Monday, July 19, 2010
Last month I wrote about the original version of Mile Sur Mera released over twenty years ago and still fondly remembered today. At Doc Bollywood we are not the biggest fans of remakes - the originals of 'Don', 'Sholay', 'Umrao Jaan' and 'Devdas' (just to name a few) are far superior to the modern day re-imaginings. But we do understand the need for remakes because no matter how good the original was - there is an entirely new generation of fans that won't ever see it because it's considered old news. The remake is a way to get a classic seen again and often done as a tribute to the greatness of the original. In fact, Dilip Kumar's version of 'Devdas' (which is considered the definitive one) is itself a remake of the 1927 & 1936 versions, the latter starring K.L. Saigal. I guess it just depends which version you see first because that's the version that will forever be the 'original' one for you.
Thus it was with great fanfare that an updated version of Mile Sur Mera was released as Phir Mile Sur Mera earlier this year by none other than the Big B himself. Since he was the only person who starred in both versions it was a no brainer to have him launch the new one. Despite having a lot more star power than the original it was met with alot of criticism, most surprisingly from the very people it was targeted to - those under 25 who had not grown up with the original. It was said to be too 'Bollywoodized' due to the plethora of stars including Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Juhi Chawla, Mammootty and various other actors from across India. The music was updated and contributors to it included AR Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Yesudas, Louis Banks, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain.
So was it as bad as advertised? I personally liked the original but to my surprise enjoyed the remake as well. I especially liked the inclusion of the second generation of performers that were brought together with the maestros: Shiv Kumar Sharma performs along with his son, Amjad Ali Khan appears with both of his sons as well. It was also nice to see Rashid Khan perform as part of the ensemble, whom I think is one of the finest exponents of Indian classical vocal music currently. Also, the man who has done the most to make the tabla globally known, Zakir Hussain appears with his two tremendously talented brothers Taufiq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi displaying the matchless percussion energy of their sibling. All in all not a bad job and certainly not the worst way to update the timeless message of the original. Check out the updated video below...