Tuesday, January 26, 2010

मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा......

(नई दुनिया,दिल्ली,गणतंत्र दिवस,2010)

The Power of One-ness : Phir Sur Mil Gaya

Bachi Karkaria

Phir goosebumps. Remember the words that had bonded the nation all those years ago: Miley sur mera tumhara, toh sur baney hamara That was when the country was trapped in IMF loans, public sector bunglings and the cliche of national integration.
Indians needed the real thing, and it was provided by Doordarshan, hitherto associated only with the contrived manifestations thereof. Kailash Surendranaths hearttugging , eyes-misting , 16-minute film was launched without fanfare on August 15, 1988, and quickly slipped under the nations skin and into its bloodstream.
The 60th anniversary of the republic finds India on a completely different trajectory. Unleashed , unstoppable, ready to become the third largest economic superpower by 2032, Bharat is already well on the way to being mahaan . So why would we need a revival of that old booster shot
The answer rides on the wings of the old haunting melody, and the same nine words, but entirely re-filmed . Phir Miley Sur records the new beats of India and it is sung by 69 icons instead of the original 26. Phir Miley Sur , presented by The Times of India , and supported by Vodafone , Kingfisher Airlines and Taj Hotels, was launched on Monday the eve of the 60th Republic Day by Amitabh Bachchan. If Delhis fog prevented the I& B minister, Ambika Soni from doing the honours as scheduled, it was arguably the triumph of fitness over form.
For, not only does the Big B represent Hindi cinema, the countrys biggest unifier , he was also the only icon from the original video to figure in the new one. Not just that, he is the only nonsinger who has actually sung the opening bars himself, and then slipping his hands into his pockets slipped into his unmistakable oratory. Theres more thats representative . Bachchan is there, this time with Abhishek and Aishwarya. It is a continuum of the patriotism parampara and perhaps a link into Phir Sur Miley , whenever that is made to record the next spike in the India balance sheet. Louis Banks, who arranged the music for this film, is there with his son Gino; Amjad Ali Khan with Aman and Ayan; Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma with Rahul; Zakir Hussain is there with his brothers Taufiq and Faizal Qureshi and his eight tablas; L Subramaniam is en famille. And Deepika Padukone takes the place of her badminton ace father as she sings in the rain, thankfully without getting her clothes wet. Its not that Bollywood.
Phir may have the same words but it is palpably, six packs-ly different. You can feel it in the cyber rush of A R Rahmans finger board, unveiled here for the first time, in the throb of Shankar Ehsan Loy, in the musical tandava of Shivamani and the electronic twang of the instruments. Even the unsouped-up sitar has Anoushka Shankars burgundy nails careening in controlled frenzy along the strings. Phir is more Nationalism With Attitude than retro remix. Whether it is the packed power of Shah Rukh Khan against the newest icon of new India, the Bandra Worli Sea Link, Amir Khan slyly inserting the Aiye from Aati Kya Khandala into the lyrics, a wonderfully touching cameo of Salman singing with deaf children in sign language, Shahid Kapoor in Chance Pe Dance rock star mode.
The timeless India of its religions, its monuments, its languages is as much on show as Rau Sahibs stunning photography unfolds phir sey. .
The sports icons take over and then hand the baton to the defence services as the last bars of the national anthem work their unfailing magic. Its impossible to remain unmoved. You can check it for yourself on Zoom today, and clear for yourself the doubts expressed by one cynic who had asked its CEO, Suresh Bala, Yeh item number key channel par Mother India kaisey

(टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया,दिल्ली संस्करण,26.1.10)

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