song was plundered in the new version and the modern edition lacks capacious togetherness which was the marrow of the original song. I may be a bit harsh, but the new 'Phir Mile Sur' doesn't depict unity in diversity, rather its a celebrity parade, a soup of glamorous faces humming the song of unity.
Aarti and Kailash Surendranath, the creators of the modern version of 'Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' should realize that few things are better when left un-touched because those are master pieces and iconic creations of art. Any form of imitation or re-creation, even if the best in state of the art technology and sound effects are used, cannot create the magic of the original piece. The end result is as disappointing as in this attempt of the Surendranath duo. One 'Sur' never got juxtaposed to another 'Sur' which is the prime essence of the original song, rather it appeared to be an emphatic attempt by the artists to lip sync and somehow make it appear as though it were seamless. It is very unfortunate that even patriotism is used for marketing.
To me, the original work and memories of 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' are something best left in dusty frames of Doordarshan channel and not signed by erstwhile wave of commercialization. I still like my paati wali chai, than the tea-bag chai or chai made in any other sophisticated way.
More about chai, here. More about late Suresh Mullick here.
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