In perhaps the most star-studded season of the hit music show, the first episode featured musicians such as Shafqat Amanat Ali, Ahmed Jahanzeb, Momina Mustehsan and Ali Zafar’s debutante brother Daniyal amongst others.
The launch, held on August 11, saw all the stars and the Coke Studio team grace the event, along with producers Strings. The band members Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood shared how hectic the filming and recording process of songs was. “They are recorded in one take. Whatever you see is all being shot at once with 21 cameras shooting simultaneously,” said Kapadia, adding that the amount of work that artists put into the process was huge.
Maqsood shared the process comprised three stages. “The first phase is deciding what songs would be featured. The second stage revolves around the artists going in the jamming room and constructing and reconstructing them,” he said. The third part was when the artists finally brought their own special vibe to the tracks and the recording phase.
Subsequently, four tracks were played – Allahu Akbar by Shafqat and Jahanzeb, Chaa Rahi Kaali Ghata by Hina Nasrullah and Amanat Ali, Muntazir by Zafar and Mustehsan, and Ranjish He Sahi by Ali Sethi, in tribute to Mehdi Hasan.
Out of all, Allahu Akbar received the most appreciation for its beautiful composition by Shuja Haider. After delivering Khaki Banda – arguably the best song of 2016 – Jahanzeb returns with with this beautiful hamd. His vocals mash well with the Khamaaj hitmaker – the kind of energy the two bring is unparalleled. With many arguing the declining standards of Coke Studio, its tracks like Allahu Akbar that remind us why the show could is the ‘Sound of the Nation.’
While we started off well with the first track, it all went downhill from there. With Sahir Ali Bagga’s Chaa Rahi Kaali Ghata brought Nasrullah’s melodious honey dew voice but Amanat Ali’s vocals diminished the song’s impact. The two didn’t gel as well as one would think.
When it came to one of this year’s most-awaited debuts, Zafar didn’t impress either. The Mustehsan-Zafar duet Muntazir turns out to be as forgettable as anything else. While the song was a decent showcase for him, it didn’t encapsulate anything that his more famed brother couldn’t offer. While it wasn’t the worst we’ve heard, the bigger stage debut meant more expectations from the young star and perhaps from that perspective, it was a disappointment.
Finally came Sethi’s tribute to the famed ghazal singer. While it may have received a somewhat divided response, there were definitely more admirers than detractors. And then it’s always fun to watch the Mahi Mera vocalist perform.
While the first episode of the latest season may have been a mixed bag, we are looking forward to the rest of the show, especially since it promises more tributes to Pakistani icons. Also, the Zafar brothers will be performing together for the first time and most importantly, we will get to see Aamir Zaki’s last performance ever.