Saturday, January 30, 2010

Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara is Awesome!

[Acknowledgments: Special thanks to Deicider for helping me identify the monuments in the video]

The media is flooded with criticism for Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video which was first telecast on Zoom, isko dekho. They crib about the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and APJ Abdul Kalam Azad. Yes. Of course they aren't there. Just like Narayan Murthy, Anshu Gupta and Lata Mangeshkar aren't. Let's take the song and try to understand its true meaning.By the end of this post i am sure you will be convinced that it is an amazing advertising concept - first of its kind.

 The videos opens with the concern of India for the environment. The solar panels indicate the India's dedication towards cleaner sources of energy - solar energy being one of them. A. R. Rehman is shown to be playing the fingerboard in front of the solar panels.

The Taj Mahal hotel shows the entrepreneurial feat of India. Build more than a hundred years ago, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai is known for its great architecture and is one of the first luxurious hotels of India. This icon of progressive, modern India witnessed and bore the terrorist attack on 26/11. Amitabh Bachchan is standing in front of this Hotel.

Like most sitcoms on televisions, Phir Mile Sur has a 'break'. In the break Shankar Ehsaan and Loy are shown promoting 'their' music.

The show starts again. For less than 2 sec, they show a temple, a mosque and a church.

Then again you have ad which ends when the Ajanta caves are shown.[ I am not 100% sure if it's Ajanta or Ellora. But given that it's a Buddhist cave and a little less 'greener', I think it's Ajanta cave]. The view of the cave is eclipsed by disturbances popularly known as Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan (or Aishwabhishek or Abhishwarya - analogous to Saifeena and Brangelina). The caves, despite the screen being mostly blocked by the first filial of the first family of Bollywood, showed the artistic and architectural brilliance of India. These disturbances are actually advertisements (of their next as-of-now unnamed movie) shown within the actual content. This is a new concept and something which make Phir Mile Sur truely unique. This is explained in the last paragraph in more details.

The Old-Age home while on one hand show how well we take care of our senior citizens also questions who well we take care of our parents and grand parents. Looks like Mahesh Babu is entertaining the senior citizens.

The beautiful Dal lake followed by Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma with Qutub Minar as the backdrop makes a good sequence.A glimpse of Rohit Bal at the Dal lake indicates the 'progressive' Indian culture

Then comes the Golden temple of Amritsar. Gurdas Maan and Juhi Chawla are advertising Shaheed Uddham Singh. This is the same concept of context based imbedded ad described at the end. Zakir Hussain then does what he does the best.

Then comes Bengal and it opens with Kumhar Toli where the idols are being made. The beautiful Jorasanko Thakur Bari, birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore and Vidyasagar Setu, one of the largest cable stayed bridges  are shown next. The image, unfortunately, have 'embedded ads' by bearded Bumba Da (Prosenjit), Shantanu Mukherjee and Rituparana. Bhupen Hazarika does his part in front of a photoshop'd image.

Rajasthani women making solar heaters/cookers not only indicates the advancement on scientific and environmental front but also on the social front. Didn't  you comprehend why is the backdrop lush green. And what is Shilpa Shetty doing here? Shilpa Shetty is advertising sarees! The lush green background is to match with the sarees.

A good attempt to show (at least our desire to have) an inclusive society by showing the specially challenged children playing. Shirtless Salman Khan despite his attire (or lack of it) didn't do as bad as expected.

Then, a few other monuments (which i couldn't recognize) are shown. We again go for a full fledged break. The next ad is of Deepika Padukone's 'uniqueness'. She is, perhaps, also advertising kids' wear and ultra-violet ray reflecting lipstick. Some children lost their sanity seeing her long legs and jumped into the pond and started fighting among each other.

We then have a sequence showing advancement in girl child education. PriChops was also seen around.Perhaps she's lost. Perhaps it's another i-am-also-there types embedded ad. Then, they show communal harmony by showing co-existence of places of worship pertaining to different religions. What I am thinking is why are these monuments made of sand on the sea shore? Does this indicate that the 'co-existence' can be destroyed by the slightest tide? Or, does it indicate that we just need a small tide to wipe out such differences and be on the same shore?

