Phir Mile Sur?? Not quite..

Phir mile sur

Happened to listen to Phir Mile Sur today, thanks to our dear friend Veena. At the outset, the lineup in this “refurbished” version of the 1980s iconic song is brilliant, at least from the musical perspective. Just to be listing down the ones we could identify both onscreen and playback, there’s A R Rahman (playing his now famous continuum fingerboard), SEL, Anoushka Shankar, Karthik(?), Shreya Ghoshal, Pt.Shivkumar and Rahul Sharma, Gurdas Mann, Zakir Hussain and Fazal and Taufiq Qureshi, Shaan, Bhupen Hazarika, Sivamani, L Subramaniam and family, Bhojpuri singer Kalpana, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, Yesudas and Vijay Yesudas, Louis and Gino Banks, and Sonu Nigam. Couple of conspicuous absentees were Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and Ustad Sultan Khan. And while it is wonderful to listen to most of these artists’ individual segments in the song, when looked upon in its entirety the track has lost its way somewhere. And I say most of the artists, coz some of them are not really upto the mark. The Tamil part is no match to what Dr.Balamuralikrishna delivered in the actual one. The absence of Lata Mangeshkar could probably be attributed to her age, but Shreya Ghoshal has done a good job nevertheless. And with all due respect to the Bangash family, it would have been better had Amaan and Ayaan just played the Sarod instead of singing as well. While Shaan’s Bengali segment is nice to hear, his latter part for Aamir Khan, a seeming take on Bum Bum Bole from TZP or Aati Kya Khandala from Ghulam, isn’t at all savoury. Which brings us to Sonu’s part. While his classical part is spot on to the last note, it is where he brings in the Westernized twists that things get irritating. Honestly Mile Sur.. wasn’t made for such western tweakings. Or at least we have been so used to the actual one that such modifications don’t seem to work. Having said that, I loved Anoushka’s sitar improvs and Zakir Hussain playing Sindhubhairavi on tabla. Even the segment involving (as usual shirtless!) Salman Khan and the children was quite touching by its quiteness of instrumentation.

Coming to the other aspects of the song, apart from the musical lineup I didn’t feel that justice was done in any other aspect. The celebs shown were chosen more for their glam value I felt, than for their contributions to the industry. Just do a comparison and I think you would agree. The original version had actors like Mithun Chakraborthy, Waheeda Rahman, Sharmila Tagore, Shabana Azmi etc while the new one has “seasoned actors” such as Shahid Kapur, Deepika Padukone etc. The Khans and the Bachchans were certain to be there, but at least regarding the others Kailash Surendranath could have looked for artists more justly representative of the Indian film industry. And the sole director making an appearance is Karan Johar! And regarding the other fields, the lesser said the better. Barring Shobhana, Shiamak Dhawar, designer Rohit Bal and the Oriya sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, I couldn’t spot a person from any other field of art. Zero literateurs, scientists, businessmen and politicians! The sportspeople have all been crammed into a barely 45 second clip towards the end by which time you would be too bemused to even take note of who it is. I was able to recognize Abhinav Bindra, Vijender, Sushil Kumar, Baichung Bhutia, Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal. More surprises here, with no cricket star making anĀ  appearance. Considering the cricketing “greats” such as Arun Lal whom the director had featured in the original, I would have expected him to make amends in the revisit at least!

The beauty of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was that in under 6 minutes it did a concise and effective summarisation of the Indian culture. At 16 minutes, Arti and Kailash Surendranath’s improvised version of Mile Sur.. is tedious at best. Though it has its highlight moments, it does not compare with the original. People would definitely listen to Phir Mile.. for its novelty factor, but it shall slowly fade into oblivion as time passes, unlike its predecessor. To sum up, great on intentions, bad on execution! End of story. Below is the complete song in two parts.

K.Sreenivasan says:

Being celebrities does not make top class material.It is better to stick to their own vocations. This one is just “Abaswaram”. The original ‘mile sur mera tumhara’ is the real class.Guys, always it is “Old is Gold” !!!!!!