Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, the iconic anthem written by Piyush Pandey with which thousands of Indians of a particular generation grew up, had recently been re-shot in a new avatar. The new version was released in Mumbai on Republic Day earlier this week. The popularity of the original version of this anthem cannot be gauged in words as it was highly successful in generating patriotic fervor among the masses. The original video featured some of the most popular Indians of that era, like Amitabh Bacchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Jitendra, dancer Mallika Sarabhai, cartoonist Mario Miranda, filmmaker Mrinal Sen, Sunil Gangopadhyay, author Annadashankar Ray, singers Bhimsen Joshi, M Balamuralikrishna, Lata Mangeshkar, Suchitra Mitra and sportspersons Narendra Hirwani, S Venketaraghavan, Prakash Padukone, amongst many others. The sweet melody of the original version, coupled with the different tunes and ragas incorporated from various parts of the country, made one instantly feel proud of the country. The initiative to bring out the video in a completely new avatar to suit contemporary needs is indeed a commendable initiative as it is time to rouse those feelings of patriotism once again in the hearts and minds of our countrymen. However, I was greatly disappointed when I watched the new version of this anthem, Phir Mile Sur, which has been composed by Louis Banks and which features a host of artistes from the entertainment world. Incidentally, Louis Banks had also composed the original 1988 version along with late P Vaidyanathan. The celebrities which feature in the new video are Amitabh Bacchan, his son Abhishek and Aishwarya Bacchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Shilpa Shetty, among many other personalities from all walks of life. Basically, I could not find any sense of rhythm or melody in the new song. There was no flow as such and the whole song had well-coordinated stretches which were incorporated in a haphazard manner. It is a big disappointment and I feel they would have done better had they stayed even somewhat closer to the original concept. I am also distressed at the way the video has been picturised. Has India today become limited only to Bollywood? This is what one feels after watching the video, which has celebrities from Bollywood being the sole representatives of the Indian spirit. The Northeast again has been totally left out of the picture with its only representative being a failing, old Bhupen Hazarika humming a Bengali number. While this is definitely an issue that needs to be taken up by our intellectuals and learned people, we should also start thinking as to how many people from the region have actually achieved something to have merited a place in the video in the first place. All in all, a big disappointment. Both the video and also our Indian culture, if it has indeed become what the video depicts it to be.
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