‘Coke Studio @ MTV’ reverts to Bollywood music

Published: June 28, 2011
Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall performances remained ordinary and unimpressive. PHOTOS: FILE

Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall performances remained ordinary and unimpressive. PHOTOS: FILE

Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall performances remained ordinary and unimpressive. PHOTOS: FILE Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall performances remained ordinary and unimpressive. PHOTOS: FILE Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall performances remained ordinary and unimpressive. PHOTOS: FILE

After making an unexpectedly good debut, “Coke Studio @ MTV” plummeted in its second episode since it departed from its hitherto traditional melodies, with the performers ultimately creating typical Bollywood music. Despite the incorporation of some traditional instruments, the overall arrangement by the producer   remained ordinary and unimpressive.

One could see that the instrument players tried to imitate their counterparts in the Pakistani “Coke Studio”. The guitarist, who seemed overly inspired by Asad Ahmed – founding member of the rock band Karavan – failed to do justice to the instrument.

To add to the disappointment, their backing vocalists, who are supposed to provide vocal harmony to the lead vocalist’s voice, had no noticeable contribution to the music. The only highlight of the show was when Leslie Lewis came in front of the camera to play the acoustic guitar.

Khagen Gogoi: “Path Kai Paare Hui”

“Path Kai Paare Hui” is an ancient song sung in praise of king Chau Lung Skhapa, who crossed the Chinese border to enter Assam. The song, which centres on Skhapa’s journey, starts with a very grand instrumental melody full of Shehnais and trumpets. Apart from some good traditional Indian instrumental, there is nothing unique in the overall structure of the song. Although Khagen Gogoi came as a surprise package in the first episode, he failed to leave his mark with this song. (5/10)

Megha Sriram Dalton: “Dheere Dheere”

Essentially a medley of four indigenous songs from Jharkhand and Bihar, “Dheere Dheere” describes the different experiences that a woman goes through in her life. The high notes of the talented vocalist were certainly memorable. However, after an impressive beginning, the medley turned into a typical item number when the electric guitar was forced into the song giving it a rather clumsy rock beat. Despite the presence of great vocal talent and several instrument players, Lewis succeeded in turning a folk tune into merely another Bollywood song. (6/10)

Akriti Kakar and Shankar Mahadevan: “Mehrmaa”

Originally composed by Shankar Mahadevan, “Mehr-maa”, meaning beloved, is a sufi song in which a girl compares her love for her man to the love of God. The song started with a nice acoustic sound and as soon as Akriti Kakar began singing, she took the number to the next level. Kakar’s vocal prowess is unmatchable and if given the due projection, she could be the next Shreya Ghoshal (leading Indian playback singer) of Bollywood. Mahadevan, who joined in the second half, balanced out the duet with his typical alaaps, making it a memorable performance, even though the song itself didn’t offer anything unique musically. (7/10)

Megha Dalton, Khagen Gogoi and Megha Dalton, Lewis and Mahadevan: “Jiya Laage Na”

“Jiya Laage Na”, an original composition by Lewis, is a very typical melody fused with other languages. Although, Dalton, Gogoi and Mahadevan also contribute to add diversity and uniqueness, unfortunately the final performance turned out to be a very run-of-the-mill effort, robbed of the exclusivity that Lewis had hoped for. The typical alaaps by Mahadevan remind one of Colonial Cousins – a band formed by Indian duo Hariharan and Lewis – whose mainstream presence has faded away with time. (5/10)

Mahadevan: “Allah Hi Reham”

“Allah Hi Reham” is a sufi composition by Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa which was originally sung by Rashid Khan for the film My Name is Khan. The song starts with the mellow sound of Sarangi complimenting the heavy vocals of Mahadevan but subsequently the song was not very different from the film’s version.  Although, it was expected that the studio would utilise the talent and natural ability of Mahadevan effectively, it ended up sounding monotonous. In fact it does even deserve a second listen. (5/10)

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • akash
    Jun 28, 2011 - 2:19AM

    hmm bollywood music is our staple.. honestly we dont mind it all.. anyways music should be good.. whether it is band or bollywood… for us Bollywood offers more choices.. more high quality music.. if you look composers like AR Rahman.. or Vishal Bhardwaj (omkara and kamine fame) who are very original and talented.. and there are others coming up as well.. i guess band or music group will have to come with something extra ordinary to compete with these guys..
    in pakistan things are different.. with film industry not as active.. with junoon initially capturing imagination.. many good bands came up after that.. however i feel.. not all bands are really good or not all songs of an album really good. for me Rahat fateh ali stands out.. and may be shafqat amanat ali. some of the singers bit over rated for me like Atid aslam..
    Rahat is by far the best.. one of the best in whole of subcontinent or south east asia.Recommend

