Friday, January 29, 2010

Look Mommy! No Goosbumps!

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) 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 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.


So said...

Agree with every word and every feeling in between...Wonder if we should forward this to Zoom, Times and whoever else was irresponsible enough to make the video.

ScrewDriver said...

i lasted around 4 mins ... then i switched it off.
till date havent seen it yet
dont plan to. I'd rather have memories than nightmares.

Tsu said...

I am not shocked or angry at this point cause this is not a new phenomena. We already have horrible sounding remixes (some, very few - counting one hand's finger tips good remixes I still continue to hear) and reproductions of beautiful 'firsts'.
Mile Sur has joined the group that is all. Infact if you see, it has def rejiggered our childhood memories of that song, has unified us across our states borders. Isnt that in the end the point of it all??? :)
Silver fucking lining !!!


crumbs said...

@ So

Do you think there will be a point? (that could also be young India's favourite question)

@ ScrewDriver

I second that =/

@ Tsu

Silver fucking lining would be, putting it succinctly. The point is that there is nothing other than collective anger against the media that unites people across the border. Isn't stretching the silver lining a bit too thin?
but then, why are assuming we need a silver lining in the first place?

Tsu said...

it is a debate, in my head as well, whether the media imitates real life. they say and do only because there are ppl out there who enjoy it. For a younger generation this Mile Sur is their song going forward. Cause when they were growin up the older one was not even being played anywhere remotely!!!

I need a silver lining cause it means there is light behind all the mess that is creating a beautiful horizon... there is no necessity, its just a given :) its whether u want to see it or not makes the diff :)

wapscallion said...

PMSMT!!!Absolute absolute rubbish. It makes me wonder how Zoom came up with this sad excuse to show Deepika Padukone's legs and Salman Khan's biceps. How did they ever think they could outshine the original? The bloody doofuses. I think the current lot of us Indians should simply stop trying so hard. If PMSMT is supposed to "capture" India 2010, then I just wanna bite my fist and yell "Stop being wannabe cool"!!

Anonymous said...

too much tv..

crumbs said...

@ Tsu,

The problem for me is that thanks to this song, I will neve be able to look at the old version with delusional innocence anymore. And that, like you said, for an entire bunch of Indians, this will be going forward.

When I asked why we are assuming that we need a silver lining, I meant why are we assuming this is a mess? :) I don't think I believe there was a "happy past" anymore. We just were a li'l less aware of the mess then, so the silver line looked brighter. Anyways, when one looks back, things always apprear in shiny light, dont they?

@ Wapscallion

But then, what WOULD capture India 2010? The problem here is that there is no one India 2010, like there is probably no one 2010. So any attempt to sell the unity in diversity pill, will now fall flat. There is only diversity, and that too of a curious kind. We might as well accept that and move on.

@ Lash

As always.

Goli said...

I also dont like PMSMT, but it is ok. Someone made the attempt to redo this by putting faces which younger generation can identify and probably did not do a good job at it. But I guess it is for those people who have not seen the older one, and may be they like this, because they dont have anything else to look at it against.

So it is ok. I dont think anyone claimed to make it better than the old one.

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Anil P said...

Oh yes, I remember the original. There was such pride that one believed in the goodness of Mile Sur . . ..

I suppose innocence then had a reality to it then. Maybe it does now as well, but we get to see so little of it while stars hog the landscape our minds on media and otherwise.

Come to think of it, DD did give us more memorable moments than we would care to admit or acknowledge.

crumbs said...

@ Goli,

I am not saying that this was an attempt to up the original, my gripe with the new version is that it has no character.
And, in that, it was unnecessary and pointless.

@ Anil P

I agree that the old version had a fair amount of innocence to it. But I am not sure if that innocence had a reality, even then. But absolutely true about DD and memorable moments. The fact that back then we were not so spoilt for choice, I think, made us appreciate what we had on television much more. That, and the lack of reality TV, I guess ;)