Sarod maestro, Ustad Amzad Ali Khan, and his sons, Amaan and Ayan Ali Bangash are shown infront of Red Fort. Then we do a quick tour of Kerala and the Gujarat.

Then, we again break for ad. We see ads of Roland and Shaimak Dawar dance classes. Aamir Khan comes up with his branding building ad. Sonu Nigam shows off his singing talents by overdoing every bit of it. Looks like this ad is created by Alyque Padamsee - at least Sonu Nigam puts on Padmsee's look. Shahid Kapoor then advertises that he doesn't always imitate SRK. Ranbir Kapoor advertises that he's ready to do some serious roles. SRK shows how well he can overact even after drinking a couple of bottles of Signature. SRK is followed by Karan Johar who is the only full time director to buy a small ad slot.

The ads end. Phir Mile Sur resumes and does the 1988's Mile Sur sequences. Sportspersons, Military, NDA and then the customary Indian tricolor.

Phir Mile Sur, as you can now very well see, is not all that bad. It uses some awesome advertising technique to raise funds. The actual Phir Mile Sur is only a few minutes and not 16 minutes. The rest is ad. Phir Mile Sur has taken heavily from Google's Adsense. Just like Google provides context specific ads which the webmasters cleverly inserts in the webpage so that it difference between the ad and the actual content is not aparent - Phir Mile Sur inserts these ads by Bollywood celebs seamless into the video. Some websites are nothing but a collection of Google Ads. Phir Mile Sur is not very different. In fact, Phir Mile Sur is not only inspired by YouTube but it also takes it to the next level. YouTube videos have ads 'on' it at the bottom of the video. These ads can be closed. This was not very profitable feature as most users closed the ads to see the video in full. Phir Mile Sur has embedded ads within the video. Hence you see Abhishek Bachchan ad infront of the Ajanta Caves.With this merging of ads with the actual content makes it impossible for viewer to 'close' it. In fact, it's so well edited that the viewer is almost never aware of when an ad starts and when it ends - unless he uses his imagination or reads Mundane Journey.

Let's make no mistake. Phir Mile Sur has nothing to do with national integration. Phir Mile Sur,  is a pioneering work in technology and business strategy. It gave birth to the new concept of embedded ad. Believe me. This is just the beginning. We'll have more such embedded ad videos in future.


Anonymous January 30, 2010 at 9:39 AM  

The Whole Concept of making "Phir mile sur mera" s nothing but only bollywood flick....Nt representing our Country..but to Bollywood...Is Ranvir..Priyanka all these r our icon!!!!!!!!!Man How you forget SACHIN TENDULKAR...D real INDIAN Icon????????????????????????So same on you...

Aritra Das January 31, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

Amazing Prashant.... I'm still wondering whether this was really praise or sarcasm (just like Vote for TV).... Dude, everytime I think of starting blogging (obviously to kill time), you keep on frustrating me with a fantastic piece, making me realize that I'm far off from being even an amateur blogger.... :P

Aritra Das January 31, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

Regarding PMSMT, I don't really understand why people are so furious about it... Zoom just did what they are best that and for the industry they belong to.... It's our mistake that we expected Zoom to showcase national integrity when it is just a page 3 bollywood entertainment channel....

I was just wondering... some time back (maybe a year or so), an AIDS caompaign video was being shown in probably Sony.... the video had hardly anything to show about the AIDS campaign - it just showed a large group of bollywood stars, all dressed in white - dancing to a nice song... Not really sure, but I never noticed anybody protesting against it... then why PMSMT? just because it is a remake of MSMT? then, it's DD whom we have to blame for allowing the remake rather than Zoom....

Prashant Mehta January 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

Anonymous ji
No one ever claimed that the people shown in the video are our icons. They are just advertising.

