So, by now one is guessing pretty much everyone in this country has seen Zoom's new version of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara and hated it. Everyone, with a TV or access to cable television, and time to care that is. A lot of lucky people one knows, just gave the whole hoopla a miss. But then, a good number of these lucky people would give life a miss, if they could (one is always amazed how a lot of people can go through life in a somnolent haze, it's a marvel of the modern times. Or not). Anyways, one digresses from one's original rant about the horror of epic proportions that the Times of India Group so creatively called "Phir Mile Sur".
One really feels bad for Rahul Gandhi at this point. The video pretty much has every progeny that made big by carrying daddy's glorious name to further heights, and our man, the poster boy for dynasty politics, was left out. The video was so horribly wrong in so many different ways, one does not really see why Times could not have gone ahead and have had him also.
Perhaps, for most of us, who grew up around the late 80s-early 90s the new version is so hard to digest because we associate a certain part of our early life with the original song. Less than a month ago, one spent a happy evening with Gee, looking up all these DD things--Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video, the Baje Sargam song, the ek-chidiya bit, and that Pyar ki Ganga Bahe song and on and on--on YouTube and feeling elated. It was like looking at old albums (the ones that have photographs, and not songs in them)...you kind of remember not just the photos, but how you once were. It's like finding an old faded pieces of yourself.
As a kid one considered oneself very patriotic--one was the kind who passionately delivered speeches for every other Republic Day and Independence Day assembly in school, who meant every word of her "Why I love India" type essays etc etc. One remembers once when one was in 3rd standard, how upset one was because one could not get hold of a tiny paper flag to pin up to one's shirt pocket. One sincerely believed that this was part of the I-day protocol, and one will be considered a second-grade citizen for not having one. one almost felt guilty eating the free laddoo they'd distributed at school...one had to earn that, and without wearing one's patriotism on one's pocket (not sleeve), one certainly had not.
For that kid, Mile Sur meant something. One honestly believed in the whole idea of unity in diversity, one believed that India did indeed have one voice. Even though, growing up, one learns the hard way that along with Santa Clause and Maveli and the Abominable Snowman, a lot of these theories and feelings are just myth and gas, but then there is that child-alter of yours who wants to hold on to them still. Which is why, you still hope for some joy and wine for Christmas and stay up till 3 in the morning to make a pookalam the day before onam. Which is why when you hear Mile Sur Mera Tumhara after some 15 odd years, and see those hundreds of children dressed in green, white and saffron running ahead, you still get goosebumps. And which exactly why, you will hate the new version so much (one WILL NOT call it Phir Mile Sur, unless one is aiming for sarcasm, which right now, one is not).
The new version just pulled the ugly reality which was lurking at the back of your head, and shove it right in your face. It will tell you, that, "Ha! There is NO real India" --not one that belongs to the "real people" anyways. What was then was a media myth, what is today, is also a media myth, only a less romantic one. The "real India" today, has movie stars (and stars, not necessarily actors) as their social idols, has your surname for your ticket to succeed. The "real India" does not care if you work namelessly to train the rural illiterate to harness solar energy, you will still need Shilpa Shetty in a see-through saree to get you in the frame.
The old version still could fit 3 major actors of their time together in one 5 second frame, the new one, each actor needed his own airtime, his own frame, even his own tune. The only people who agreed to share screen space were the children (or were they only the "charity projects"?) and the defense personnel at the end.
So is one surprised? Honestly, no. But one is angry. Because one would have wanted to hold on to one's delusions a bit longer. Because one would still prefer goosebumps to retching disgust.
(If you haven't already, you must, must read Krish Ashok here . Actually, you must, MUST read him here first. Go. NOW.