The new ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ (imaginatively titled ‘Phir Mile Sur...’) has not gone down too well, apparently — news that has prompted looks of dazed confusion among those responsible.
“Really? Self-satisfied filmstars outnumbering sportsmen and soldiers by about seven hundred to one didn’t work as a picture of a unified, patriotic India?” one shocked producer was heard to mutter.
Well, no harm done. Plans are afoot for ‘Mile Sur III’.
This time, the plan is to go the whole hog and step nimbly across that line between the outrageous and the absurd in the fervent hope that at least .002 per cent of the Blue Billion will be prompted to watch it all the way through.
The first frame, to be shot in Mumbai in deference to the country’s commercial capital and sole source of employment to the Marathi manoos, will feature Uddhav Thackeray clubbing a cowering Aussie cricketer as he tries to bat for the Indian Premier League.
It will be hard to keep Raj Thackeray out of this frame, so he will be given the option of digging up the pitch in the background so he doesn’t feel too cheated.
A popular vote has revealed that this first frame is found to make altogether more sense than that of ‘Phir Mile Sur...’, which featured A.R. Rahman tinkering on a strange, buzzing instrument but did not permit him to sing.
From here, the video will sweep to Rajasthan, represented this time by a reality star as yet undiscovered. Or, in deference to Shilpa Shetty (the original star of the scene), the next Indian anywhere in the world to be called an imli, pappadum or any other Indian spice, condiment or homemade snack.
Gujarat will be passed over altogether — the Tatas may find reason to go there, but they're not in the video either.
Instead, the music video will sweep further north to the scene of our nation's Original Glory (Sin to some, but who cares about those pseudo-secularists).
A sun-kissed glimpse of where the Babri Masjid once stood will take the nations tireless, khaki-clad sevaks back to the good old days.
It is possible that a high-ranking Pakistani official will make an appearance in full dress regalia, but as long as he looks on mutely as the tricolour waves in the background, the message will not have been marred and all will be well.
Shahid Kapoor will be unable to perform this time as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Amplifiers has obtained a restraining order and he can no longer come within grappling distance of any voice-recording or -amplifying equipment.
Oh yes, there’s a shot in the south somewhere. Madras? Must be…
And that guy who plays hockey… or is it soccer. Bhaichung? He’s from somewhere in the north-east? He’ll sing too.
The video will be available in two forms on DVD — regular and self-destructing.