The third episode of this year’s Coke Studio was a notch better. Despite the fact that it still has to live up to its respect which it managed to command in the second and third editions, the effort had a fair degree of zing and innovation, which, let’s say, we associated with Arif Lohar’s Dumm Gutkoon or Zeb and Haniya’s Chup. Uzair Jaswal did a decent job with Nindiya Ke Paar, and one would have thought that had he only redone Nusrat Fateh Ali’s Dholna in his own style and not merged it with his song, the number would have sounded more soulful.
Whoever asked him to keep short the end notes of the lines in the song (and not sustain them) needs to rethink. Overload and Rachel Viccaji’s Neeray Aa was the standout effort in the episode mainly because of the energy that the song was able to generate. Rachel V’s performance in particular is worth praising. Hadiqa Kayani should be given full marks for her choice of songs. The problem is that picking a Hazrat Ameer Khusrau number is challenging and ambitious, and as Shakespeare says, ambitions should be made of sterner stuff. The way she sang Khusrau’s Rung was a nice but controlled attempt. It needed the madness, the frenzy that is required to pay tribute to your mentor. Over the years, qawwals have performed Rung with full-throttled voices, which means the innate pathos (and not just celebration) in the kalam is fully expressed. Having said this, nice job Hadiqa K.