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jana ganan mana: The Indian EXPRESS 28.1.2000

|featured artistes| |album| |track list|

Delhi rocks to pop patriotism, Rahman style

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 27: When an all-white A R Rahman comes to
town, one can expect flashbulbs to pop and overworked camera crews to
cross wires. When he comes to declare his love for the country once
again, with 30 different renditions (by artistes as varied as Lata
Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and Pandit Jasraj) of the national anthem, you
can expect everyone to stand to attention.

That's exactly what happened in the Capital on Thursday, when the man
who makes Michael Jackson's ringlets seem passe, made an appearance
to release his latest album Jana Gana Mana 2000. That was just before he
whizzed off to sing for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at the National
Stadium and then to do namaaz at the Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah.

Giving him company was G Bharat of Bharatbala Productions, who takes
pride in the fact that he has re-packaged patriotism into pop music, thus
taking pop patriotism literally. Also present at the five-star function were
Sudha Raghunathan, Shobha Gurtu, Hariharan (sansthe ponytail) and
Pandit Jasraj, the latter looking none the worse for the mauling he received
at the hands of a posthumous Protima Gauri Bedi in Timepass.

Lata Mangeshkar and sister Asha Bhonsle, both of whom have lent their
voice to the album (together in one sequence), did not turn up, though.

While Rahman said the album attempted to bring out the inherent soul in
both the vocal and instrumental renditions of the national anthem, he also
reiterated that the music was totally unlike Vande Mataram which had
been adapted to modern beats. 

``The album was more like a producer's job since it involved putting all the
renditions together. Though it took us three weeks to record, the
production took us three months. While Vande Mataram was a popular
album, this one is a completely non-commercial venture. It was something
I wanted to do. It is not pop patriotism.''

Unlike Desh Ka Salam, which, he says, was produced for the soldiers in
Kargil and was updated to match today'ssounds and music. ``But this is
not the case with Jana Gana Mana 2000

.After all, it is our national anthem and we didn't change its music or try to
give it a modern touch. Its rendition was made slower, though, purely to
give it soul. And it is meant for the people, as the album is not my

Bharat believes, like Rahman, that the idea behind Jana Gana Mana and
his previous Vande Mataram, was to direct latent nationalism towards the
mainstream. Which is why the album has greats like Hari Prasad
Chaurasia, Bhimsen Joshi, D K Pattamal, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha
Bhonsle, Begum Parveena Sultana and Pandit Jasraj. It also has
Rabindranath Tagore's original rendition as well as an instrumental version
of the national anthem. Combining Hindustani, Carnatic and folk music,
the album also comes complete with a small booklet which has been
designed by Milind Moudgill.

In a burst of real national integration, the video has been shot not in
Rajasthan like Vande Mataram, but inLadakh, where Bharat has filmed a
40-piece string orchestra performing the national anthem. Which is why
both Rahman and Bharat insist on calling it a collector's item. One
supposes it's only time before they decide to do the same favour to Sare
Jahan Se Achcha.

Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.




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