I woke up today, did my morning ablutions (Freshen teeth, Refresh Twitter) and quickly realized from a cursory glance at my browser that India Inc. had rebooted, reprised, refreshed, renewed and re-engineered Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. As the unauthor of the unauthorized uncut undocumentary on version 1.0, I was more than looking forward to find out if this new one was a case of “Empire Strikes Back” or Windows Vista.
But it had to wait, because I had a quiz prelims to participate in and fail to qualify. Anantha and Aditya, having seen the video before they came to the quiz, seemed a little dazed and confused, as if they had fought the Battle of Evermore on the misty mountain hops. I asked them how the new version was. Anantha, for some reason, could only incomprehensibly utter a few words. Like “Salman Khan”. And for some reason “Cut banian” as well. It did not make any sense. “Mile Sur” and banians are not the fondest of bedmates. But I decided to wait and find out more once the ritual of not qualifying was done with.
I then had a heavy lunch featuring a main course of Oil with a modest side of Channa and Bhatura. With a stomach mildly peeved at the lunchtime assault, I settled down to watch MSMT 2.0. The title said “Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”, and I had some misgivings at that point. Why did Anantha call it MSMT 2.0 then? Nothing with the 2.0 suffix can be any good for anybody. Web 2.0 is a good example.
But I set aside all these thoughts, cleared my mind, opened my consciousness, and just before hitting play, I thought I’ll shave, but it turns out, there was no need to
Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara is EPIC BLADE. Way more blader than Anand‘s Max-100. This 16 minute Bollygasm will put blade like a Kiwi farmer on a sheep during shearing season. It’s a showy, shallow, cringe-worthy, slow-tempo, un-coordinated and unwatchable piece of crystalline Crappium Craptide wrapped in crapé paper.
Am I being uncharitable? Am I being, as Vir Sanghvi calls us, “elite”? Perhaps. To be fair, this new version does have its good bits, but the overall execution is um..literally an execution by hanging of everything that India represents. It is Indiawood, not India, that is presented in this video. Actor after actor, hamming to the point where pigs might have gone extinct, lip sync their lines with all the originality of a Soni Playbox 360 from Richie Street.
PMSMT is a user interface without a backend database. A film actor, at least in India, is a cosmetic, steroid-pumped, six-packed, waxed, silicone enhanced front-end for a script-writer’s ideas, a cameraman’s vision, a music director’s genius, a writer’s tale, a playback singer’s voice and a fashion designer’s art. India is not its film actors. We really are the people behind the scenes, and yet all we get in these 16 minutes are all hat and absolutely no cattle. If this is National Integration, the limits must have been 0 and 0. The area under the curves of Shilpa, Deepika and Priyanka is not India, or its sur. Leaving aside sad mathematical puns on a sadder video, did any of you notice any real integration, I mean, like people actually meeting and “milaoing”? No, of course not. Aamir wants his exclusive moment with the kids. Salman wants the other six-packers to stay away from his show-and-tell. SRK wants us to believe that he built the damn Worli Sea Link all by himself. They cleared Elliots beach so that Vikram could make love all by himself, to the Schmidt memorial. Sivamani wants us to believe that music is just about him, the percussionist, and Shahid Kapoor thinks he’s Robert Plant, without the band. Has there ever been a greater concentration of selfish, image-conscious, petty egos on display in the history of our country?
But let’s look at the video in detail. It starts with A R Rahman.
Continuum fingerboard? Really? The last time I heard something that sounded like this instrument was in my electronics lab back in college. It was called an Oscilloscope. Or perhaps you realized how much of an unmitigated disaster this was going to be so you decided to hold back on the good stuff. I don’t blame you. But later in the video, we have folks like Shahid Kapoor going all Robert-Planty and Freddie-Mercury on us without having a shred of singing talent. You sir, can sing, and all they let you do is play an oscilloscope. Sigh.
Big B + Taj Mahal Hotel + 26/11 + Hip Hop = Bollyxploitation. Yeah, Ahan, one time, two time, two to da six to da one to da one, peace out yo
Ehsaan, you know, you could have played more than just that one Paki-pop song style chord, you know? Oh sorry, you weren’t plugged in. My bad. Never mind. And also, did the directors tell you that your piece was the big crescendo ending bit? Cos when I heard you guys, I thought the video was coming to an end.
This is where we start to see the first serious cracks appear in this already shaky edifice. The video is not synced with the audio, and anybody who was looking at the Sitar would be totally confused because Anoushka’s fingers would not be at the note that was currently playing. Am I being too nitpicky? No. In 1988, with a distinctly smaller budget, DD managed to produce something for the ages. In 2009, with Avatar technology, Bollywood can’t edit video to be in sync with audio.
As an old lady once asks cogently in this brilliant Petronas ad, what’s with all the chest thumping, Vikram? Do you have a cold, congestion or cough?
Dear Mahesh Babu. I know you are the only star in India to represent 3 major companies, Thums up, Univercell and Navaratna oil but seriously, what with the producers already having audio-video syncing problems, at least move your lips to the actual words that are being sung. I’m afraid, you have no future as a member of a boy band.
Shiv kumar sharma + overacting dude – Nice Stock footage of Kashmir while the both of you are seated in the vicinity of the Qutab minar. But wait. Is that Rohit Bal? Why is he buying spinach?
