Help me identify the people in Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was first aired on TV on 15 Aug 1988. It instantly captured everyone’s attention.

(update: thanks to all the people who contributed their memory and brainpower, I got another 10-odd names on the list and I think we now have all the ‘celeb’ people identified. The spreadsheet remains open for comments in case anyone has any new information to add.)

It’s been 29 years and “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” continues to play on our TV screens (now admittedly seen on the telly only by DD watchers like me — we are still a large group, btw). Since August 15 1988, each time you see it, it taps into something deep, into a reserve of connectedness and pride that the sceptic in me is always surprised by.

But who are the people you see on screen?

For many years, I’ve answered quiz questions about the famous people who appear in the music video (a phrase, btw, that hardly existed in desi TV lexicons in 1988). I’ve also set the occasional trivia bit around it. But I must confess: even till this day, I do not know several people who were featured in it. Who’s the lady who appears at the beginning of the Tamil segment (a dancer, clearly)? Who are all the people who alight from the Calcutta Metro — I can only identify some of them.

In matters like these, the web has a poor history. Or worse, like Wikipedia’s article on it is incorrect, in addition to being incomplete (and this information rapidly disseminates).

So I decided to make a list of the celebs I could spot and ask for help in identifying the others. In this way, I’d like to scratch that little curiosity itch that resurfaces each time I see the video.

Can you help?

  • Here’s the list — it’s a Google spreadsheet. (After an initial round of crowdsourcing, new info has been added. The spreadsheet remains open for comments in case anyone has any new information to add.)
  • Take a look at the video again, to refresh your memory:
  • I’ve marked in red the ones I don’t know. I’m primarily looking to fill these in. Put in your entry (or leave a comment)
  • If you spot an error in what I’ve put, feel free to point it out (preferably, leave a comment on the sheet)
  • If you are using comments, please do leave your name behind and I’ll try and ensure I thank everyone who contributed in an update to this post.
  • Oh, and spread the word — so that our chances of improving this data go up.

I’m also curious to know if I can contact someone who appeared in the video: there are a lot of ‘common’ folks and I’d love to know the experience of being in, arguably, India’s most iconic piece of public service content.

(Next up, I’d like to do the list of people who appear in this now nostalgia-filled video — the Mile Sur of Indian Sports. How many can you spot?)