Aritra Das ji
Thanks! I am honored. But do start blogging. It's free :-P

I agree with you. There's something wrong with our expectations. But, when someone remakes a song which people were so attached to and has national ethos and that to remake the way they did, the viewers of free India has a right to air their disapproval.

As for the AIDS song - it guess it was 'Haath se haath milao'[]

Anonymous January 31, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

kk...If d whole video was based on only Bollywood guys..then i would hv no problem..But when u r showing people fm different fields..even showing sports persons((hope u hv seen))..then wht??? ny Hockey player ya S.T..r nt Page-3 member!!!!!!!!
Mean Motive of my criticism s..if u r making such a gr8 video & releasing dat n such a gr8 day...then obviously der shld b feel of nationality there...Otherwise u may release it n ny friday of ny month..y n 26th Jan??And if ur intension s 2 motivate people..then show d real icon...Otherwise..i hv no problem with Zoom..or 2 ny Bollywood flicks...

soumya January 31, 2010 at 2:16 PM  

I absolutely agree with all the criticisms that have been made against this PMSMT. Zoom may be great in doing in whatever they are good at but come on.... they didn't stand a chance when it came to making a remake of MSMT, they have really messed this one up. The intentions are good and creativity is fine at some places. But, things were definitely not at their places. The modernification of every aspect was exasperating. The scores are horrible at places. Key personalities, whom you expect at a video of this stature are absent.

Zoom may be for entertainment but sorry to say MSMT is definitely not.

You need to highlight sports, science equally... but as far as this one goes.. it's miles away. And, as we know, (i don't want to use loud statements)'things' like these aren't here to stay, and this is not going to come even a bit close to the level set by MSMT..

If they had broadcast this one with a new name, and a new song or a remix on another song.. then things would have looked a bit acceptable...

Kudos to good ol MSMT.. it'll live forever!!! :)

Aritra Das January 31, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

That's precisely my point... This video should not have been called PMSMT - it is just a Bollywood flick by an entertainment channel, where a bit of patriotism has been used just for the sake of increasing the USP of the video... Had it been any other damn video, would we have been discussing and dissecting it so much? Remember, the more we criticize and discuss about this video, the higher will be its USP...

Aritra Das January 31, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

The horribleness of the scores at places is completely a matter of personal taste and is not the point of discussion here

Why do you think showing Sachin Tendulkar would have served the purpose? Look at the title theme of the song - it is solely aimed at portraying national unity and integrity in India.... with its rich ethnicity and diversity, Bollywood as well as Cricket can only get a very short slot within the 16 minutes.... for example, one can show how a punjabi and a muslim teamed up under the Indian cap to defeat the british (Yuvi and Kaif in the Natwest trophy)...

Vijay January 31, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

In total agreement with Aritra's first comment :) Can't make out if you are praising it or being sarcastic about it. BTW, great work with observing every bit of the song esp with the Bollywood Celebs :) Loved it.

abhi January 31, 2010 at 5:47 PM  

This older version has been composed in the raaga sindhubhairavi . raaga contains all the 7 notes or the 7 sapthaswaras with all possible frequencies. for this song signifies that all the difference that comes along is present in our nation but we are united and strong as signified thru use of this raga with all notes. the apt one !!
But in the newer version, they have changed the scale , tried to meddle with main tune and thus losing the sanctity and purpose of the song.
But hats off to Zoom to do a brilliant effort of capturing the nations least ppl r talking about zoom and few of us would have tuned in to catch this new advertisement.

deicider February 1, 2010 at 2:23 AM  

Hey P,
Wats the problem with an advertising campaign that shows India's great ness?
After all its all good in today's world of relentless marketing?

Anonymous February 1, 2010 at 9:42 AM  

@Aritra Das ....I think...I nt only mentioned S.T...also written ny Hockey players or ny person fm different field..Me just gving example of S.T...Bcoz At d present..He s realy d biggest icon of Youth..But Could nt get ur point..dat why u mention Yuvi & Kaif!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Aritra Das February 1, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

Well, actually I was just citing a random example which will display hindu-muslim unity in India thorugh a popular medium like cricket....

