Back in the eighties, an extremely talented Suresh Mallick directed and composed ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ which went on to become a national symbol of patriotism and unity in India. The original featured national heroes, politicians, actors, sports stars, musicians and a whole host of other national heroes that represented the nation.
In honor of the 60th Republic Day celebration, it was Arti and Kailash Surendranath who took it upon themselves to recreate and remake a contemporary version of the 1980’s patriotic song titled ‘Phir Mile Sur’. However, instead of equally featuring modern national heroes, the video primarily focused on Bollywood stars. Audiences saw a short-dress wearing Deepika Padukone, along with a whole range of actors including the omnipresent Bachchan family, Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor and so on. We were also treated to seeing Olympic winner Avinab Bindra and sitar player Anoushka Sharma.
However, the song is under immense scrutiny after viewers have realized that this time round, the patriotic video is nothing short of a celebrity mosh pit. Questions as to the whereabouts of Sachin Tendulkar, Leander Paes and many other modern heroes came about. And then the patriot in all viewers questioned the reason as to why Deepika Padukone was adorned in a designer dress instead of any Indian attire.
The song quickly became the center of criticism rather than one that bought together the country this Republic Day. Tweeters from all over the world were aghast with comments. Some sarcastic Tweeters questioned the absence of Katrina Kaif from the video. In fact some demanded a new video be shot, “Thumbs down for the ‘Phir Mile Sur’ team — ethically they should re-do the whole thing with an apology,” was one upset Tweeter’s comment. It was clearly a moment for the Bollywood stars who chose to yet again hog the limelight for the wrong reasons. Another smart Facebook user went on to correctly add, “Only actors are not just the torch bearers of Modern India. There are so many people who should have been featured have been ignored — Not even a patch on the earlier one, this video was really such a letdown.”
It wasn’t just the absence of politicians and sportsman from the ten minute video which upset most viewers. Shah Rukh Khan’s trademark arms-wide-open was criticized as was Aamir Khan’s Khandala act. The only personalities that were somewhat admired included Zakir Hussain, Gurdaas Mann and even Salman Khan’s sweet interaction with the children. Beyond that the video has literally been disliked by most viewers.
While Desi’s do love Bollywood, they ultimately love their country above and beyond it. Bollywood is not the only entity in India and whether it’s the youth or veteran viewers, there is no way to fool them.