Mahnoor Farhan writes about Coke Studio Season 9 and its unmet desire to woo the public
Coke Studio Season 9 kicked off a few weeks ago, and the promos took the whole country by storm! Coke Studio, the best platform for singers to make their debut in the Pakistani music industry, is one of the most celebrated platforms in our country.
It releases an episode every week, and each week brings with it a breath of fresh air. The episodes are looked forward towards impatiently.
However, this season of Coke Studio did not fare as well as it usually does. Along with praise, a lot of criticism surrounded it as well. With 6 debut singers, and 30 singers associated with it, one would have expected it to be a raging success but alas, this was not the case.
Episode 1 of Season 9 was a real disappointment, excluding Abida Parveen’s ‘Aaqa’, which more or less saved the entire episode. Abida Parveen’s vocals are in league of their own. She proves time and again that she is indeed a legend! And to bring on Ali Sethi in the mix provided listeners with an amalgamation of old and new talent.
Episode 2 was a step up from Episode 1. Bholay Bhalay, Afreen Afreen, Baliye (Laung Gawacha), and Man Kunto Maula were all good songs. With all the major singers of our industry being featured in this episode, Quratulain Baloch, Meesha Shafi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Javed Bashir, one would, however, have expected it to be surpass all expectations but this was not to be true.
Episode 3 was a HUGE let down. Not one song was pleasant to listen to, and the pair-ups just did not work here.
Episode 4 brought back the Coke Studio feels. Paar Channa De, Uddi Ja, and Aaya aariye showed us why Coke Studio is loved and cherished by many.
Momina Mustehsan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan made a comeback in Episode 5 but they failed to save this episode from its doom as well. Momina fans were majorly disappointed by her ‘Main Raasta’, and Rahat could also not do justice to ‘Sadaa’. And in all honesty, Jhalliya was the only bearable song in this episode for me.
Episode 6 was, once again, a major disappointment. One would have thought that maybe Momina’s newfound fan following would have helped this episode, but looks like even that didn’t help. But we’ve got to admit, she’s a perfect mix of beauty and brains.
Episode 7 had created a hype as it was Amjad Sabri’s last ever performance. ‘Rang’ truly lived up to its expectations. To have the opportunity to hear from Amjad Sabri again was truly a remarkable experience. And we could see how and why this song had to be the finale. Apart from this, only ‘Dil Kamla’ was a nice enough song – the rest weren’t satisfactory enough. All of this makes us question: what truly is the identity of Coke Studio now? And does Coke Studio still matter? Only Season 10 will unveil that.
Having said that, my favorite from this season, however, was Afreen Afreen. Remaking one of Nusrat Ali Khan’s best qawwali’s is not an easy task, but in my opinion, it was a job well done and a song well sung. There was much criticism surrounding this song. But the only way to understand the essence of this rendition was to not compare it to the Legend, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Leaving such a hefty comparison aside, Momina’s velvety and Rahat’s melodious voice brought a new and refined flavour to this qawwali. However, I do understand why most people hated it. This is due to the fact that it was one of Nusrat’s most popular qawwalis. No matter how well someone sings it, it will never be the same because Nusrat is unmatchable. Comparison is never going to get anyone anywhere, but if you forget Nusrat’s version and listen to Rahat’s version, Im sure you’ll love it.
Overall, Coke Studio Season9 was far from satisfying. It shaped up to be quite a disappointment, and I hope Coke Studio learns from its mistakes, takes all the criticism into account, and gives us a better season than this one next time, living up to its reputation.