Shot of Coke, Hopefully
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The industrial town of Karachi did not predict the aftermath of an industrial activity called the Coke Studio. The cult status that this Pakistani music show has acquired today, was not expected even by its creator -- Rohail Hayat. A phenomenon that began in 2008, it reached India a few months later via the Internet. And as the news spread, we saw the inhabitants of this place, unshackled by concerns of genres, bring something reflective and extremely interesting. Even orgasmic.
Already being billed as one of the more significant imports from Pakistan, the show made its most anticipated debut in India last week. We may have bonded over the new Malad studio on Facebook and Twitter already, but if one feels palpitations when it comes to thinking about the Bollywoodisation of the whole concept, then I have every right to feel that way. Comparisons are inevitable. I am not being snarky here, and it may be slightly pre-emptive, but the Indian version of Coke Studio definitely does not seem close to what was expected.
As a YouTuber, Coke Studio Pakistan was always different in many ways. We saw a small, plump unshaven man called Arif Lohar play his chimta and croon Jugni -- a never heard version of the famous traditional Punjabi song. No mood setting through alaaps. The melody just hammered in with simple rhythm patterns in an intimate set up. The drums, guitars, dholaks and keyboard joined along with a jazzy oomph thrown in by Meesha Shafi (her red lipstick as unmistakeable as her wonderful voice) and the result -- a cult track that suddenly raised the bar from the fusion (I do not agree with this word) that we were being fed by raunchy remixwallahs. I am not for up-tempo numbers with heavy orchestration, mostly, but as I watched this man play a few bars on one of the numerous videos floating around on YouTube, I swayed to the groovy hook and stopped only when the video buffered. And as immediate as this music was, there was little doubt that it would go on to become. The video has been hit more than five million times.