We were brought up to stand up to attention whenever Jana Mana Gana played -- and it even played in newsreels before the movies in cinema halls. While that still manages to give goose flesh every now and then, I have memories of whole groups of school-kids bursting into hysterical giggles of inexplicable and uncontrollable mirth en masse whenever we reached "ham bulbuleN haiN iskii" while lustily singing Saare Jahaan Se Achhaa (there were also those who strongly resented being called bulbuls). And I am sure I was certainly not the only one who often had to make up verses while singing Vande Mataram. But one of the true patriotic songs to beat all patriotic songs that provided sheer joie de vivre (and in some cases, introduced heathens like yours truly to the pleasures of classical music) was Mile Sur Meraa Tumhaaraa. A song that, for the generations brought up on Door -- and Krishi -- Darshan, or at least those growing up in the 1980s, was easily the most joyous, shared national experience -- a true celebratory anthem that did at least as much for national integration as Manmohan Desai, the Indian cricket team, or all of Films Division documentaries combined together. Like all great music is supposed to, it actually elevated and uplifted the lowliest of us and made us, or so I would like to believe, better human beings, incapable of any devilry, at least for some time.
The news, therefore, about a new version (a promo is here) somehow brings back memories of what happened to a remaking of Sholay -- and, of course, as in Ram Gopal Varma kii Aag, ominously, Mr Bachchan is very much there too. Here's to hoping that the new version does not do to the old one what, say, Paul Simon sometimes manages to do to his very own songs. I am filled with dread and am so not looking forward to check out the new version...
Postscript: OK, here it is, just as I feared:
And part II: