more than 10 years ago, Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad produced a series of superb videos to promote national integration. These included the "Spread the light of freedom" featuring most well known sports personalities up to that point (these included the famous ones - cricketers like Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Srikanth, Chandra, Venkat, Prasanna; athletes like Milkha Singh and PT Usha, tennis stars like Nirupama Mankad, hockey players (if i remember right it was Merwyn Fernandes), absolute unknowns such as basketball player Abbas Montasir (that is what i have heard - he is the tall bearded guy, looks like Prof. Katre from Agrawal Classes in Mumbai - without the glasses) and other folks i cannot recall. It was a very big hit - and was produced by some of the top advertising minds in the country (Suresh Malik, who was then Creative Head of Ogilvy and Mather).
Following this was the "mile sur mera tumhaara, to sur bane hamaara" - trying to emphasize national integration - this time featuring not just sports stars but accomplished personalities from all walks of life - film stars (amitabh, mithun, jitendra, waheeda rehman, sharmila tagore, shabana azmi, hema malini, tanuja etc.), tv stars - the entire cast of "tamas", singers bhimsen joshi, dr. balamuralikrishnan, lata mangeshkar; sports - narendra hirwani, venkatraghavan, prakash padukone, arun lal; moviemakers mrunal sen and others, artist mario miranda, the list goes on and on ... and also the common man from various parts of the country ..... i recently learnt (thanks to jayadeep) about a cool video produced by a few grad students at MIT using the same theme and music - its available on the web at their website. there is a large version (~60mb) and a small version (~10 mb). i thought it was a pretty cool concept - and a pretty good effort for an amateur production. the ending is also cool with the robotic arm and the indian flag.
and then ofcourse there was the "des raag" feature, based on the "des" raag in hindustani classical music and featuring prominent musicians (vocalists, and instrumentalists) from hindustani and carnatic styles of music as well as dancers from all major traditional indian dance forms. it was a nearly 14 minute feature, but a thoroughly enjoyable one - money well spent by the government IMO.
after that the lok seva sanchar parishad almost fell by the wayside - we never saw any more of such masterpieces from it (i have been away from india for a few years now, would love to know if there have been any more). an article in the hindu talks about its importance from the point of view of social advertising. i'd think it would be cool to revisit the "spread the light of freedom" feature with todya's newer superstars - tendulkar, dravid, leander paes, gopi chand, dhanraj pillay, anju george, vishwanathan anand etc. not only would it be another opportunity for meaningful social advertising, it would give stars who are not day to day public figures a chance at real nationwide exposure. i dont even know wat our olympic heroes look like (ofcourse we would have loved to see them carry the olympic torch instead of film stars, but that is a totally different story). also, today's entertainers are a totally new lot, im sure they would love to participate in such an endeavor ... and i as a member of the public look forward to newer versions of the lok seva sanchar parishad classics ... heck i would be glad just to see the older ones :)