Mile Sur Mera Tumhara: These Seniors Still Silence the Row of Patriotic Indian Advertising

Amidst an array of patriotic advertisements, videos, PM Modi’s trending Independence Day speech, and Facebook messages, why we still choose to mention this Doordarshan song, ideated by Mallik Saab and geniusly written by a still young Piyush Pandey (then an Account Manager and presently the Executive Chairman and Creative Head of Ogilvy and Mather, India)?


  • First telecasted on Independence Day 1988, the “Ek Sur” effortlessly drives the essence of “unity in difference” with one click on the play button, in today’s time of jingo politicians and thought leaders.
  • An eclectic display of the Raag Bhairavi or the Morning Raaga – you don’t get too see it too often in mainstream these days, until and unless you’re a classical music listener.
  • The execution sees an exhilarating blend of Hindustani, Carnatic classical and popular, traditional and modern music, 13 languages and regions into one piece that is so excitable for the ear and the eye. Still as fresh and breathing!
  • Among languages used other than Hindi were Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Marwari, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu – what a super-rich amalgamation; now this so much like what Indian is – well shown and respected! Are the communals and the caste-based political heros still with me?
  • Louis Banks’ hand on the keyboard is one shot to watch out for among others ofcourse – it seamlessly breaks from the string of stars as the film moves into a crescendo. A superb example of no-fancy cinematography and great impact.
  • The three doyens Lata Mangeshkar, Bhimsen Joshi, and Balmurli Krishna simply spell magic, even today! Even with all the Borders, and the Gadars on television around for quick access, I’m still playing it here full-volume in my room on repeat mode on the morning of the country’s 70th Independence Day. So much innocence!
  • The formation of the Indian flag by the children towards the end is a cue that the spirit of cohesiveness should be carried by the generations to come – what a message for life!

Speaking for over 90 minutes this morning, as a part of his speech on Independence Day 2016, PM Modi too stressed on “Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat”. Well, seems like, this unofficial national anthem has been on the “unity” propaganda for 28 years now – well conceptualized and clearly eternal as far as the what it is asking us of us – you clearly know why I love this song as an advertiser and an Indian! Go watch!

The author heads the thought and creative leadership at BrandBerry Marcom, a youthful advertising agency in Delhi.

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