Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 71: 'Mile Sur' and Doordarshan

The whole of Indian online community is throwing virtual rotten tomatoes and eggs at the rehashed version of 'Mile Sur' which was released yesterday. For the unaware, 'Mile Sur' was a national integration video that was released in the late 1980s by Doordarshan (the national television network) of India. Featuring several Indian monuments, regions, languages, artforms etc., it was a simple but effective video in communicating the Indian pride in its diversity.

One group of people decided that they should remake this decades-old video but by featuring the current generation in it. As a result, what came out was a video that was hopelessly choking with movie stars hamming royally but with very little cultural importance otherwise. I don't want to get into the merits or the demerits of the new version but I believe what struck the wrong chord was that the makers of the new video messed with something that many of us, the people of my generation, had unconsciously retained as a vivid memory from our childhoods.

I believe 'Mile Sur' came out when I was about 5 or 6 years old and had played on TV for several years later. Those were the times when I used to live in a big family with cousins and uncles and aunts and everyone used to crowded in front of one black and white TV to watch Ramayan - the epic serial. Those were the days I used to wake up to the Doordarshan title music - that slow, mysterious music accompanied by some swirling graphics. Those were the times when the neighbours, the less fortunate ones who did not have a TV of their own, used to come and share the space in the living room during the evenings. Those were the years of simple advertising for some simple brands - Bajaj, Vicco Turmeric, Rasna, Nirma, Liril, Hajmola etc. and also of simple but wonderful shows such as the Malgudi Days.

The whole 'Mile Sur' swirl took me back to those days. And in a wave of nostalgia, I searched for a few of those old programs that I grew up with and watched them for a few hours. A couple of hours of simple music, simple visuals, simple messages and memories of simpler times.

I am sharing a few of those videos here. -Doordarshan title track and a few ads - Video with sports personalities - Malgudi Days title track - Ek Chidiya educational show

929 more to go.

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