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How I made the Phir Mile Sur Video: Part I

Hi. I am the maker of the new Phir Mile Sur video album that was launched yesterday – the 26th of January – the red lettered day of India. Before I write more, let me thank Vatsap?  for providing me with such a shitty platform to speak out to the nasty world that reads his posts. I am here to tell you guys how I made the video. It’s already there on Youtube and if you exist on Facebook you might already have stumbled upon a link shared by some sincere friends of yours.

I don’t know how many of you remember it, but the opening shot of the original video had a yellowish morning sun followed by sea-waves (here is a link to the original just in case you wanna refresh your memories). The morning sun had probably symbolized the dawn of a new era. Or something like that. May be the makers of the original were trying to give hints at the upcoming liberalized era. I don’t know. May be. But when I set about shooting my video, I wondered if I should do the same – that is – begin my video with a yellowish morning sun?

India is growing and all that and we keep talking about GDP and stuff but is anyone doing much about the inequitable nature of this growth – haan? Tell me. Bolo bolo. Kahir chhodo. I am kinda left-oriented you see. So how could I show a rising sun in an era of inequitable growth?

My opening shot shows just the clouds and the sea –  no sun. Of course I wondered that if there was no sun like in the original, then what the whole logic of starting my video with a shot of just the clouds and the sea was? And then I thought that if I had to worry about logic, I would never have bothered to shoot this video at the first place. Raising a toast to this logic-lessness, in the next shot I showed some white cranes flying here and there and fetching fishes from a lake. Actually, if you think about it, this very logic-lessish attitude connects most of us Indians. And oh my God, if it indeed is so, then there suddenly is so much logic behind all this logic-lessness that I adopted for my first two shots!

I soon realized that with all the clouds and the sea and the flying and attacking cranes, my video had started to head in an altogether different dimension. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (with or without the Phir) had to be brought back to something that had to with ‘sur‘! I decided to meet Rehman.

Unfortunately, when my crew went to Rehman’s terrace to shoot him, he was absolutely in no mood to play or sing. We really went crazy man. We pleaded to him like cunts. He just wouldn’t listen to us. Such a stoic person! He was in his own bloody world. Pointing towards a red coloured longish rectangular plate, he told us that if he rubbed it “the right way”, a genie would come off it. The only problem was – he didn’t have a fucking clue, what “the right way” was. Neither did we. He kept trying anyway. We shot him doing that and then later added some music during the editing. I was sure that junta would buy Rehman creating music even if we showed him rubbing a red plate – Rehman can create magic out of anything after all! In fact, I wondered why he needed a genie at the first place given that the man was so much magical and all that himself. I wondered about it so much, that I moved straightaway to the genie himself – Mr. Bachchan (not caring much about how big a flop Alladin was).

It’s funny but just like Rehman, Mr. Bachchan was fooling around on a terrace too. Thankfully, after the awesome failure of Alladin he had nothing to do with genies. When we told him why we were there, he got all senti talking about the shooting of the original Mile Sur video that had taken place more than twenty years ago. He asked us if we were shooting Mr. Bhimsen Joshi again. We explained to him how when we had contacted Mr. Joshi, the cloying old man had abused the entire Mile Sur concept itself. We told Mr. Bachchan, how Pandit Joshi blamed the Mile Sur video of stereotyping him for life – in small small villages, every time a kid asked the mother who Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was, the mother replied – that oldie who comes in the Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video. We were about to tell Mr. Bachchan a lot more about our interactions with Panditji when the Big B interrupted. He asked me if in my video, he could sing.

We started ROTFLing on Bachchan’s suggestion! And then he threatened to kick our butts by writing against us in his blog. That’s when we had to give in. He started singing. He had sung just two lines when we fell to his knees and pleaded to him profusely to stop doing that. It was only when we promised to him that we would also include Abhishek in the video (we had already decided on Aishwarya), that he agreed upon to stop singing. He finished off the next two lines by speaking them in a very Silsilaish fashion. May be he still missed Rekha.

After this roof-top musical fiasco with Bachchan, we desperately needed a real singer. Someone tipped us that Shankar Mahadevan and those two vella friends of his – Ehsaan and Loy – were putting dope somewhere in Goa. When we finally reached them, they were standing in the middle of an absolutely desolated stretch of a white beach – totally out. While Shankar was screaming to an electric microphone, the other two were working on an electric guitar and an electric keyboard respectively. There was just one problem – there was no fucking electricity out there in that deserted place. They were too high to realize that. We had to shoot them like that only. Except that I somehow managed to steal Shankar’s mic and hid it under sand. Their shot would have looked too stupid otherwise. I couldn’t do much for the guitar or the keyboard though.

Shankar was twaddling during the shoot when we came to know about some lady in Chennai who played a brown coloured longish cock-resembling musical instrument really well. Shankar was too high to recollect what the instrument was actually called. Finally, after much wheedling and cajoling from our end, he did recall the name of the lady – Anushka Shankar. Our session with Anushka went well and her facial expressions throughout the shoot were so erotic that we kept going back to Shankar’s description of what she played – the Sitar.

