Mile sur: The unofficial Indian anthem
Buoyed by the success of the ‘Freedom’ film, Doordarshan commissioned the late Suresh Mullick to do a magnum opus on the unity of India to be unfolded on August 15, 1988. And thus began a creative journey.
It was a stroke of genius of Mullick sa’ab (as he was affectionately and reverently known in the advertising world) to come up with the concept of fusion in India—bringing diverse music and stars together in a film that could be an anthem. The execution coup was to get music—Hindustani, Carnatic classical and popular, traditional and modern, 13 languages and regions into one piece that was harmonious to the ear and the eye.
Raga Bharavi, a sampoorna raga, was chosen as the base for the music. And getting the words right was a story in itself. After trying with some of the Hindi virtuosos, Mullick sa’ab briefed a young account manager to have a go at it—thinking that he could bring some innocence to the lyrics. At his eighteenth attempt, the young lad got it right and from this emerged the now famous line Mile sur mera tumhara. (The young account manager grew up to become today’s Piyush Pandey.)
To get the right fusion of music, Mullick sa’ab enlisted the help of two geniuses from two different