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An anthem for India's wildlife

With India's 68th Independence Day around the corner, a TV channel has launched Yeh Mera India, an animal anthem composed by Salim-Sulaiman and sung by Salim Merchant, Neeti Mohan and Monali Thakur

India boasts of a diversity of flora and fauna but it rarely gets highlighted. In a bid to create awareness about the country’s prolific wildlife, a new anthem, Yeh Mera India, will feature on Animal Planet as the title song of a new wildlife series by the same name on the channel.

A scene from the video featuring (from left) Sulaiman Merchant, Neeti Mohan, Salim Merchant and Monali Thakur
A scene from the video featuring (from left) Sulaiman Merchant, Neeti Mohan, Salim Merchant and Monali Thakur

The video takes viewers on a round-the-country trip offering glimpses of wildlife seen in the Himalayan mountains, the river Ganges, and across the North-East.

The multi-lingual anthem has been composed by music directors Salim and Sulaiman Merchant and sung by Salim Merchant (Hindi), Monali Thakur (Bengali) and Neeti Mohan (Tamil).

An Indian elephant
An Indian elephant

Speaking about the anthem, singer Neeti Mohan says, “The anthem is aimed at instilling a sense of pride about our country and its wildlife, so that it creates awareness and leads to conservation efforts and protection of nature.”

Mohan had worked with Salim-Sulaiman in the past as well. In 2003, when she was part of Channel V’s pop star band Aasma, the song Chandu Ke Chacha was composed by the brothers.

Peacock unfurling its feathers
Peacock unfurling its feathers

When we asked Mohan about the challenges in singing in Tamil, she reminds us that she had performed earlier with composer AR Rahman, and had some exposure to the language. “My pronunciation of Tamil words is almost perfect. I had an instructor who helped me with the diction. It took seven-eight trials to get it right. But after that, it was easy to record as the words and the tune is catchy,” she explains.

While there are songs that celebrate India’s landmarks, diversity and its people, a tune dedicated to animals is a unique proposition. Mohan emphasises that the song is not preachy and still manages to stress upon wildlife conservation. “It is a happy tune that is great to listen and dance to.

King Cobra
King Cobra

I am a huge animal lover and have always had a pet at home; likewise, with Salim, Sulaiman and Monali. There are lots of initiatives to ensure animal welfare and they are doing a great job. Since we are not involved directly, this is our way of collaborating for the cause,” she observes.

Log on to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1SUZX5SH7k
The programme will be aired from August 15, every night at 8 pm.

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