Since we were in Chennai, we tried checking up on few Tam movie stars. Vikram was rehearsing for a Tam version of Men in Black at the Marina Beasant Nagar Beach while Vijay Surya had just given up on trying to move the famous huge boulder of Mahabalipuram. We shot them both. Pretty friendly guys, both of them.

We had just wrapped up our shoots in Chennai-Mahabs when Sherya Ghosal sent to me on my phone, a recording of her part of the song. The file that she sent didn’t only have the audio – it had video as well. I found her so cute looking in the video, that I decided to insert the whole damn clip in my album. Even before I had put down my phone, I got a call from Mr. Bachchan. He wanted to know when were we shooting Abhishek & Aishwarya – and if we had already done that could we pass on the video to him so that he could post that in his blog. He really freaked me out man. I promised him that we would get this whole Abhishek-Aish thing done the very next day and that’s exactly what we did then. Abhishek, for some reason, refused to get rid of his Pa getup during our shoot. We didn’t care much anyway. Aishwarya in a red sari was good enough for us and we wouldn’t have minded even if Abhishek had dressed like the Kala Bandar himself.

After the shooting was done, we asked the Bachchan couple how things had been going with them. They said that they were pretty happy together and wanted to grow old together and may be when they grew old, could go and spend some time with Mahesh Babu. This took us by surprise. Mahesh Babu? The gult hero? They said yes. They asked me to find Mahesh Babu in Hyderabad if I really wanted to know the connection. And when we finally found Mahesh babu, the connection got all clear. Pretty fascinating in fact.

Mahesh Babu had become a singing teacher at an old age home. He refused to be shot till we also shot some oldies repeating lines after him. It was a great sentimental occasion for us and soon I and the rest of my crew started feeling so old and hopeless that we felt like listening to some Santoor. So we went straightaway to Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma who was then in Delhi. His son boasted to us that when both the dad and the son played together, the vibrations could reach as far as Kashmir. Initially, we thought that the dude was kidding. But when he sounded really really serious, we called up our correspondent in Srinagar as soon as the father-son jodi started playing their respective Santoors. We asked the correspondent if she could feel any vibrations out there in Srinagar. She told us that one really needed to be gay to be able to do that. We then asked her if she could spot any gay around. Luckily, she could spot Rohit Behl buying vegetables from a boat-based vendor on the lake – and sure enough, Mr. Behl proved that Sharma Jr. had not been entirely bluffing.

We soon got very very fed up of Santoor. To do away with the after-effects, when we went to a pub in CP that evening, we bribed the DJ to play Bhangda numbers only – in full volume. It was only when I and my crew were couple of pitchers down that I shouted out loud – holy fuck – we haven’t been to Punjab yet! We still had a hang-over when were in Punjab the early morning next day. So instead of catching Mica for some hep version of the song (like – ay Ganpat, thoda Sur Mila), we ended up shooting the good old Gurdas paji. He bored us as usual and greatly helped us out of our hang-overs.

We were about to pack up when Juhi Chawla turned up and told us that she was ready to shoot for the new tedha-hai-per-mera-hai commercial. We tried explaining it to her that she had probably confused the mera-tumhara concept with tedha-mera concept. But then I thought – what the hell, let us just shoot her as well. And so we did. After the shooting, we ordered Kurkure and some garma garam chai. Someone from the crew, exhaled with the first sip of his tea – ‘wah Taj‘. That’s when it struck to me that I hadn’t heard of Zakir Hussain ever since he had let the brand-ambassadorship of the Taz tea slip off to Saif. Fortunately, I had his number. I sent him a text – ‘hey wazzup dude – where art thou’?

I guess I would have to sit down some other time to finish my story guys. Keep watching the video in loops till then.

Update: Part 2 posted

19 replies on “How I made the Phir Mile Sur Video: Part I”

😆 Hilarious post! Waiting for part 2! Btw, the guy with the boulder after Vikram was Surya not Vijay. 🙂

Ah – so someone managed to flush out a post before me! Actually it took me quite some time to compose this post. Anyway – I shall complete my story by this weekend.

Thanks Tastemaster – mistake rectified. I shouldn’t have confused between Marina and Beasant Nagar given that I spent five years at IITM – but then kabhi kabhi ho jaati hain galtiyan! 🙂

Awaiting the Sonu Nigam story. And the makers idea of instilling patriotism among the viewers 😛
Nice read btw

absolutely hilarious!!!!!!! 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 u sounded just like the damn director 👿 awaiting part-2 😉

ROTFL. I thoroughly enjoyed these posts, being an ardent admirer of the genius(es) behind “Phir Mile Sur”.

Would you believe that this got posted as a genuine link in the Harmonica India mailing list ?

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