We, Pakistanis, have a great deal of love and passion for music. Yes dear world, we do have feelings for things other than food and lawn joraas! Ten years ago, when Rohail Hayat came up with the first season of coke studio, the Pakistani nation did what its best at! It overreacted! In a cute way of course(because that’s who we are as a nation :’) ). The new show was treated just the way a guest from abroad is treated in a brown home. It was welcomed amidst a colorful show of mixed emotions that ranged from happiness to patriotism to anger and in some cases jealousy (not to point someone out but I’ll drop a subtle hint: the guys across border). Some were amazed at the overall presentation of the show. Others, feeling possessive about the sanctity of their childhood songs, didn’t like idea of them being meddled with by newcomers. Then there were those as well who were just ecstatic to see our music fraternity working in such perfect coherence and unity. All in all, the start of coke studio was well received by the audience and led on too much expected anticipation for the coming years.
Over the years Coke Studio gave birth to amazing pieces of not only music but also musicians. We got to see talented new singers, classic guitarists, overly enthusiastic drummers and other instruments of music that we didn’t even know existed! As the production changed hands, from Rohail Hayat to Strings, Coke Studio found itself amidst a whirlpool of discussions. Some blamed politics, others favoured a change of musical productions while numerous remained unaffected because as Pakistanis our only motto is: “humein khaanaa chahye, chahy jo marzi jasy marzi pakaye”.
Moving on to present times, our dear old friend is now ten years old (say MashAllah you kaafirs). The new season of Coke Studio reminds me of the famous saying “The older the better”. This is usually said about wine. And heavens know how thankful some of you are for the fact that we don’t drink wine! Keeping up with the tradition of providing a platform for young singers, Coke studio’s department of Nepotism brought out Danyal Zafar and Zaw Ali for us. Danyal Zafar, who resembles his brother Ali Zafar more than Ali Zafar does himself, proved to be more of an eye candy. Now I don’t say he wont improve. Of course he will! Hopefully in no time will he start singing into the mic, using it for its original purpose rather than a plain prop :p Zaw Ali, accompanying the most versatile father one could have, gave a quite above average performance, considering it was her first and she was also facing the pressure of having to sing along a singer as praised as her father.
Coming to the show’s rescue(as always) was QB, who with her extremely powerful voice, gave us the ever soulful Laal Meri Patt.
But the people are still not really happy. They do not seem to get over last year’s “Paar Channa”, which by the way is as difficult getting over as your ex(did I just pull at some heart strings?) and want Noori (especially Ali Hamza) to give them something just as creatively beautiful. I am not saying it’s as amazing as the previous seasons that gave us the heavy beats of Sami Meri Waar, the hurt behind the Bewaja, the much stirred controversy of Afreen Afreen, the power pack that was Tajdar E Haram, the melancholic-yet-melodious Shaamaan pay gayiaan, and the wedding bells of Ayaa Laariye. But here’s what I suggest. Despite the fact that this season has not given us the best songs ever, it has indeed dinak tin- given-tinak din- us-tinak din- some-tinak din-enjoyable- tinak din- songs, so stick around.This season is only halfway through, maybe all it needs is support and motivation from its audience.
I mean come on! Lets face it! Our coke studio has given us way better music in the past ten years than the entire hundred years of Bollywood and hollywood combined. It might get better, if not upright outstanding. But even if it doesn’t, we need not lose hope in one of the finest pieces of musical art this country ever produced. Remember the time you flunked that one test in school? How would you have felt if your parents had put you up for adoption because of that!
The point is give it time. Maybe even give it a break. It’s okay to not be the best every single time. As a nation we have this innate habit of comparing ourselves to Khalid Uncle ka beta or Nasreen Aunti ki beti. Well! Now’s the time to do it! We are still way better than Gandhi uncle ka beta guys! (wink wink). Be proud, be happy. Don’t just give up on it. You cannot expect the top performer to be always the top performer. There is always one time when even the winner faces defeat. Even the best can have the worst day. Once again, not pointing out anybody, hence a subtle hint :