Pnjaabi folks – I’m very happy, very very happy that you chose to ignore Bhangra. Your decision is one of the highpoints of this presentation. And Gurdas Mann, love your voice.
Zakir hussan and co – Awesome as usual. Respect.
Bhupen Hazarika – Whoa? What happened to the sruthi?. Fine, I understand he is old, but Rahman, could you not have autotuned him?
Hmm. Let’s see. Camels and Solar energy. Very royal, very rajasthanically royal, I might add.What is this? Product placement?
While I had been watching in horror so far, it was only when Salman came on the scene that I went “What. The. Funny”. Dear Salman, those kids were hearing impaired, not blind. Wear some clothes man. This is not a product placement for Poombukar Banians.
Also, you need to return those jeans back to the store. There’s a hole in the bum area. Or were you giving us a hint? Now, if I was Jon Stewart, I’d call you over to Camera 2, but I’m not, so let me say, come on over to the next sentence. In your desire to show off your steroid-pumped, cut banian body along with some 20 kids, did you even stop to consider how cruel it is to make deaf kids mime about “Sur”? Could you have got 30 adult hearing impaired folks to smile and mime about a sense that they probably have never experienced in their lives? These are kids man. They are just excited to be around the Salman Khan. They don’t know that you shoot black buck for sport. They don’t understand the dark irony of smilingly miming about “Sur”. It’s like asking a blind man to write a 500 word essay describing the beauty of a Van Gogh painting. What? You were expecting us to go all “Awwww so cute, see Salman miming with deaf kids” were you? Well, I almost did, but now I think you will earn more karma shooting paraplegic deer with a submachine rifle from a jeep.
Ustad Rashid Khan – Thank you sir, for breaking the monotony from the Sindhu Bhairavi (a.k.a Amit Bhairavi )
Drums Maestro Drums Sivamani – Saar. Nalla Thanni adikkireenga
L Subramaniam family promotion segment – 2 violins. Equalizer setting on violin = 0
Deepika Padukone – “If I become president of the world, I’ll ban this particular pose from beauty pageants and send everyone with a plastic smile to concentration camps. I’ll also call myself Mother Teresa Mandela.”
And dear vocalist, what’s with the erotic, Silk smitha type rain song voice?
Amjad Ali Khan – Nice Sarod. Must be expensive no? Please be careful ok, especially on Air India
The Kerala checklist. Yesudas – tick. Elephend – tick. Kaikottikali – tick. Fishing nets – tick. Mamootty – tick. Rangoli – what? Fail. Pookkalam is what’s required.
Sigh. Juxtaposing Shiamak with Shobana is like adding aspartame to Chakka pradhaman. Fail. Epic Fail. If there was any justice in this world, Shiamak would join Shobana’s Dance school and be rejected for complete and utter lack of talent.
Dear Aamir Khan Sir. Apropos of your bit in PMSMT, while I must say kudos to the yeoman service rendered by your indefatigable spirit, I must strongly lodge a protest against you for asking young children to accompany you to Khandala, where you propose to arrange for a high level meeting between Mr Sur and Mr Sur.
Sonu Nigam, who most certainly does not look like me, I believe, must have been told by the director that he will be singing solo for several Bollywidiots with no singing talent, for the rest of the video. Our man, due to the extra hair growth around his ear, heard it as “singing soul”, proceeded to listen to several CDs of R Kelly before letting loose. Whoever thought this style of singing was appropriate for MSMT must be made to listen to R Kelly’s discography.
PS: I do not look anything like Sonu in this video, contrary to popular speculation and baseless rumours on Twitter and other “online portal”. My reputation has been seriously demeaned, defamed and threatens the ethical parameters under which I, a blogger, operate. I have no choice but to speak to my lawyer and file a lawsuit against Anantha. That is the only way we can come to a epicwin-epicwin situation.
Sonu douchebaggalogical singing + major front-of-mic overacting = facepalmmoment
Dear Shahid, Ima let you finish, but Sivaji in Mridanga Chakravarthy was the greatest ever overacting while playing a musical instrument. Ever.
Ranbir Kapoor – More R Kelly + Nightsuit
An finally. Shah Rukh, you *really* need to stop doing that wide-open-hands thing. Everybody else is doing it now, and damnit, if Amjad Khan was alive, he’d take those hands and spare us all.
And finally, after a Bollywood orgy, somebody goes – “Hey. We forgot the sportsmen, and after all these overactors, we’ve run out of budget to hire big guns like Tendulkar, Ganguly and co, so let’s go with sportsmen who’ll do it for free, yeah, like from all those obscure olympic sports where we occasionally win medals.
Thank you Bollywood, for telling us that Indian achievers are almost always celebrity children, and not people who are self made. Amitabh jr, Yesudas jr, Shivakumar jr, Shiv Kumar Sharma jr, Amjad Jrs, Rishi Kapoor jr and Padukone jr really encourage all of us towards the lofty desire of wanting to be adopted by celebrity parents. How else can you be successful eh?
And since the producers of this execrable mess have managed to take something that every Indian has good memories about and essentially unzipped their Bollywood designer jeans’ collective fly and let loose, they decided to include some inspiring Armed forces imagery at the end just so that they can be immune from criticism. Yeah. Wrap your sorry bodies with the flag and all will be forgiven eh?