RAIPUR: Not so long ago, a rumour was circulated widely that the UNESCO had declared India’s National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ as the best in the world. In 2018, the National Anthem is again making news. Shayan Italia, a Mumbai-based songwriter and pianist, can take some credit for it.
The story is now widely known: On July 29, a video of Shayan’s piano rendition of the National Anthem was released on YouTube. “Within eight days, the #IWOULDSTANDFORTHIS video of Rabindranath Tagore’s ode to India attracted over 36.8 million views, surpassing the French national anthem which has 36 million views,” Shayan says.
So, what prompted the Secunderabad-born Parsi musician to do this video? A strong inner persuasion, the nation’s credo and his life’s philosophy inculcated by his late mother, according to Shayan, prompted him to do something for holding India together.“If someone tells you something cannot be done, it is just their way of saying they cannot do it,” he tells The Sunday Standard. Now, Shayan and video director Farhad Vijay Arora are looking forward to their video getting 71 million views by August 15 when India celebrates 71 years of Independence.
The video has crossed 51 million views on YouTube. “We are confident that our version of Rabindranath Tagore’s divine ode will get 71 million views by 15 August,” says Shayan, who dedicates his creation to his mother who died when he was in his teens. “It (the piano) was the instrument my mum gifted me... She was an avid fan of piano classics. The instrument is highly expressive.”
Given the times the country is currently going through, patriotism did come up in the course of the interview. “India is going through trying, divisive times as never before. The singular objective is to let India come together to celebrate our celebrated treasure ‘Jana-Gana-Mana’ and showcase the strength of unity,” Shayan says.
Arora chips in to say the country deserves the very best. “This is the first time any video has been shot entirely on 8K Ultra HD in India,” says the music director.For now, Shayan is happy that he got the opportunity to perform the National Anthem in his own musical way and present it in the digital era.