When the hugely patriotic ‘Vande Mataram' came to us in a different avatar from A. R. Rahman, old timers balked at first but all timers embraced it with open arms and a function simply isn't a function if it does not have the Rahman-tuned ‘Vande Mataram', with the stage fervently alive in a chorus.

Now Midhun Iswor, all of 22, has an ambitious patriotic song a la Vande Mataram up his sleeve. He is composing the music for the Vijay Aditya directed Tamil movie, ‘Eesal' and its Malayalam version, ‘12 a.m.' This song is not exactly ‘Vande Mataram'. Its lyrics are different, only the beginning has the ‘Vande Mataram' line.

Kamal in Malayalam

The nine-minute song is in 24 languages of India and sung by 24 singers, not necessarily native speakers of the language, to accentuate the unity in diversity factor, perhaps. So we have no less a person than Kamal Hassan to sing the Malayalam lines and Suresh Gopi sings the Tamil verses.

The others who have given their voices for this patriotic song are Karthik in Kannada, Krishna Iyer in Telugu. Jassi Gift has sung the Hindi lines, while Unnikrishnan, the Punjabi lines and Oriya is by Benny Dayal. Swetha croons the Marathi lines, Biju Narayanan, the Kashmiri, and Afsal, Manipuri. Remember the girl who played Suresh Gopi's daughter in ‘Janakan'? Priya Lal. Yes, she sings the Gujarati lines. Anitha (Chandamaama… in ‘Rock n Roll') does the Urdu part and Shan sings in Mythili. Sangeetha sings in Konkani, Gayathri in Tulu, Sumathi in Rajasthani, Poornashree in Assamese, Rakesh in Sindhi, Anu Kadammanitta in Bhojpuri, Vijay Aditya (yes, the director himself) in Bengali, Binraj in the Saurashtra dialect, Nepali by Mithun and Balu sings the Baduga lines. There are Sanskrit lines which the music director Midhun himself sings.

The lyrics, by Roy Puramadam arouse patriotism and speak about the national flag, independence, India leading the world in several ways, fighting for equality etc. The beginning goes like this after the Vande Mataram call: ‘Swathandryathin moovarnakkodi nenjil paarum Bharatabhoomi, samastha sundara mohanamaanee paarinu thanalaam Hindusthan…' “The Tamil version is slightly different, and has been co-written by Mass Venkat and Roy. About five lines each of the 24 languages make up the song,” says this young music director from Kozhikode, who has top grades from the London Trinity College in piano and violin. By the way, he also plays the guitar and has learnt Carnatic music. There are six other songs in the movie, many shot in Kerala, for which Roy has written the lyrics too. Midhun is also acting in this movie, and singing as well. “I play one of the students in the college, where this song is sung. Actually, I sing the opening lines, playing a guitar. I also have a not-so-small role,” gushes the musician. His father, Madhu, is a keyboard artist and now you know from where he got his calling.

Roy Puramadom is a businessman based in Munnar is crazy about music (read Yesudas) and books. He wrote the lyrics for ‘Senior Mandrake' and also ‘Therukkoothu', which, however, never got released. Roy has written some devotionals earlier too.

Why is the movie called ‘12 a.m.' in Malayalam and ‘Eesal' in Tamil? The horror flick narrates events taking place in 6 hours, 12-6, that's why! Director Vijay Adithya had earlier assisted popular Tamil directors like S. J Surya, Sundar C. and Malayalam directors, Sasi and Biju P. Nair. The song has been filmed and the movie is to be released sometime in August. Sony is releasing the songs shortly. Suresh Gopi is playing an important guest role in the movie. The magic words Vande Mataram and patriotic verses may well usher in a new wave of ‘national fervour' in the music scene.