Manoj Muntashir’s fabulous poetry of patriotism for the song Teri mitti in the Akshay Kumar starrer Kesari has now been converted into a song celebrating the bravery of the doctors across India fighting the Coronavirus.
Explaining this transcreation Manoj says to me in an exclusive chat, “Soldiers are not only those who fight at the border. Whenever our country is in a state of crisis the common people of the country should show uncommon solidarity and behave like soldiers. Come what may they should not leave their battlefront. Hum apne morche pe danttey rahenge.”
Manoj who has in the past penned beautiful songs for films such as Akira, MD Dhoni, Naam Shabana and Baby says the country is fighting an invisible enemy. “And we see the soldier’s character in many essential professions, be it doctors, the sanitizers, the police officers or the small grocers who are determined to keep their shops open…all of these have become soldiers now.”
Speaking on how the song happened Manoj says, “One day I got a call from Akshay Sir(Kumar) about turning the Kesari song on patriotism to a tribute to doctors fighting the Coronavirus. He just kept repeating, ‘They are Gods. We can’t repay the debt we owe them but at least we can acknowledge their contribution.’ I thought that was a great idea.I asked Akshay sir to give me two days. But as soon as we disconnected the phone call and I went out for a walk, all the lyrics for the song came to me and I handed them over to Akshay Sir. He even commented, ‘Tu toh do din baad dene wala ttha.”
Manoj says it’s the beauty of the original composition that inspired him. “The beauty of the original composition by Arko and the singing by B Praak is such that I was inspired. Let me tell you, this was the simplest song to write. I just had to hold the emotions in my hand, and the song wrote itself out. When I saw the sacrifices of the doctors, how they have been away from home for weeks and now months combating the virus, how they haven’t picked up their children in their arms for ages for fear of infecting them…these are heart-melting incidents.”
Manoj feels we can never repay the medical profession for their sacrifices. “No, this song is not even trying to repay them for their sacrifices. Nothing in the world can repay them. We don’t have the currency to pay them back. But in this song we’ve shown our love and gratitude for the soldiers in white: Beemar hai jo kis dharm ka hai humse na kabhi yeh bhed hua/ sarhad pe jo vardi khaki tthi ab usska rang safed hua. We just hope the doctors will embrace our song just as the soldiers at the border had embraced the original song.”