Ruminations and reflections February 1, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

Whose idea was it to F**k-up the wonderful original piece? And we still portray Filmstars and Musicians the only people woth mentioning in India? Where did all the writers,businessmen,Social Activists and IT stalwarts go? Plus most people in the piece looked real goofy

Swaprava Nath February 1, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

Is the video available anywhere for download?

Tanvi February 1, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

Awesome prasanth!! You nailed it!! Was too damn frustrated having had this monumental piece the first thing I watched on Republic day!! Keep going with this fabulous tone of the blog ... I was rolling all over for ur comparison with Google. :) :).


Prashant Mehta February 1, 2010 at 3:25 PM  

soumya ji
Yes. MSMT is eternal!

Aritra Das ji
I agree. However, apart from the seeming connection with Mile Sur, it has nothing to do with patriotism.

Vijay ji
Well, what's sarcasm if it is clear? :)

Abhi ji
Thanks for sharing the info from the musical front. I, at least, didn't know it.

Deicider ji
I don't have any problem. I rather think it's awesome.

Ruminations and reflections ji
You may find the following article interesting:

Swaprava Nath ji

The video is readily available on youtube.



Tanvi/Sameera ji

Debashis Banerjee February 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

and whats this "ji"-ism that you have started in your replies?

Anonymous February 1, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

I heartily disagree with you.

Thoughts.. February 1, 2010 at 11:15 PM  

We,the people of India,solemly agree to disagree on any existent/non existent entity. So, here I am, the two main reasons for my disliking PMSMT,
1) It is very weak at its music composition (main USP of MSMT).
2) The objective is unclear. It is not a song on national integration neither an advertisement of India Glorious.

qwerty February 1, 2010 at 11:22 PM  

HATS OFF for the writer ...Gr8 Read..'ZOOM 'please Grow up

Prashant Mehta February 2, 2010 at 2:46 AM  

Debashis Banerjee ji
This is something i started with my 50th post. It's more out of necessity. As you know we address our elders as dadas, didis or bhaiyas. There were two problems on online forum - first, the age of the person couldn't be determined. Especially, if the person is female, then it's offending to ask age. Second, is gender itself. A lot of names are self explanatory, but some aren't. So, i chose ji-ism as you put it. It's gender neutral - remember the phrase "computer ji" made invented in KBC? Also, you can call append "ji" without worrying whether the person is bhai, dada, kaku or dadu.
And later, i realized that it is very unique to Mundane Journey :)

Anonymous ji
Not sure which anonymous you are. Assuming the "you" is referring to me - Please please disagree with me by all means. That's the beauty of India. I respect your view regardless of whether or not i agree with it.

Nice way of putting it!!

qwerty ji

Anonymous February 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

True.. I agree with you...

There is a similar argument here...

Sagar February 6, 2010 at 5:24 AM  

Hi prashant, read ur post.. Frankly, I was angry when u said PMSMT is awesome.. coz nt to mince words, i HATED it. Well the common man in this video is DEAD. People came in and advertised themselves. Where is the NATION in it??
In the earlier video, we saw common people too and the song almost flew from one person and region to another, signifying the national integration. In the new video, it seems everybody does their bit and moves off.. It doesn't hand over the baton of the flow of the song to the next person. People say its all commercial but there are certain areas where buggers shouldn't prowl and MSMT is one. In short, HORRIBLE.

M never clickin on that 16 minute video again.. Mithun-da movies are bearable compared to this

Prashant Mehta February 7, 2010 at 3:44 AM  

Anonymous ji
But i don't agree with you :)

Sagar ji
I wouldn't even dare to compare old Mile Sur with Phir mile sur. It's like comparing apples with oranges.

In Mithun-da movies you wouldn't find a baba-suit wearing long-legged cranes, would you?

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