  • Bruno
    Jun 28, 2011 - 3:59AM

    Today I don’t feel like doing anything (tu ru ru ru)
    I just want to stay home and sing (tu ru ru ru)
    Don’t feel like picking up my phone
    So leave a message at the tone
    Today I don’t feel like doing anything, nothing at all….
    That basically sums up the amount of effort put fort for the Indian Coke Studio! Lackluster and lazy!Recommend

  • Yahya
    Jun 28, 2011 - 5:21AM

    akash@ then where is the fussion of east & west ….. this is coke studio all about .. All indian songs sound same & its pretty lame to hear them … MTV should not have organised this CS .. they really don’t have talent .. so they do apply their copycat policy with disastrous results .Recommend

  • Saman
    Jun 28, 2011 - 10:10AM

    They do have traditional singers in India don’t they??? Should bring them in..Recommend

  • akash
    Jun 28, 2011 - 10:16AM

    @yahya.. mate i have not seen program.. i do not intend to see it either. :-). i have seen couple of episode of pakistan’s CS and a 2 min promo of indian CS… neither appealed me…

    each to his own.. i love more pure form of music.. fusion is bit to adventurous for me.. in few cases it turns out good but in majority it is hopeless.. (am talking about fusion in indian music scene, dont know about fusion happening in pakistan)

    i love rahet.. and kishore the way they are.. not with fusion. But thats me… agree MTV should not have organised this in india.. it is still bollywood centric.. and i would any day love my bollywood than x.. y.. z.. band/group.

    where i differ from you is that we dont have talent..bollywood is full talents.. talent does not only mean that u organise bunch of kids and make a mediocre band with one song in entire album which actually is good. Not so long ago AR Rahman got an oscar.. and i am sure pakistanis listen to bollywood as much as indians… Recommend

  • sumit
    Jun 28, 2011 - 3:04PM

    what are u reviewing man?2nd episode is better than 1st one.they are improving.jiye lage na is quite good with good melodic rhythem.agreed with you on meherma.when we have people like shankar on cs,they will drag always bollywood into it.i dont know why shankar is always eager to show that he can sing alaap and high note.shankar is simply ruining indian cs.Recommend

  • Kevin Fernandes
    Jun 28, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Does a Pakistani news website needs to keep on commenting on a foreign music programme aired on tv episode by episode as if it is the only programme on tv in India and all of Pakistan is glued to it??? And as an Indian I know that there are hundreds of such music show on our television and quite a few of them are even more better than this one.Recommend

  • Hamna
    Jun 29, 2011 - 11:46PM

    @ Kevin
    I think it’s obvious that why Pakistanis are interested in only this music show even if you have hundreds of them. Coke studio was first launched in Pakistan and then in India so i think it’s a bit natural to be curious about it. As for as the review is concerned, well our newspapers give reviews of Hollywood, Bollywood movies as well. Is that offensive?Recommend

  • Hamna
    Jun 29, 2011 - 11:51PM


    Anything good will appeal anyone. Pakistanis listen to English music as well, not just Bollywood. Nothing wrong with Bollywood. Everyone has its own taste in music. I loved old Bollywood songs but now i don’t follow it anymore. I don’t think that music has the same quality now. Too much focus on commercialism. I think that was the reason that people are not in favour of Bollywood flavour in CS. It’s not us only but even Indians themselves think this way. If you don’t believe me then read your own newspapers and blogs. You will understand.Recommend

  • AN
    Jun 30, 2011 - 12:42AM


    Coke studio is not meant for bollywood music. Noone is disrespecting Bollywood music. CS mtv is meant for folk, classical or contemporary music mainly as it was intended by the director. There is no harm in using bollywood song as well but the real trick is to make it sound totally different from its original version. Simple as that.Recommend

  • Zak
    Jun 30, 2011 - 7:33AM

    Likes look it from different angle:

    Due to the unimaginable success of coke studio Pakistan, coke studio @ MTV will come across sheer scrutiny. I will not compare the music, as music in any form should be respected. One thing i noticed, that is kinda sad is, coke studio @ MTV made coke studio more commercial. You will not find it more open to people.

    1) There is no official you tube channel that provide all the songs and preview (coke studio pakistan has a very good and organized you tube channel).

    2) There website is pretty lame. At least for I.T hub like india i was expecting a very good website.Recommend

  • Waleed
    Jul 2, 2011 - 5:27PM

    @Bruno: WHOOO DOGGY!!!! you my MAN just blew it!!! LOLRecommend

  • Ali S
    Jul 15, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Indian media doing what it does best: ripoffs


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