29 October, 2020

Packaged Patriotism

'Vande Mataram' is set to assume a techno-pop avatar under A.R. Rahman's baton. But will the nation sway to its beat?

Packaged Patriotism

IT was a stirring war cry that kept India's freedom fighters going when their spirits threatened to sag, a mesmeric mantra that inspired an enslaved nation to take on the might of the British empire and break free. Today, Vande Mataram, the inspirational poem Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote in his 19th century novel, Ananda Math, is an almost-forgotten choral relic of the past. But not for 33-year-old G. Bharat 'Bala', an ad filmmaker who has put his commercial work on hold to pursue an ambitious campaign to reawaken the spirit that won India freedom 50 years ago.

Bala—son of V. Ganapathy, a freedom fighter who was a close associate of K. Kamaraj—roped in boyhood buddy and whizkid composer A.R. Rahman to front a high-voltage album with popular Pakistani qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, internationally-known guitarist Dominic Miller, master art director Thotta Tharani, who has done a brilliant theme painting for the album's cover, and the giant Japanese company, Sony Music International, which will produce and market the recording...



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