50 artistes from 17 ethnicities whistle to one tune: Mile sur mera tumhara

A still from the Youtube video featuring whistlers of the Indian Whistlers’ Association singing to Mile sur mera tumhara

It was a déjà vu moment for those who grew up watching ‘Mile sur mera tumhara’ on Doordarshan in the 90s, when 50 whistlers across 17 ethnic identities whistled the popular tune in a YouTube video that was released on the eve of Republic Day to mark the 15th anniversary of the Indian Whistlers’ Association (IWA).

The original version of the famous national integrity song featured singers and actors across the country rendering the song in different languages.

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The new video features whistlers aged between 13 and 71. In a press release, IWA founder-president Rigveda Deshpandey, who also directed the video, said it took almost three months to produce and was handled by a team of four.

“Our love for the art form, our perseverance, the wonderful team spirit and immense co-operation from each artist, is what saw this venture through successfully” Rigveda said in the release.

The team before releasing the video, organised a special preview for Ashok Patki, the composer of the original song, at his residence. “

“This new track ensured that every language section, with its independent rhythm (taal) and tempo (gati), was reproduced as close to the original, but also enhanced using modern elements like arpegios, to add a contemporary flair too. The classical percussions and string instrument were all recorded live in Mumbai, with our own in-house artists,” the release said.

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The association was founded in 2004 by Deshpandey to promote musical whistling as a performing art. It has grown to accommodate people from all age groups and walks of life. It recently earned entry into the Limca Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, India Book of Records and Best of India Records in 2018-19 for being ‘The largest group of people (150) whistling together’.